French cloud operator OVHcloud gets datacenter funds from EU lending arm
Using loan for expansion as political bloc pursues tech autonomy strategy
French cloud operator OVHcloud has been granted dedicated funding for its expansion by the European Investment Bank (EIB), comprising a €200 million ($208 million) credit facility to help it open new datacenters.
According to the EIB, which describes itself as the "lending arm of the European Union," the €200 million credit facility demonstrates the bank's determination to actively support European digital players, and is in line with the EU's priorities for strategic autonomy in the area of new technologies.
OVHcloud is one of the largest cloud operators in Europe and the funding for its expansion is claimed to be the first such instance of the EIB providing financing for a cloud company. The EIB is the European Union's investment bank and is publicly owned by the EU member states.
The company said it intends to speed up its international deployments with the opening of 15 new datacenters by the end of 2024 in order to address new markets and new geographies. In line with this, 10 of the 15 new sites will open in Europe over the next 24 months.
OVHcloud CEO Michel Paulin said in a statement: "This additional financial capacity provided by the EIB contributes to our Group's strategic roadmap and will enable us to promote a cloud that respects our European values faster, higher and stronger."
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"The cloud is the essential building block for the digitalization of all aspects of our economic and social lives," said EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle. "By contributing to the financing of the most innovative players in Europe, the EIB is fully in line with European policy priorities: increasing our competitiveness and fostering our technological sovereignty."
Digital sovereignty – we've heard of it
The EIB also claimed this support contributes to efforts undertaken by European public decision makers to strengthen Europe's strategic autonomy in its digital infrastructures, perhaps a reference to initiatives such as the recently announced funding for the EU's own satellite communications network and the European Chips Act, which aims to boost the semiconductor industry in the EU.
OVHcloud said that the new financing will also allow it to boost its R&D projects, including the development of high-density solutions and deployment of new generations of server racks. It would also help with development of new offerings around storage and security solutions, and the "integration of new technological building blocks."
In particular, OVHcloud said it aims to invest in development of cooling technologies, particularly adiabatic systems, which reduce heat through a change in air pressure caused by volume expansion.
The company has only recently opened a new datacenter in Strasbourg, on the site where a fire in 2021 destroyed two of its datacenter halls.
A subsequent investigation found that the facility had neither an automatic fire extinguisher system nor an electrical cutoff mechanism. OVHcloud appears to have taken greater precautions with the new installation. ®