As part of its new multi-cloud strategy, the former hosting provider plus server wants to establish itself as the fourth hyper-scale, in the cloud market. With data center architecture and a cloud-native offering, the new CEO Alexander Wallner considers the portfolio of the transformed cloud company to be unique and promising.
Multi-Cloud Strategy: The Cologne-based provider Plusserver is the only provider with a Gaia-X-compatible public cloud offering based entirely on the Sovereign Cloud Stack (SCS). In addition to the open-source cloud, the Cologne-based company also offers infrastructure services under the Pluscloud name, which are traditionally based on a VMware platform. The company is currently transforming into a technology provider.
Multi-Cloud Strategy: The Challenges For Plus Server
What were the biggest challenges for you when you took office?
I have 20 years of US culture in my blood, which significantly differs from my current employer. But it was also a decision criterion – I consciously wanted to work for a company. There is still a lot to do in this area. We are changing the plus server from a provider to a technology provider, so culture also plays an important role when switching from a hosting to a native cloud company.
What does that mean in everyday business?
On the one hand, that applies to the quality processes. You have to prepare topics in a completely different way and work at a much higher speed, especially regarding innovations. That’s why we first switched our 350 employees to an agile working method. We approached change processes step by step and, as the management team, explained the reason for this. You have to break down what the topics mean for the work of different hierarchies into particular areas. It’s a methodology that works well for a tech company.
In the meantime, we have come a long way and are established on the market as a native cloud company. Thanks to the innovative strength of our portfolio, we quickly entered the market and have become a cloud alternative that should be taken seriously. Plus server would like to establish itself as the fourth hyperscaler on the cloud market as part of a multi-cloud strategy. The cloud company’s portfolio is highly unique and promising, with data center architecture and a cloud-native offering.
The Cloud Provider Market
What market authorization do you see in this field for the plus server? In addition to AWS, Google, and Microsoft, some European players include the largest hosting provider Ionos, the French provider OVHcloud and the Austrian service provider A1 Digital.
I see three relevant aspects. The first: AWS, for example, now provides a broad technology stack; every customer is treated as ‘born in the cloud’ like an Uber or Spotify. On the other hand, we pick up the customer with a clean data classification from where he stands in his legacy: How can he modernize his architecture and make it more efficient, which applications he wants to pack in the cloud, and where can he also use hyper-scale offers?
Secondly, multi-cloud management: once we have looked at the data, we determine together where the data should be located. And then, we consider how he can leverage innovation from the cloud. Not every customer has unlimited cloud resources at their disposal, so we help them to use this technology stack.
Third, we offer a sovereign GDPR-compliant data port. Many customers say we want cloud – but the data must not leave. We are the alternative for them. Data sovereignty is a topic that is getting more and more awareness.
Many customers are no longer comfortable with the data in different places in the world. It, therefore, makes sense for many companies to also interact with a company here.
The Risk Of The Multi-Cloud Strategy
Isn’t a multi-cloud strategy more of a tightrope walk?
That’s just today’s reality. The different hyperscalers also have some advantages that customers need. But it needs a balance: Since it is a game with data, the customers have to be very clear about which data should be located. We help customers to use these resources in a targeted manner. We don’t want any GDPR scaremongering. But banks, retailers, and manufacturers have different requirements. Local machine data is susceptible, but data running via Microsoft Team is less so.
Who came up with transforming the plus server from hosting provider to “Multi-Cloud Data Services Company”?
I hatched the multi-cloud strategy as a comprehensive concept. Since traditional hosting is no longer a growing business,multi-cloud data services company has many advantages. Our promise regarding data is that we ensure protection and security and offer maximum flexibility. Those who earn money with information also generate competitive advantages. We take on the role of enabler.
I wouldn’t say I like the term channel in this context. The collaboration goes beyond just resale because these partners enrich our product and provide services we no longer offer. System houses act more as trusted advisors for our customers. They can create awareness there: Many customers go to Accenture and ask what available solutions. They advise the customers and, at best, draw attention to us. We already have regular business with 15 to 20 such providers, but we are still on the way to acquiring partners.
What else do you have planned for 2022?
We will set up more competitive offers, grow even more in line with needs, and more strongly ourselves. There is still work to be done. But the market already understands and accepts what we are doing now. As a plus server, I am optimistic about the year 2022. Innovation-driven projects may run slower during the pandemic, but hopefully, this will pick up speed again so that companies do not lose competitiveness.