OVH opens less flammable datacenter at site of 2021 fire

This time it has sprinklers and the batteries are outside the building – where they flaming well belong

OVHCloud has opened a datacenter in Strasbourg, on the site of a 2021 fire that destroyed two such facilities.

Preliminary findings of an investigation into that fire suggest water leaking onto an inverter kicked things off, before the lack of an automatic fire extinguisher system, delayed cutoff of electricity, and overall building design all contributed to SBG1 being deemed unrecoverable and the destruction of SBG2.

This time around, in the new SBG5, OVH has separated the datacenter's halls from their supporting infrastructure.

Fire-rated shipping containers house batteries outside the datacenter. Also outdoors are "energy rooms" housing transformers and other sparky kit.

The two rooms holding the telco kit that connects SBG5 to the world have been placed at either end of the building – a design that physically segregates the two routes that reach the facility.

Network rooms are also distanced from the main building.

All facilities have been built with walls rated to withstand fire for two hours, and the entire facility is surrounded by two such barriers. All internal spaces are equipped with a pair of Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatuses. Sprinklers and inert gas are both available to suppress fires.

Despite liquids being suspected as the cause of the 2021 fire, OVH is still using water cooling for its servers. It claims doing so imbues SBG5 with a power usage efficiency (PUE) score of 1.1 to 1.2. PUE measures the amount of energy coming into a datacenter to the amount consumed to run kit. PUEs closer to 1.0 signal high efficiency datacenters that don't need to use much energy on cooling and other operational chores.

OVH chose the launch of SBG5 to announce a cold storage service the company will house in four mini-datacenters across France – each at least 200km distant from the others.

It expects to launch the storage service in November 2022, called Cold Archive – a hyper-resilient solution at a very competitive price. This service will allow businesses to store so-called "cold data" for the long run, while benefiting from maximum security and reliability.

Another initiative on the OVH roadmap is a datacenter dedicated to snapshots of customers' cloudy rigs. The facility will first be offered to French customers and will eventually be able to protect all the company's customers and handle data and VMs used across all its services.

OVH founder and board chair Octave Klaba tweeted the following after the launch of SBG5. The Register fancies it might be an internal shot of SBG5 – and perhaps not the world's neatest cabling? ®

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