Bye Parallels, Hello Odin: Parallels Renames Service and Hosting Provider Unit Odin

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Parallels has split its service and hosting provider business from its cross-platform solutions unit, renaming its service provider business Odin as part of its re-commitment to the hosting industry.

In an interview with the WHIR at WHD.global 2015 on Wednesday, Odin CEO Birger Steen said the move was a natural next step as the company doubles down on investments in containers, WordPress and other services of interest to hosting providers.

“Our hosting and service provider business used to be known as SWsoft until 2008 when we changed names to Parallels because we had acquired the Parallels software business,” Steen said. “What we realized is we’re actually in two great businesses, and there is very little overlap or synergy between them.”

Steen said there are about four million users of its Parallels Desktop and Parallels access solutions, and 10,000 service providers using Parallels Plesk and Virtuozzo.

“It wasn’t very hard to choose which one was the Parallels side because the first Parallels product was Parallels Desktop for Mac which is a tremendously successful product,” he said. “And a very strong mass market appeal and roots for that brand, particularly in the Apple community.”

Steen said that Odin represents “unity, strength and wisdom, and is certainly memorable. We’re very happy with the choice.”

So far, Steen said that he has received positive feedback from the hosting and cloud companies in attendance at WHD.global, where Odin has revealed its new branding.

“The reception has been great,” he said. “People like the simplicity and the symbolism, they like not having to figure out if Parallels is spelled with two, three or four Ls.”

Steen said that while the name is different, Odin is as committed to the service provider business as Parallels has been.

“In a sense the priorities and the choices we made over the last year or two in that business are priorities we’re going to continue to execute and move forward with,” he said.

“What’s important there is we’ve reaffirmed our commitment to the hosting community with Plesk 11 and Plesk 12. I think we showed that not only are we investing in control panels but we’re also innovating the category.”

“With Plesk 12 we’re going to be much more value-driven and focused on the user needs by saying, ‘here’s what you need if you’re a small business user, here’s what you need if you’re a web professional who sees the control panel as a tool for making money from web design and limited scale hosting, here’s how you will use it as a small hoster and here’s how you’ll use it as an app developer’,” he said.

Steen also said that Odin has brought the Virtuozzo brand back to the forefront.

“Virtuozzo was a container-based virtualization technology and it was developed specifically for hosters to run virtual private server as an upgrade to shared hosting,” Steen said. “We’ve been carrying the torch for the container technology per se for the last 15 years, the last five years or so you’ve seen people like Google and Facebook and others starting to use it internally but the last year to 18 months has really exploded.”

“People are starting to see that virtual machines are good if you’re enterprise IT and if you have a bunch of server sprawl that you want to consolidate but if you want to run an agile and a fast-paced dev-ops infrastructure what you need to do is containers,” he said.


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