During the night of 9 to 10 March 2021, a fire in Strasbourg (F) destroyed one of the buildings of the OVH data centre, and seriously damaged a second one.
The power supply to the site's four server centres was cut off, affecting the 29,000 servers hosted there.
Some of the fires are particularly cause for reflection. How can a data centre of national importance for France - but also international importance since it housed Belgian sites, among others - fall victim to a fire of such magnitude?
In the age of digital technology, data centres are more vital than ever for our economies and the survival of our companies. They must therefore respect a very high level of protection. Was this the case here?
From reading the media reports, it seems clear that this centre was not properly equipped to fight the fire effectively, or if it was, why did the automatic fire extinguishing equipment fail to function properly?
The investigation will provide the answer. The reason for the heavy smoke development on the evening of 19 March 2021 will also be investigated. The many technical staff busy reactivating the servers still blocked by the fire on the 9th were able to quickly give the alarm.
This disaster should remind us that it is not enough to protect your data against cyber attacks. Be aware of the importance of the physical protection of your data centre and even your server against fire, theft, vandalism and natural elements.
We'll come back to data centre security later in Fire & Security Alert Magazine, but for now, let's remember the need to make backups, keep them in separate fireproof buildings or compartments, and provide automatic fire detection and extinguishing facilities appropriate to the risk involved.
Our forthcoming DTD 173 Initial Inspection, Verification, Maintenance and Periodic Inspections - The Reliability of Fire and Theft Protection Equipment and Installations" will remind you of the steps that every manager must take to ensure the reliability of his equipment.
Fire protection is a chain where every link counts. It is also the role of ANPI and its INSPECTION division to ensure the quality of the links in your fire safety chain.