While the Internet is slowly recovering, the OVH data center fire is nonetheless a serious blow to a number of online activities. To the point, obviously, that it is legitimate to wonder what caused it.
“The first elements of the investigation (…) suggest an accidental fire, “a source close to the case told AFP, who specifies that” the investigations are however still ongoing “.
The words of this anonymous source seem to be in the process of being confirmed by the investigation entrusted to the Departmental Security of Bas-Rhin.
“The investigations are in progress, there is no certainty for the moment, but it is rather moving towards an accidental track”, we learned from the Strasbourg prosecutor’s office. Considering the condition of the building, “The experts were not able to make any observations inside the building on the start of the fire stricto sensu”, we said.
The fire, which caused no injuries, broke out overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday in one of the four OVHcloud data centers installed in an industrial area, east of Strasbourg, near the German border. It was brought under control thanks to the deployment of significant emergency resources. Any risk of pollution has been ruled out.
Also to discover in video:
Octave Klaba, who founded the company in 1999 and quickly visited the scene on Wednesday, said in a video Thursday that the data center where the fire started was in 2011. The newer data centers are organized and cooled differently, he pointed out.
The origin of fire “Is still very fuzzy”, added Octave Klaba. After the first alarms, at 00:47, the technicians on site intervened quickly, “But they saw a lot of smoke immediately, so after a minute or two they made the decision to leave the data center because it became too dangerous to stay inside”, explained the entrepreneur. “This speed of fire, this speed of propagation questions us: how it started, and why it started so quickly”, he continued.
According to him, in view of the thermal images taken by the firefighters from outside the burning building, two inverters would be involved.
“On one of these two inverters, we had interventions in the morning (previous). A technician who operates maintenance has changed a lot of parts inside. He restarted the UPS in the afternoon and everything seemed to be working well ”, continued Octave Klaba.
With the video data that OVHcloud technicians are extracting, “We will analyze to understand precisely what happened (…) and draw all the consequences ”. “If there are things to change in the data centers, and there are, we will make the changes so that this situation never happens again”, he insisted.
In total, “12,000 to 16,000 customers have been impacted”, according to OVHcloud. But as some customers are themselves hosts, the number of affected sites is much greater: 464,000 distinct domain names (including 59,600 French) and 3.6 million Web servers linked to OVHcloud were inaccessible after the fire, reported the American company Netcraft.
On Thursday, OVHcloud however indicated that it was unable to confirm any definitive losses, arguing that, depending on the backups or redundancies subscribed, “There are as many possibilities as there are customers”.