OVH Hints UPS Cause Of Data Centre Fire

European cloud hosting provider OVH has indicated the cause of the fire that completely destroyed one data centre and badly damaged another, could have triggered by an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

Indeed, the fire on Wednesday was so damaging that Russian officials claimed it was responsible for an outage of Google and YouTube services in the country, and not its recent slowdown of Twitter.

But Google has now denied the fire at the OVH data centres was responsible for the loss of its services in Russia.

Russia outage

Google reportedly indicated that an unrelated networking issue was responsible for the outages in Russia, which lasted for about two hours.

It suggests it is a coincidence the two events were in the same timeframe.

“At 02:00 Pacific Time on 10 March we became aware of an upstream network issue that partially impacted internet service for users in Russia,” Google was quoted by the BBC as saying in a statement.

“We believe the cause of this incident was a misconfiguration of the routers at a local third-party internet service provider,” it reportedly added.

“Following extensive investigation we have no evidence to indicate that the fire in OVHCloud’s data centre, or Google’s own infrastructure, was the root cause of this incident,” it concluded.

UPS blamed

But what caused the fires at the OVH data centres in Strasbourg, France.

Well a video from OVH founder and chairman Octave Klaba hinted at a possible explanation for the fire, Bleepingcomputer noted.

In the video Klaba started off and apologised for the outage and provided an update on the fire investigation.

It should be remembered that at the time of writing there is no official cause of the fire, but Klaba talked about an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit that had been serviced that morning.

In the video, Klaba reportedly said that when the firefighters had arrived on scene, images taken with thermal cameras allegedly showed two UPS units burning, reportedly named as UPS7 and UPS8.

It is understood that UPS7 had been serviced by a maintenance person in the morning, with Klaba saying that the UPS supplier had come in the same morning and changed many pieces within UPS7, and restarted the unit, which reportedly worked normally until the fire erupted.

Klaba hopes other cameras at the facility will help investigators pinpoint the cause of the fire.

Fire damage

OVH is the largest hosting provider in Europe and the third-largest in the world and the firm is currently in the process for a public offering (IPO) on the Paris stock exchange.

The French cloud computing company offers VPS, dedicated servers, and other web services.

OVH opened its first UK data centre in London in 2017 as part of a five-year, €1.5 billion (£1.34bn) global expansion strategy.

The fire reportedly destroyed the five-story, 500 sq m SBG2 data centre, while SBG1 was seriously damaged with four halls being destroyed.

The SBG3 and SBG4 data centres were protected by the firefighters, but remain closed, Data Center Dynamics has previously reported.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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