Discover. Understand. Anticipate.


Report written by ...

OVH is accelerating R & D in data centers

Henri Klaba, CEO of OVH, is deeply involved in the design and R&D of the group’s data centers. He focuses on the latest innovations to leave his laboratory, as well as on data centers, one of which is planned for Germany by 2015

OVH is the inventor of a unique water-cooling system, a concept of cooling servers using liquid, which it's implemented in its data centers since 2004. This concept is in constant evolution. Henri Klaba and his team are currently working on two aspects: a more powerful water-cooling system and the adaptation to Tier IV standards. "For certain machines, like So you Start brand Game servers (still in beta, NDR), the current processors are so powerful and produce such heat that cooling needs are much greater”, explains Henri. This new water-cooling system has a greater flow rate, which allows us to dissipate up to 250 watts more per machine than the current cooling system. On the other hand, we have set up two completely independent liquid-cooling networks inside the server, to meet Tier IV standards, which require that all infrastructure (cabling, power supplies, components...) in a data center, to be redundant. These changes are essential to us. "

New tools for innovation

To complete the design of the parts needed for servers' water-cooling system, OVH uses 3D printing technology, as well as a computer numerical control machine (CNC) and a laser. "Thanks to the laser and the CNC machine, we can instantly obtain a prototype. From idea to production of the first piece, takes 15 seconds, no need to wait 2 to 4 weeks,” Henri, points out, “The acceleration of our R&D on the mechanical level is great.” But OVH ambitions do not stop at mere prototyping. Henri envisions the same for production and goes on to explain, "In combination of the 3D printer, CNC machine and laser, we can launch a production adapted to our needs. Certain components included in the composition of the water-cooling system are very complicated and require special manufacturing processes. Equally, most of the metal parts can be made in our hosting facilities. The laser and the CNC machine also enable OVH to update existing server chassis, for example, adapting them according to technological developments, with the aim of reducing waste and costs for new materials.”

"The acceleration of our R&D at the mechanical level is great !"

Innovations that will apply to new data centers

Ultimately, these innovations will be applied in many of OVH data centers. Today the group has 15 data centers in operation. In Roubaix, the latest data center, RBX6, is currently under construction and despite not being completed, has already begun to house servers. Installed respectively, in Gravelines (FR), Strasbourg (FR) and Beauharnois (Canada), recent data centers GRA, SBG2 and BHS3 continue to house machines order by order meeting customer demand. “Considering all of our data centers, in regards to power supply and cooling, we have the capacity to immediately accommodate 60,000 more servers,” Mr. Klaba states with assurance. Note that OVH data centers currently host 170,000 servers, and display the capacity to host one million machines.

A data center on the horizon for Germany in 2015

Already established in Germany with a local team and offices in Saarbrücken, the group will strengthen its presence with the construction of its first data center in Germany. It will be in Kehl, on the other side of the Rhine, across from Strasbourg, where OVH will convert an old wheat storage facility into its data center. Located not far from an optical fiber link between Paris and Frankfurt, the future data center will be connected by a 1.5 km section of fiber optic cable. An ample and sufficient 3.5 megawatt power supply is already available which is advantageous for the group. “Like in our other data centers, we will progressively fill the building with containers, beginning in January 2015,” Henri states with precision. Ultimately, the Kehl data center will house around 60,000 servers.