Can the largest cloud provider from Europe make a big difference to enterprise cloud users in Asia Pacific?

No doubt, cloud computing was one of the most important technology trends of the 2010s. The cloud made remarkable progress in the last decade, causing enterprises to rethink and shift much of their infrastructure and serving as a foundation for many organizations’ digital transformation.

However, the cloud industry is largely dominated by players from the US and China – forcing companies in Asia Pacific to operate within the parameters laid down by either US or Chinese providers, as well as to be subject to extraterritorial regulations.

OVH was the largest hosting provider in Europe, and 2020 is the third year since it expanded to the Asia Pacific region. As the major cloud provider in Europe, OVH rebranded itself to OVHcloud in October 2019 to reflect its global ambitions of offering an appealing third alternative to US and Chinese providers for organizations across the globe.

DigiconAsia believes readers are as curious as us about what this alternative to AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Tencent Cloud or Huawei Cloud means for organizations in Asia Pacific. We spoke to Lionel Legros, General Manager for Asia Pacific, OVHcloud for some insights.

As the first major European cloud provider, what makes OVHcloud different from other options in the market?

Legros: The cloud industry is currently dominated by players from the US and China, giving organizations an unenviable choice in the set of rules to which they decide to conform.

OVHcloud aims to bring to the table a European alternative that respects customers’ data privacy concerns and provides transparency for users wherever their data is located across the cloud infrastructure. As part of our commitment to protecting customers’ data, the entire global chain is managed by us including the network that transmits data to the servers we use.

There are three underlying principles behind OVHcloud’s cloud infrastructure: an open ecosystem, full reversibility and an open cloud. We empower organizations on our networks to have complete transparency and knowledge of their data location and give them maximum agility to modify their deployments in the cloud.

Our transparent approach to the cloud translates to clarity within our pricing, as our customers can determine with precision their return on investment for adopting the cloud on our network – all in their local currency with no lock-in period.

As this cost-benefit calculation is often ambiguous and one of the most substantial barriers preventing organizations from upscaling on the cloud, we are optimistic that our approach, which has seen great success in Europe, will continue to work well in APAC and provide companies in this region the confidence they need to embrace European cloud.

How big a role does data privacy play in today’s cloud industry?

Legros: Data privacy is always top of mind for enterprises and keeping customer data safe is table stakes for any cloud provider. But another factor that companies need to consider is what extraterritorial laws their data is subject to.

Given regulations like the US Cloud Act which opens unlimited access by US administrations to an organization’s data when hosted by a US provider, organizations may prefer to host their data with companies that are not subject to such policies.

The cloud must remain open without being limited by national boundaries or any significant legal implications. It is natural for organizations in the cloud to have real concerns about data privacy when they are subject to laws in jurisdictions with very different interpretations of protection for customers, regardless of the location where the cloud was accessed.

Moving forward, we expect this to become a major consideration in how organizations select and deploy their applications in the cloud, and it is also likely that cloud providers will have to tailor their products to address customer concerns and remain competitive.

What is OVHcloud’s vision for the APAC region?

Legros: Asian companies have displayed forethought and prudence by investing in and employing cutting-edge technologies in their business models, so it is no surprise that they are among the leading performers in recent years.

While much of the APAC region has seen companies successfully achieve their business transformation objectives, OVHcloud’s focus is on serving the fast-growing emerging markets of Southeast Asia, where there remains significant spare capacity for companies to scale up fast-growing business needs on the cloud.

We expect to see much higher rates of cloud adoption over the coming years as businesses in Southeast Asia recognize its transformative potential and move away from legacy systems. In view of these opportunities, OVHcloud has developed the Singapore office as our regional hub in order to better serve regional businesses. We’ll also be ramping up investment in the region.

How does OVHcloud aim to navigate the complex APAC market?

Legros: Supporting the APAC market is a challenge for any company due to the complexities of the highly diverse region – each country has its own legal regime and approach to regulating technology. The most pertinent question for cloud providers is whether they are able to navigate and stay abreast of the various regulatory approaches to data privacy currently being pursued.

Unlike APAC, the EU has a more consistent and developed regulatory approach to data privacy, making it easier for us to align our privacy policy. Having said that, meeting the EU’s GDPR requirements, arguably the strongest data protection rules in the world at the moment, also means being able to meet the requirements of any nation in the world. By retaining our current standards across all the market we operate in, and we’re confident in being able to address the needs of companies across the APAC region.

In addition, the network infrastructure across APAC varies from market to market. Our team has overcome technological challenges in connecting the markets, ensuring maximum connectivity and minimum latency. Bandwidth cost, redundancy and routing capacity are all considerations in our network deployment.

With different market maturity and culture within APAC, it is also important to implement our multi-local strategy which has worked well for us worldwide. Our strategy places data centres physically closer to end-users in APAC for optimal connectivity; hires regional sales and customer support teams to better serve our customers; and deploys APAC-centric websites payable in local currency where possible.

What are the key drivers of growth in APAC for cloud in the next decade?

Legros: Privacy and security concerns, in addition to the multifaceted needs of fast-growing companies have seen the rise in adoption of hybrid cloud solutions. Hybrid cloud has been and will continue to be a viable strategy for organizations on the cloud, as it enables them to manage deployment across the public and private cloud-based on their requirements.

However, more recently, multi-cloud is also gaining in popularity due to its ability to cater to organizations which have widely diverse use cases across their various departments. Multi-cloud also offers organizations an additional buffer from business fluctuations by decreasing their reliance on any individual provider, which often has a positive impact on business agility and cost management.

In the next decade, hybrid and multi-cloud will certainly lead the path forward for organizations looking to extract the most value out of their presence on the cloud.

In fact, some organizations that have yet to embrace the cloud here may even jump straight to a multi/hybrid cloud setup as a result of the APAC market’s ability to rapidly digitalize. Time and time again, we have witnessed such phenomenon like India going from expensive and slow internet to becoming one of the most mobile-savvy countries in the world in under two years.

Regardless of cloud set-up, organizations looking to gain competitive advantage must take the necessary precautions to select dependable and reliable networks and providers, ensuring that their fundamental needs in privacy and security are not sacrificed.