15 years of innovation

About > The OVH Story

Since 1999, an era when not many people saw the potential of the internet, OVH has been shaping the internet of today and tomorrow. OVH innovates at the heart of the web, in datacentres and networks, and never stops inventing new services that revolutionise the way we work and drastically change our lives. OVH has always been firmly committed to respecting the individual and rights, and making access to new technologies available to everyone. For OVH, "Innovation is Freedom".


Octave Klaba presenting the new company logo at the OVH Summit 2014.

OVH enters the world stage

OVH is turning 15 and, to celebrate, has revealed its new logo and slogan. The group now has 17 datacentres, manages 180,000 servers and more than 800 employees.

Two new specialised brands, So you Start and RunAbove, have arrived to enhance the OVH galaxy, while vRack and .ovh have been introduced. In terms of cloud computing, Dedicated Cloud has gained SOC 1 type I (SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402) and SOC 2 type I attestations, and OVH and Atos, co-pilots of the Cloud Plan, submitted a report of 10 propositions to the French government. Lastly, the hosting provider has launched the World Tour.


GRA, the datacentre in Gravelines.

The largest datacentre in Europe

OVH continued to grow and passed the threshold of 700 employees. To support its growth, the hosting provider planned to take on 300 more employees by 2015. The same year, OVH reached a symbolic milestone by passing the threshold of 150,000 hosted servers in its datacentres.

The same year, OVH launched GRA, the largest datacentre in Europe, with a record capacity of 300,000 to 500,000 servers.

OVH's anti-DDoS infrastructure is supported by Arbor solutions.

To fight against the resurgence of Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, OVH generalised its anti-DDoS protection in August.

OVH also deployed 100G coherent technology on its network and migrated its eligible customers in France to VDSL2. At the same time, the hosting provider organised its first OVH Summit in Paris, raised a syndicated loan of 140 million euros and established itself in Brest. Lastly, while the French government selected OVH and Atos to co-pilot the Cloud Plan, Dedicated Cloud received the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification..


Heading for America

Over the years, OVH had opened subsidiaries in more than 15 countries and employed more than 600 people. By 2012, the company hosted more than 150,000 servers. The time had come for OVH to conquer America, with a highly ambitious project: to build the largest datacentre in the world. Named BHS (Beauharnois, Canada), this datacentre will eventually hold 360,000 servers.

OVH would also pioneer a datacentre in Alsace (SBG1) to bring closer its Eastern European customer's data. Three more buildings would be introduced on the same site.

With beta versions released in January 2011, the Dedicated Cloud offers were firstly awarded " VMware Service Provider " in February in Las Vegas. They were also awarded the titles of "vCloud Service Provider of the Year" and "vCloud Datacentre" in Barcelona.

While OVH rounded up the first part of its plan to unbundle, the company opened its very first OVH City in Lyon. Sysadmins and developers were therefore working hand-in-hand with the teams in Roubaix Valley.

The key figures for 2012.


The key figures for 2011.

OVH, the number one hosting provider in Europe

Already the leader in France, the Roubaix-based company expanded its leadership in Europe for wesbite hosting. OVH hosted more than 18 million web applications: "1 site in 3 in France and 1 in 6 in Europe", celebrated Henrik Klaba, the President. Launched in 1999 with 10 servers, the company saw exponential growth and by 2011 held more than 100,000 servers across its seven datacentres.

We needed to work for 6 months to complete building the 4th OVH datacentre in Roubaix, "Roubaix 4". This new building, ready to welcome more than 35,000 servers in environmentally-friendly rooms, offers unbeatable performance.

hubiC, the online storage and sharing platform, was introduced in 2011. By the end of 2014, it's being sold in all the OVH subsidiaries and has already attracted more than 400,000 users. Lastly, 2011 saw the launch of the public cloud and won the award for VMware vCloud Service Provider for Dedicated Cloud..


The Dedicated Cloud datastores.

OVH makes the switch to cloud

OVH's workforce exceeded 350 people. Developers, sysadmins, technicians, maintenance operators and even telephone advisors were working every day to satisfy more than 400,000 customers.

Constantly becoming more innovative, OVH launched virtual bays. Thanks to a virtual switch system implemented within a private network, servers can be physically spread out across any OVH datacentre as if they were in the same rack.

At the same time, the R&D teams worked on launching the first private cloud in the world to be immediately accessible online: Dedicated Cloud. The beta version of this solution, flouting hardware constraints, was to be launched on 24 December 2010. In total, OVH invested 10 million euros in its R&D cloud, without any help from the French state.

The key figures for 2010.


10 years after its creation, OVH was present in 12 countries.

Development is in Europe is making headway

OVH launched five new subsidiaries: Ireland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Finland and the Czech Republic. In 2009, the hosting provider was present in 12 countries.

The needs for dedicated and shared servers continued to increase spectacularly and Roubaix 2 would go on to be full by the end of the year. As a result, OVH launched Roubaix 3 and added air cooling to its water cooling system to achieve optimum results.


Today, OVH manages more than 150,000 VoIP lines for its French customers.

OVH became a telephone operator in France

OVH continued to develop in Europe. The hosting provider opened three subsidiaries in Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Present in seven countries, the company hosted 37,000 servers.

At the same time, OVH was working on a VoIP telephony solution aimed at SMEs and SMIs: "Plug&Phone". The teams regularly work on new SDSL/ADSL services with the objective to totally master VoIP communications. The hosting provider would soon go on to be an internet provider in France.


Energy efficiency at the heart of R&D

OVH, already dispersing 70% of heat emitted by servers with water cooling, tackled the remaining 30%. The hosting provider developed the concept of EcoRooms: air-conditioning units were replaced by a natural ventilation system that, thanks to hot and cold airflow, ensured that temperatures were regulated.

By partnering water cooling and air cooling, OVH could completely get rid of air conditioning in its datacentres.


OVH fully designed and operated its own network.

OVH deployed its network infrastructures

The number of customers continued to grow. OVH already hosted 12,000 servers in its Paris and Roubaix datacentres, and set up a subsidiary in Germany.

OVH invested and began building datacentres in northern France. Afterwards, the hosting provider joined up Paris and Roubaix with fibre optic. With this network, OVH went from strength to strength and would shortly after have a unique infrastructure throughout the world: a connection on 33 points of presence, 3,000 Gbps bandwidth in Europe and eventually 8,000 Gbps in North America.


The birth of Roubaix Valley

While looking to expand, OVH was taken by a development on the outskirts of Roubaix. Everyone rushed around to develop the site, which covered more than two hectares. The start-up got bigger, began to make profits and then reinvest them to support exponential market growth.

A birds-eye view of Roubaix Valley.


OVH established itself in Poland and Spain.

The first European subsidiaries

OVH, who hosts more than 4,000 servers, opened two subsidiaries in Poland and Spain. The same year, the company moved its servers to its new datacentre and took advantage of the move to kit out every machine with water cooling.


Water cooling: a ground-breaking innovation

OVH got its first proper datacentre, a 3,000 metre-squared building in Paris. As the building was surrounded by residential housing, the servers could not be cooled with air conditioning; it was too noisy. The company therefore searched for a more economical and affordable solution. Even though many people thought the idea was crazy, the hosting provider began to cool the processors in its server clusters using water! To this day, all OVH servers are kitted out with water cooling, a unique system that reduces energy consumption by a third by dispersing 70% of the heat emitted by the machines.

All OVH datacentres are today equipped with water cooling.


The Greenbox is the first server designed by OVH.

OVH built its own servers

OVH grew and began its search, still in Paris, for a more suitable datacentre. Several times a week, the teams went back and forth between Roubaix and Paris to maintain their servers. The same year, the Greenbox, the first server designed by OVH, appeared. The company continued to build all of its servers itself to have total control over the hosting chain. Designed to be as operational as possible, these servers made it possible for the hosting provider to choose every single component.


A passion for IT

Customers were growing in number, activity was developing. OVH opened its first rented datacentre (P11) in Paris, but it soon became clear that the company needed more space. Faced with this challenge (that OVH would face many more times), OVH decided to make its own casing for its servers. The main purpose of this R&D was to make it easier to maintain the servers.

Octave Klaba (left) and Miroslaw Klaba (right) get to work on a server.


OVH became a registrar for .fr and .be.

First accreditations

OVH got entitlement to manage .fr and .be. domain names. The company had 20 servers and three employees. As soon as he earned a bit of money, Octave reinvested it in new servers. Octave's brother, while continuing with his studies, joined up with the venture to help out.


OVH's roots

At the age of 24, convinced of the need for web hosting in France, Octave Klaba borrowed 25,000 francs (around £3,000) from his close friends and family and decided to launch his first business by himself: OVH. From northern France, he rented ten servers from a provider in Paris. No one believed in his project! But the business got off to a flying start.

Octave Klaba in front of the first OVH racks.