Feedback on the OVH datacenter fire

incendie ovh ne pas mettre ses oeufs dans le même panier

On the night of March 10, 2021, a fire completely destroyed one of the four OVH Datacenters in Strasbourg. Another was partially affected. Although this fire caused no casualties, it resulted in the shutdown of many sites and the dysfunction of many ERP / CRM.

The fire had a negative impact on website owners as well as on specialist service providers. Among them, our web agency Anthedesign.

OVH fire in Strasbourg: what happened?

The fire that affected OVH cloud took place on the night of March 9 to 10, 2021. It affected the Strasbourg site, which is located in the Port du Rhin district. No casualties were reported.

The Strasbourg site is made up of four data centers: SBG1, SBG2, SBG3 and SBG4. All were affected, but in different ways. During the fire at OVH in Strasbourg:

  • the SGB1 datacenter was partially destroyed,
  • the SBG2 data center was completely destroyed,
  • SBG3 and SBG4, for their part, were spared but taken out of service while the fire was contained and the site secured.

The causes of the fire have not yet been defined, but the fire started at two inverters. One of them had been the subject of maintenance operations just hours before the fire.

Good to know :

On the evening of March 19, a second fire affected the premises of OVH and more particularly the SBG1 data center. This event did not cause any casualties but interrupted the rehabilitation of the site.

The consequences of the OVH fire in Strasbourg

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The OVH fire in Strasbourg led to numerous service interruptions. These have affected professionals, businesses, associations and public services. To this day, it is still difficult to estimate the loss of data and the financial consequences for the professionals concerned.

According to Netcraft, 3.6 million HTTP servers representing 464,000 domain names were no longer responding after the fire. Among them, there were among others:

  • Strasbourg-Entzheim airport
  • the Centre Pompidou
  • the Météociel website
  • the university of Le Mans
  • the French Motorcycling Federation
  • several municipal sites: Arras, Cherbourg, Colmar, Saverne or even Vichy

Wikipedia source

Failures, negligence… Could the OVH fire in Strasbourg have been avoided?

According to the OVH company, the fire in Strasbourg affected between 12,000 and 16,000 people. The latter have suffered partial or total loss of their data. A question arises: could this event have been avoided? Several negligence were noted.

  • OVH servers were not certified while ISO 22301 certification exists and is intended for all data centers. Source L’Argus de l’assurance
  • The SBG1 and SBG4 data centers were to be closed.
  • The SBG4 data center was not vigorously independent.
  • The SBG3 data center did not have a dedicated network room.
  • The floors of the SBG2 data center were made of wood.
  • The SBG2 data center did not have an automatic extinguishing system.
  • The backups were carried out on the same datacenter.
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OVH’s response to its customers

OVH’s response to professionals revolved around transparency on the extent of the damage and the re-commissioning of data centers. In addition, the company immediately stopped billing for its services to affected professionals. Alternative accommodation solutions have been proposed.

The response of service providers

It should be noted that OVH is not the only company to face customers in difficulty or even dissatisfied customers. Indeed, like our web agency Anthedesign, many service providers who offered website hosting services also had to manage “the crisis”. Our losses are significant and many insurers exclude from their guarantees damages originating from a third party company.

All the professionals mobilized to meet the needs of their clients. Those affected at all levels have been impacted financially. Professionals have sometimes faced an alteration in their image. The consequences are therefore serious.

The response of our web agency Anthedesign

After working to bring our clients’ sites back online. We have thought about better adapted solutions so that this type of event does not happen again.. Also, since the OVH fire in Strasbourg, we are offering our customers a new service.

This optional option is a backup solution outsourced to another data center. In other words, your data is stored on your current hosting and on additional hosting.

Here are the characteristics of our proposal:

  • A data storage capacity on another DATA CENTER equivalent to at least 3 full backups of your website.
  • Full backup of your website data, with a weekly frequency for your files and daily for your database.
  • In the event of a major accident, a restoration of your website within 24 hours without loss of data.
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Insurance questions

Data loss is not covered by company comprehensive insurance, nor by civil liability. Companies that have taken out so-called “Cyber” insurance are not better covered since data loss is one of the exclusions.

In the event of financial losses, professionals have no other choice but to initiate an action against OVH. However, the company seems to have protected itself against this scenario since in the general conditions of sale it is specified that: ” Neither Party can be held liable on the basis of a failure resulting, directly or indirectly, from unforeseeable events having the characteristics of force majeure as defined by article 1218 of the Civil Code. The Parties declare that force majeure includes in particular strikes including strikes by the personnel of a subcontractor of one of the Parties, acts of vandalism, war or threat of war, sabotage, acts of terrorism, fires, epidemics, …

Source OVH

The OVH fire in Strasbourg had serious consequences for many people and especially many professionals. In total, 2/3 of the French Internet has been impacted, ie 3.6 million sites! To reduce the risks, it is essential to favor secure accommodation in order to ensure the sustainability of your professional activity..

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