Publishing Date: Mar 10, 2021

Datacentres for better security

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PRESS RELEASE: OVHcloud has suffered a disastrous fire that has engulfed some of the firm's data centres.

On March 10, OVHcloud founder and chairman Octave Klaba started a Twitter thread updating customers on the situation, which has claimed at least one data centre.

OVHcloud is a global cloud, dedicated server, and managed bare metal services provider catering to over 1.5 million customers.

The company manages 27 data centres in countries including the US, UK, France, and Australia.

As data centres manage vast quantities of data for customers, providers have to be stringent when it comes to security. OVHcloud restricts physical access to employees only and security personnel are always on-site — but this has not stopped a fire from breaking out.

“We have a major incident on SBG2,” Klaba said. “The fire declared in the building. Firefighters were immediately on the scene but could not control the fire in SBG2. The whole site has been isolated which impacts all services in SGB1-4.”

The impacted data centres, located in Strasbourg, France, includes SBG2, which has been completely destroyed. Part of SBG1 has been destroyed, too, but firefighters were able to protect SBG3. SBG4 has not been impacted by the fire. Klaba says that “everyone is safe.”

Images shared on social media appear to show the extent of the fire.

“Firefighters continue to cool the buildings with the water,” the executive said. “We don't have the access to the site. That is why SBG1, SBG3, SBG4 won't be restarted today.”

The fire has now been quelled but an assessment of the overall damage caused to OVHcloud's data centres may take some time. Impacted clients have been urged to turn to backups to minimise downtime and disruption.

“We recommend [you] activate your Disaster Recovery Plan,” Klaba added.

At the time of writing, Klaba is on-site. In an update, the executive said:

“We finished to shutdown the UPS in SBG3. Now they are off. We are looking to enter into SBG3 and check the servers. The goal is to create a plan to restart, at least SBG3/SBG4, maybe SBG1. To do so, we need to check the network rooms too.”

Update 10.19 am GMT: According to Klaba, “all servers in SBG3” are okay, while still non-operational, and the company is working on a way to restart them. Work on verifying SBG1 is now underway.

OVHcloud have issued the following Press Release in relation to the fire.

At 00:47 on Wednesday, March 10, 2021, a fire broke out in a room in one of our 4 data centres in Strasbourg, SBG2. Please note that the site is not classified as a Seveso site.  Firefighters immediately intervened to protect our teams and prevent the spread of the fire.

At 2:54 am they isolated the site and closed off its perimeter.  By 4:09 am, the fire had destroyed SBG2 and continued to present risks to the nearby data centres until the fire brigade brought the fire under control. From 5:30 am, the site has been unavailable to our teams for obvious security reasons, under the direction of the prefecture. The fire is now contained. We are relieved that no one was injured, neither among our teams nor among the firefighters and the services of the prefecture, whom we thank for their exemplary mobilisation at our side.

With our 15 data centres in Europe, our technical and commercial teams are fully invested to support our customers, implement solutions and mitigate the impact of the unavailability of our Strasbourg site. Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality of services to support their online activities and we know how important this is to them. We sincerely apologise for the difficulties and challenges caused by this fire. We are committed to continue to communicate with the greatest transparency about the cause of the fire and its consequences.

We are currently assessing the impact of this incident and will communicate as transparently as possible on the progress of our analyses and the implementation of solutions. All of our communication channels, starting with our incident tracking platform, are accessible so that you can stay informed of developments in real-time.


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