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23/12/2016
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Report written by Hugo Bonnaffé


God save the ping: only 6 months left before the 1st of 3 OVH datacenters in the UK goes live!


OVH has just acquired a facility with a capacity of 40,000 servers in the east of the British capital. It will be the first of three datacenters planned in the UK, from which OVH will speed up its growth in the United Kingdom. LCY1 (its codename) formerly belonged to a telecommunications operator. A real boon as the building is already secured in part, and powered via a nearby electric substation. The datacenter will therefore be operational in record time. The first "Discover OVH” offers will be available in the spring of 2017. The redundant interconnection to OVH’s PoP in London, located less than half a millisecond away, will allow users to be directly connected to the main Internet eXchange Points of Central Europe, Western Europe, and North America.





A pearl inside London’s outer ring


After announcing its arrival near Frankfurt in Germany a few days ago, it is in England that the European Cloud leader is starting work for its first British datacenter. Located inside the Greater London area, within the circle made by the M25 motorway, the site that was chosen had all the features required by OVH—an already-secured area of 4,000 m², a fairly easy fiber interconnection to the PoP of London through two redundant paths, the proximity to two electric substations of the supplier UK Power. The other requirements included that the site had to be served by public transportation to facilitate the recruitment of the 20 future employees, but also the absence of natural and technological hazards, and of course, the cost. In an area where property prices are very high, the search for the ideal location–and the good deal–took several months.

The facility, built less than 20 years ago, will require less renovation works than the industrial warehouses OVH usually chooses to set up its datacenters. Besides, the site is ideally suited for the (watercooling technology) used by OVH to cool servers. As within the other datacenters of the group, this will allow for an operation of the site without air conditioning—which may account for as much as 50% of the electricity consumption for a traditional datacenter.

Already guarded and secured, the London site is also electrically equipped in part (transformers, inverters, and generators). Civil works and interior fit-out will start from the very beginning of 2017 to guarantee a first ping in April, the launch of the "Discover OVH” offers at the end of May, and the go-live of the datacenter at the end of June. A record time, as OVH will create a datacenter of 40,000 servers rather than resort to the colocation of a few racks within an existing datacenter—this is the most popular option among OVH’s competitors when they set up shop in a new geographical area. This strategy allows OVH to replicate anywhere in the world a model that was key to its success: complete control over the web hosting chain, from server assembly to the design of its datacenters.



London, a Tech City at the heart of a mature IT market


The Brexit that happened in June 2016 may have led to the exodus of a few headquarters to Amsterdam, Paris, or Berlin, but London remains a major financial market. And the financial industries, with an adoption rate of close to 25%, are at the forefront regarding the transition to the Cloud. Moreover, London fights with Paris and Berlin over the title of “most dynamic startup ecosystem”, with a record number of incubators and accelerators (including the OVH Digital Launch Pad, a program that supports innovative projects).

OVH has had a presence in the UK since 2007, via a subsidiary based in London and located a few kilometers from the future datacenter. The company has already attracted many British customers, including startups (like BulbThings, which aims at revolutionizing asset management through data mining), and large accounts (such as LineUp Systems, a company specialized in online advertising tools, and XTM International, an English leader in translation technologies).

The setting up of this datacenter will allow companies from the UK and Ireland to have their data stored as close to their users as possible, at the sole global cloud provider that is non-American, and therefore not subject to the Patriot Act. And what is more, with a direct connection to Gravelines (then Roubaix and Paris), Amsterdam (then Brussels and Frankfurt), Montreal, and New York, guaranteed by the fiber network that OVH has deployed worldwide, whose capacity reaches 7.5 Tbps.
The two other datacenters that OVH plans to set up in the UK will allow the company to provide users with a backup solution—through a second site on the outskirts of London, and a third one, sufficiently remote to be a recovery site outside the failure domain of the two other sites. The 3 datacenters will of course be interconnected, like the other datacenters of the group, through the vRack, a private network developed by OVH to facilitate the deployment of multisite infrastructures.



OVH’s global expansion is ramping up


After announcing the opening of three new datacenters in Asia-Pacific and Poland last October, OVH continues to invest in Europe and in the United States where the city of Vint Hill, Virginia, was chosen to set up a datacenter and OVH’s American headquarters on the East Coast. This was done to ensure that the US affiliate will be its own entity, completely separate from the rest of the group.
In order to fund its global expansion project, the European cloud leader completed, in 2016, a capital increase of €250 million with two investment funds, KKR and TowerBrooka capital increase of €250 million with two investment funds, KKR and TowerBrook[/url]. The company also announced a €1.5 billion investment plan over 5 years. By the end of 2017, additional datacenters are thus planned to be set up in the United States (West Coast), Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.