SherWeb Enters IaaS Market with OrcsWeb Acquisition

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As a company that has typically been associated with hosted Microsoft Exchange, SherWeb is hoping its latest acquisition will help customers turn to the provider for a broader range of cloud solutions.

On Tuesday, SherWeb announced that it has acquired Windows-based managed hosting provider ORCS Web for an undisclosed amount. The Charlotte, NC-based company will be the first acquisition for SherWeb in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service space. Last year, SherWeb acquired hosted Microsoft Exchange provider ThoughtBus.

“When it comes to our customers, we’ve definitely seen a demand for SherWeb to offer a broader portfolio of product,” Guillaume Boisvert, head of IaaS at SherWeb says. “Our main traits are the quality of our service and the reliability of our infrastructure so it is natural for people to assume that we give them some infrastructure products to benefit from the same know-how that allows us to have an award winning Hosted Exchange.”

Aside from direct customers, SherWeb also has a partner channel, with three programs for partners to choose from: reseller, distributor, or advisor.

“A lot of the demand for infrastructure came from our partners. Our partners love the hands on approach that we have and how they can rely on Sherweb for everything to do with Exchange and Software-as-a-Service,” he says. “The acquisition itself definitely plays into that strategy. OrcsWeb’s main focus has always been managed services; they are a specialist with Windows managed service with both dedicated servers and cloud servers.”

SherWeb is set to launch its IaaS solution at the end of September, and a select group of partners are testing out the solution now. Recently, SherWeb was named a Microsoft 2014 World Hosting Partner of the Year Finalist for its soon-to-be-launched Performance Cloud Servers.

“[IaaS] is driving us a little bit up market, meaning that we will be able to open some doors in the larger SMB market and mid-market enterprise with our infrastructure products, where traditionally we’ve been squarely in the SMB market,” Boisvert says. SherWeb sees Rackspace as the main competitor for this offering, but service providers like SingleHop and iWeb are also competitive on IaaS.

Founded in 1996, OrcsWeb will be operated by SherWeb as a wholly-owned subsidiary. It brings to SherWeb expertise in managed services and Microsoft-platform hosting. The company has 12 employees (mostly sys admins) and four data center locations in Charlotte.

“For us, the acquisition was a great shortcut for both having some volume when it comes to cloud servers but also a managed service team, already built, very experienced. It’s a great team; I’m very excited to have them on board,” he says.

The OrcsWeb team will enable SherWeb to add managed services on its public cloud in the coming months. The plan is to retain OrcsWeb’s line of product “from pretty much the same team” but take their product offering and integrate it into SherWeb, Boisvert says.

Recently, SherWeb has been running tests with certain partners who are helping give initial feedback on the IaaS product.

“Early feedback has validated some of the assumptions we have made,” Boisvert says. “We’ve seen the value of account increase at a fairly interesting pace, which was the bet that we made and seems to be validated by this soft launch result.”

After the planned launch in September, Boisvert says SherWeb plans on launching a steady stream of new features to its IaaS as it is important to the company to constantly innovate.

“It is really important to have a steady rate of new services being introduced to the platform,” he says.


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