Canadian Cloud Provider Sherweb Acquires U.S. Hosting Service OrcsWeb

SherWeb, a Canadian provider of cloud-based Microsoft services, said Tuesday it bought North Carolina-based managed hosting provider OrcsWeb in a deal intended to jumpstart the launch of a new public cloud service.

The deal, which closed July 22 for an undisclosed amount, brings under SherWeb’s fold the infrastructure and talent it needs to pivot from being almost exclusively a Microsoft-focused SaaS company, to entering the ultra-competitive waters of the IaaS market, SherWeb Cloud Computing Product Manager Guillaume Boisvert told CRN.

’For 2014, introducing our own public cloud will be our main focus for both retail and our channel,’ Boisvert said.

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The new offering, called the SherWeb Performance Cloud, seeks to differentiate itself through performance, which Boisvert said is sub-par in today’s cloud market.

’The idea for us is to go all out and provide top-of-the-line performance and really deliver that to our customers and to our partners. We tell our customers that our virtual servers will work as well as their dedicated servers,’ he said.

The SherWeb Performance Cloud will offer dedicated SSD storage, enterprise-quality hardware from brand-name manufacturers and a redundant fabric.

SherWeb encourages its partners to co-brand or white-label its current offerings, and that approach will be extended to the new IaaS product. The new offering in many ways comes in response to input from the company’s channel partners, Boisvert said.

’They really wanted us to offer that managed cloud, so it was really one of the drivers of the acquisition, so we could offer the right products for our channel,’ Boisvert said.

SherWeb was founded in 1998 as a hosting service, but took a turn in 2005 to focus on Microsoft cloud services. SherWeb, named Microsoft hosting partner of the year in 2013 and a finalist for the same award this year, is a market leader in hosted Microsoft Exchange, Lync and Sharepoint. It also offers its own online backup solution.

The company is headquartered outside of Montreal, but 75 percent of its revenue comes from the U.S. market and it has clients in 100 different countries.

The acquisition adds four interconnected data centers that OrcsWeb operates in Charlotte, N.C. to the three that SherWeb currently operates in Canada. SherWeb is also building another data center in the U.S.

OrcsWeb has been in business 18 years and has a reputation for offering quality dedicated and cloud hosting services, mostly for Microsoft technologies, Boisvert said.

The deal ’will really jumpstart our own IaaS service offering’ through acquisition of OrcsWeb’s client base and internal staff, he said.

SherWeb’s channel has over 4,000 partners either co-branding or white-labeling its service. It also has an affiliate program through which the company takes referrals.

’SherWeb’s industry-leading SaaS services help Avnet’s channel partners succeed in the cloud because of their high levels of reliability, security and support," Tim FitzGerald, vice president of Avnet Cloud Solutions, a division of global solution provider Avnet Technology Solutions, told CRN. ’With regard to SherWeb’s latest acquisition in the IaaS segment, I am enthusiastic about SherWeb’s focus to remain at the forefront of cloud services by innovating in areas important to Avnet partners and to SherWeb’s newly acquired OrcsWeb customers."

The public launch for the SherWeb Performance Cloud is set for Sept. 30, but SherWeb has already soft launched and is adding clients to the new IaaS service every week, Boisvert said.