“The cloud” is seen by many people as a abstract place where your data is safely secured for eternity. Even if your local hard drive might fail and you lose your precious holiday pictures, there’s often the possibility to restore a backup from cloud services. Of course, “the cloud” needs physical data storage capabilities, which are not immune to catastrophic events.
Such an event has struck Europe’s biggest provider of cloud services, OHV. Two of four server halls in Strasbourg, France were affected, one burned down completely, the other partially. This affected up to 16,000 customers, the company itself announced. According to media reports, 3.6 million websites went offline, at least briefly. Numerous customers lost all their data. This was because backups were only available from OVH for an extra fee – which many saved in the belief in the security of the cloud.
Among the more prominent victims were the Centre Pompidou, the French bitcoin provider Coinhouse, the official website of the French government, data.gouv.fr, and the British computer game company Facepunch with the survival game Rust. The latter also reported the total loss of its data, as did the major French law firm Leroi & Associés.
According to the website Journaldunet, however, some customers with backup also lost all their data. The backup servers were located in another hall of the same data center and were also affected by the fire. How many companies have lost their data for good is still being ascertained. OVH hopes to be able to offer services to customers at the site again in the course of the week.
Founded in 1999 by Octave Klaba, France-based OVH, later renamed OVHCloud, has more than 260,000 servers in more than twenty data centers and is the European leader in hosting. The company was one of the hopefuls for a European answer to the cloud offerings of the Internet giants from the US and China.
OVHCloud had only recently announced its intention to go public, hoping for a valuation of more than one billion euros.
Image source: AFP/Sapeurs-pompiers du Bas-Rhin