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Parallels rebrands to target $US100 billion Cloud service provider market

Parallels rebrands to target $US100 billion Cloud service provider market

New business named Odin, in a nod to Norwegian chief executive, Birger Steen.

Parallels and Odin chief executive, Birger Steen.

Parallels and Odin chief executive, Birger Steen.

Parallels has rebranded its enterprise virtualisation to business in a bid to hone in on service providers and the $US100 billion Cloud market.

The new business division has been named Odin, a nod to the company’s chief executive, Birger Steen’s Norwegian descent, while Parallels will keep the desktop hypervisor business.

Odin, which now has 150 enterprise customers, including Telstra, iiNet, OzHosting and Uber, provides software to small and local hosters, as well as bigger customers.

The software includes web server management, server virtualisation, provisioning and billing automation.

It has more than 10,000 service providers in 15 countries.

Steen told ARN he decided to split the company as there were two distinctly different businesses after the acquisition of Parallels back in 2008.

“Since the acquisition of Parallels as a business by our company back in 2008, we have essentially been in two distinctly different businesses, different customers , different go-to-market,” he said.

“About two years' ago we tried to deal with the consequences of that and tried and make sure as few people in the company had two jobs."

He said the transition had been very successful and had provided a boost to both sides of the house.

“But this last calendar year we got to the point where we had almost completed that and we sat down to see in 2015, do we really want to have a website which sells two different things? The answer to that is obviously no,” he said.

“We have been able to separate the websites - much cleaner.

“Our parallels products are still the preferred way to run windows on a mac and two-thirds of our business is actually coming online through our website.

“I’m still the CEO of both and I am on of the very few people in the company with two jobs."

Steen said the business aim of Odin remained the same: to make and deliver software for Cloud service providers.

“It’s irrational for a business to be running its own IT in a back room, you should have a professional doing it," he said.

“And that’s an industry we have been trying to serve. That will remain the focus of Odin and its business, where we are seeing tremendous growth going forward.”

Odin has also recently joined OpenStack as a gold member and has integrated Virtuozzo with HPs Helion and Cisco’s Intercould – while work is also underway to integrate Softlayer.

Read more: Q&A: Acronis CEO Serguei Beloussov

Steen said there had been some speculation, ever since the big hyberscale providers started emerging - Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Rackspace - that the game in Cloud services would be all about direct relationships between the big hyperscale providers and the end customers.

“We don’t see that at all,” he said.

“We see a market that today is worth $US100 billion and if you look just on the Amazon side of things that’s $US5.2 billion [Amazon’s 2014 annual revenue figure].

“Even though they are spectacularly successful, they still only have a small piece of the market and if they continue to grow at 50 per cent there’s going to be so much more for providers that are local and targeted and focused, to do business and we have found a number of those in Australia,” he said.

He said there had been an early move in Australia, both entrepreneurs and service providers, towards the Cloud paradigm.

“We are very optimistic on behalf of our partners, which what we like to call our customers,” he said.

“We think there’s going to be a market that’s big and growing, there’s going to be more than a trillion dollars worldwide from those moving from the old paradigm to the new in the next 10 years and we want to help the service provider focus on being a service provider, so they don’t have to spend investment developing software. That’s our mission in life.”

Steen said there were four pillars Cloud service providers needed to follow to gain success in the shifting market.

Read more: Parallels bolsters APAC leadership

“The first aspect is as a service provider you are typically local, sometimes vertical and you need to take that knowledge and turn it into targeted offers,” he said.

“You need to not put up an app store and hope people will show up, they don’t!

“You need to not sell something that everybody else sells.

“You need to not give an unintegrated bundle of services - you need to target a well integrated set of services at customers who you have the skills and capabilities to serve well.

Secondly, he said to be a value added intermediary you needed to be someone who added value in the value chain, as opposed to just reselling somebody elses’ stuff.

“That value will be different for different players,” he said.

“For some it will be support for some it will be faster delivery. There are a number of different models out there that work very well today."

The third pillar was alsways to serve your customers in context.

Read more: OzHosting.com offers Google apps for SMBs

“That’s the new expectation that very few deliver today,” he said.

“When you’re customer is running out of space, that’s when they buy more disk, when the customer has a security problem that’s when they want to buy antivirus… that ability to allow your customer to self serve and sometimes assist them.”

The last pillar is around partnership.

“Don’t try and partner with someone who doesn’t want to partner with you,” he said.

“The entire IP and telecom market is worth four trillion and there’s a few hundred billion of that which is endpoints, and everything else gets impacted by the Cloud shift.

“Right now AWS doesn’t have a strong story for someone who wants to be a value added intermediary," he said.

“If you look at carriers it’s not easy for them to set up a relationship with AWS where all parties benefit, in fact one of the key success factors that we have observed over the last 15 years is don’t try to partner with someone who doesn’t want to partner with you.

“Competition is super important in this business, but that requires mutual desire.”

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