Fire at French Cloud Services Facility Caused Outages for Millions of Websites

Bas-Rhin Via Reuters

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A fire at OVHcloud in Strasbourg, eastern France, destroyed one of the company’s four data centers and severely damaged another. The remaining two were shut down in an attempt to contain the damage. OVHcloud is a French cloud provider that not only owns the world’s largest data center in surface area but is also the largest hosting provider in Europe, and the third-largest in the world based on physical servers.

3.6 million affected websites

The fire, which broke out shortly after midnight on Wednesday, affected 3.6 million websites, including not only bank, shop, and news websites, but also government agencies’ portals in France, Britain, Poland, and the Ivory Coast.

“OVH is a pretty important hosting company on the internet,” said the director of the network security company Netcraft, Mike Prettejohn, who estimated that only 2% of the sites with the French domain extension had been affected by the outage.

“We have a major incident on SBG2. The fire declared in the building,” OVH’s founder and chairman Octave Klaba wrote on Twitter. “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. We recommend to activate your Disaster Recovery Plan.”

Disaster Recovery Plan goes into effect 

Among the company’s clients that were urged to activate said disaster recovery plans, we include the French government, the cryptocurrency exchange Deribit, free chess server, videogame maker Rust, the Strasbourg Airport, and the Pompidou Centre which houses a vast public library, the largest museum for modern art in Europe, and the center for music and acoustic research IRCAM.

“We don’t have access to the site. That is why SBG1, SBG3, SBG4 won’t be restarted today,” Klaba continued on the Twitter thread. The servers housed in SBG3 and SBG4 were not affected by the blaze.

“Firefighters were immediately on the scene but could not control the fire,” he tweeted later.

Firemen responded in droves

The number of firemen that fought the inferno was close to 100, brought by 43 fire trucks, with several videos showing the rescuers trying to douse the smoldering 5-story building.

”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,” the founder added in an update.

The Strasbourg centers were among OVHcloud’s 32 global data centers. The cause of the fire was not confirmed, but the fire department’s thermic camera images suggest that the source was the failure of 2 Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS).

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Fire at French Cloud Services Facility Caused Outages for Millions of Websites
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