OVHcloud creates fire testing lab for data centre, promises to share result with industry
Published 24 March 2021
After a fire which ravaged one of its facilities in Strasbourg, France on March 10, French cloud service provider OVHcloud has promised to establish a data centre fire research lab and share the testing results to the industry.
Europe’s largest hosting provider is working on restoring users’ data located at the burnt-out SBG2 data centre by restarting all the VPS and PCI for their customers. It will rebuild public and private cloud services based on OpenCloud and VMware at the SBG3 and SBG4 facilities, while leaving the SBG1 under scrutiny as another small fire incident happened there last Friday.
“This should be done during this week,” OVHcloud Founder and CEO Octave Klaba said in a video update on Monday, stressing the quick response of the company to compensate for the loss. The company previously announced in a tweet after the fire that they would offer free replacements for their users’ server losses due to the catastrophe.
Klaba previously attributed the devastating fire to shoddy maintenance work on some UPSes as one of the reasons, but then reaffirmed the involvement of police, insurance, and independent experts to unveil the root cause.
“It will take a few months to have the conclusion and we will share it with you,” he said.
The company decided to conduct research and see how the fire could go in the different kinds of rooms and find the best way to extinguish the fire. All the activities will be performed at their newly established fire laboratory in an effort to evolve standards for fire handling in data centres.
“I want to share the conclusion of this lab with all the industry, because nobody wants to have this kind of incident,” Klaba said, underlining that the company and the industry should be more vigilant regardless of the different standards in fire prevention and suppression among countries. “We decided to over secure all our data centres.”
As an industry’s norm, most organisations have a three to five-level contingency plan, ranging from pre-pandemic operations, to taking reasonable precautions, through lights-out operation and, in worst cases, a complete site shutdown with transfer of critical applications and operations to backup sites, noted Hideaki Fujimaki, CEO, Spiralgroup.biz Ltd.
OVHcloud is also willing to share to the industry its new “water cooling” technique that sends water to racks, replacing the previous “free cooling” measure which circulates water outside air. The sole purpose of data centre cooling technology is to maintain environmental conditions suitable for information technology equipment operation.
As the event held up the company’s plan for an initial public offering (IPO) in Paris, it is important for OVHcloud to get back on its feet faster to prevent investors’ skeptical attitudes toward the situation, said an analyst from an India-based brokerage firm.