How Vade enjoys private cloud's stability with the public cloud’s flexibility, with Scaleway Bare Metal - interview with Florian Coulmier

James Martin
4 min read

Vade is a French company specializing in email protection to prevent phishing and ransomware attacks. The company relies primarily on Scaleway's Bare Metal offerings, primarily Dedibox, to protect 1.4 billion mailboxes worldwide. Florian Coulmier, COO of Vade, answered our questions during a Scaleway webinar (in French), the highlights of which are below!

Why did you choose a Scaleway infrastructure ?

Florian Coulmer: The choice was made four or five years ago. We had a long-standing hosting provider who offered to provide us with virtual machines. This meant we didn't have to worry about physical constraints: we could increase CPU, RAM and disk capacity as needed. And server availability was quite high, thanks to the virtualization layer. By availability, I mean that we could take the VM we wanted without worrying about inventory; and every VM worked without major incidents.

Next, we wanted to expand internationally. We turned to a very, very well-known player in the public cloud. It worked very well there too, our needs were well met, practically speaking.

But we were aware that Scaleway offered considerable advantages, all related to price:

  • The cost is reasonable, while ensuring a high level of elasticity and availability
  • We have easy access to servers with high-performance configurations (over 8 CPUs and 64GB RAM, for example), at a reasonable cost
  • Invoices are predictable. Changing applications doesn't necessarily lead to a major change in the bill at the end of the month. Even when it comes to managed services.

With a view to controlling infrastructure costs and giving ourselves more freedom to go for server configurations with lots of CPU and RAM, we looked for an alternative. We're talking here about terabytes and petabytes of data, which requires fairly large infrastructures.

Among the various French hosting providers available, we chose Scaleway as our main supplier. Some of our colleagues had already had experience with Scaleway's personal servers, and they were happy with them; this comforted us in our choice.

So we started with a small infrastructure of a few servers, which we tested for a few months, almost a year in fact. We found that it worked well, so we added more and more services. Today, we have over 220 servers with Scaleway.

Why did you move from the public to the private cloud, when a lot of companies are doing the opposite?

Mainly for reasons of control. Costs are lower, and more predictable; we can anticipate and right-size our infrastructure easier, for example by adding more servers in case of load peaks ; and, as we work in cybersecurity, we prefer to have our ‘own’ IT space, which is private and closed. All in all, the private cloud allows us to control the entire value chain as we see fit.

How is your infrastructure deployed on Scaleway’s cloud?

Our infrastructure is divided into several sub-assemblies dedicated to each of our products. Each product represents a mini-infrastructure in its own right. So we've migrated bits and pieces of our infrastructure bit by bit, each time ordering servers adapted to our needs. Scaleway's range is sufficiently extensive to enable us to find the right configuration for the application in question.

For the last three years or so, we've mainly been using Kubernetes and have deployed our own cluster at Scaleway. We also manage Elasticsearch clusters and a virtualization platform based on Proxmox.

These technologies enable us to overcome one of the limitations of Bare Metal, where a failure can render a server unavailable. These technologies ensure a certain degree of redundancy. We're just careful to order machines that aren't all located in the same rack, so that a failure can't have a major impact on the whole cluster.

Ultimately, we have opted for technologies that enable us to overcome the lack of a strong guarantee of availability. It can happen that a physical server fails. But if it's a Kubernetes or Elasticsearch node, thanks to the redundancy mechanisms built into these software packages, it's not a problem. We can therefore benefit from high-performance machines at a good price/performance ratio.

I would add that elasticity can be managed through horizontal rather than vertical scalability. We can simply order new servers if we need to grow our cluster.

We don't have a typical machine we use, but for Kubernetes nodes or virtualization, servers like the Core-7-M with a 16-core CPU, 32 threads and 256 GB RAM are perfect for us. But we really use all types of server, we don't have a typical machine, we use the whole Scaleway range.

What are the advantages of Dedibox for Vade?

Beyond these financial aspects - Scaleway offers excellent value for money - there are also technical aspects.

First, platform stability. We've had very few incidents and no major ones.

The server ranges are well thought-out overall. We can almost always find the server we’re looking for.

The platform is easy to use. The interface is very clear, fast and efficient.

We can order servers and receive them quickly. This is something we’ve become accustomed to using the cloud, and it was important for us to continue to have this flexibility with a player that offers Bare Metal.

RPN v2 allows us to interconnect all of our servers, while taking advantage of VLAN security.

Another Scaleway advantage is that, like us, it's a European company. This notion of sovereignty is important for Vade in general, and in particular when it comes to choosing our suppliers; as it is for many of our customers, especially in the public sector.

I'd conclude with a word about the quality of customer support. We always have people who understand our requests and deal with them quickly and efficiently. On the rare occasions when this isn't the case, we've been able to escalate easily and have always had someone there to take our issue on board. Generally speaking, we are very well supported by Scaleway’s teams.

What’s the future of Scaleway and Vade’s partnership?

Although we've opted for Bare Metal, we're also interested in what the cloud can offer. In this respect, we'd love to take advantage of a connection between Scaleway Elements and Dedibox. This would enable us to overflow to meet certain specific needs.

But I'm pleased to see the recent evolution of the Dedibox range, and to see new developments on the roadmap. The recent generation 9 allows us to renew our stock of servers, with the widespread use of faster NVMe disks.

I'm confident that the developments we've requested for the Bare Metal range will see the light of day, as this is important for customers who have complete Scaleway infrastructures.

So our story with Scaleway and Dedibox is far from over! On the contrary, we're counting on the evolution of the range and the roadmap to support us in our need for growth.

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