OVHcloud CEO says web hosting is going through an evolution not a revolution

Internet, business, Technology and network concept. Web Hosting
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Cloud-based hosting and application services are evolving. Almost every business or service will have a website, an app, or some sort of online presence via social media.

But as rapidly as the online world appears to be growing, Michel Paulin, CEO of OVHcloud, believes this is in no way a revolutionary movement.

Rather, he sees it more as an evolution, as the growth of gaming, streaming and other big online platforms and organizations could outrace the very web hosting solutions it sits on. 

Evolution of web hosting 

Web hosting products have evolved significantly in recent years, allowing users to build their own websites in a much more straightforward fashion than ever before. Paulin tells TechRadar Pro that there’s now two types of requests coming from customers. 

“Small hosts offer small building blocks to create websites and big players in web hosting need to offer everything from ecommerce platforms to payment gateways, which is a lot more sophisticated,” he notes.

“On one hand, you have solutions which simplify the capacity for small businesses to have access to ecommerce platforms in web hosting, that offers ultra simple solutions to design your own website that has all the functions you require, but on the other hand, you have very big sites for gaming, streaming and other tech companies that need customized solutions. It’s clear that the latter is growing really fast. The smaller website hosting providers may have reached their capacity in terms of evolution.”

Move to the cloud

The cloud isn’t a new concept, as it’s been working its magic behind the scenes for some years as organizations transition from traditional colocation data centers to the cloud, or opt for hybrid solutions.

“An important trend I’ve picked up on is called “move to the cloud”,” Paulin adds. “Historically, the cloud was used by tech companies (what we call the digital natives) because they know how to use cloud solutions efficiently, and there are many different solutions to get your head around,” adds Paulin.

“Some companies are moving to the cloud via legacy systems and most of them are either on-premise or outsource, and they want to move new technologies to the cloud. This move to the cloud is a complex journey for most companies because you need to transform your IT systems to be ready for the cloud solutions.”

The cloud takes the concept of a virtual cluster and puts resources and application services behind it to be used by developers. 

One of the most popular cloud-based web hosting providers is Amazon Web Services (AWS), which along with OVHcloud and other cloud hosting companies give its users’ infrastructure worldwide reach and the ability to distribute services globally at affordable rates. But as attractive as this sounds, it is in no way plain sailing.

“This is not as simple as saying “I will move to the cloud”. As a result, we see now that there are many tools and solutions to help customers migrate to the cloud, which enables them to move from their own legacy systems to a new type of cloud,” says Paulin

“Our ambition is to give our customers the freedom to do so but to also let them have choices.”

OVHcloud recently announced the general availability of its Bring Your Own IP (BYOIP) service. In the context of increasing scarcity for IPv4 addresses, this new tool has been created to help with network planning when migrating to the company’s  services in ‘Move To Cloud’ scenarios.

The BYOIP service is available with bare metal cloud, hosted private cloud, public cloud products, as well as vRack and IP Load Balancer, and is set to roll out soon for all OVHcloud data centers under the condition of eligibility of its customers’ IP addresses.

“The cloud is growing in all areas and it is very vast, but at the same time, we are seeing that artificial intelligence, machine learning, high-performance storage, containerization are very active and fast growing segments. The whole market is growing extremely fast but these domains are growing even faster,” says Paulin.

The future is cloud web hosting 

Looking at the history of OVHcloud, the company started with cloud-based web hosting and is currently the second largest provider in Europe. 

“We are the top web hosting provider in France, Spain, Italy and Poland. We are not the top in the UK, but web hosting and cloud hosting is a very important business for OVHcloud as it represents 24% of our total revenues and we are growing,” notes Paulin.

“We have to be able to expand into new territories in the cloud space, that’s why we’ve launched public and private cloud, where our growth is even faster. Web hosting is something that we keep because it is the beginning of the story of OVHcloud.”

Paulin told TechRadar Pro that if he wasn’t in the cloud industry, the only other field he’d be interested in is the mathematical one.

“I love maths but I was not good enough at it so I decided to move to IT,” he expresses. Despite this, he says he wouldn’t have it any other way because of his immense vision on how the technology sector is set to evolve.

Paulin met OVHcloud founder Octave Klaba, fell in love with the company and wanted in on the action:

“Klaba still owns 70% of the company and he’s a geek in a good way. He loves product solutions and technology, and he is able to assemble innovative solutions. This was the key to his success in creating a cloud solution from scratch. He had no money, no network and no resources aside from the little bit of money his father gave him to start the company.”

Seeing all of this was all Paulin needed to want to be a part of the cloud web hosting company.

As the sector evolves, Paulin explains that a key trend he will be keeping his eye on is data sovereignty.

“Increasingly, people want to know where their data is, who has access to it and what is actually being done to their data. During covid-19, there were a lot of questions about what is happening with health data,” he notes.

“This was one example of us seeing data privacy become a rising concern across the globe. There are more regulations about data protection arising in key regions around the globe. In Europe, we have GDPR that protects personal data, but now interestingly, in India, Singapore and Korea, those markets have similar regulations too.”

Data is at the heart of everything now and even more so at the center of cloud hosting - and there’s a lot of money around it too. Cloud-based hosting is the present, but it’s by no means the final destination in the evolution of web hosting.

Abigail Opiah
B2B Editor - Web hosting & Website builders

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specializes in web hosting and website builder news, features and reviews at TechRadar Pro. She has been a B2B journalist for more than five years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector from colocation and cloud to data centers and telecommunications. As a B2B web hosting and website builder editor, Abigail also writes how-to guides and deals for the sector, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the hosting industry. Abigail is also extremely keen on commissioning contributed content from experts in the web hosting and website builder field.