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European cloud computing giant OVH announced today that a major fire destroyed one of its Strasbourg datacenters and damaged another, while the company also shut down two other datacenters located at the site as a precautionary measure. Nobody was reported to have been injured.

While AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud usually garner most of the limelight in the cloud computing realm, OVH is one of the bigger ones outside the “big three” with 27 datacenters globally, 15 of which are in Europe. Today’s disaster, which was thought to have taken more than 3.5 million websites offline, comes during a major period of activity for France-based OVH, after it recently announced a partnership with Atos to offer fully EU-made cloud services in an industry dominated by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. And just this week, OVH revealed that it was in the early planning stages of going public.

Recovery

In the wake of the fire which broke out around midnight local time today, OVH founder and chairman Oktave Klaba took to Twitter to recommend that its customers activate their disaster recovery plan.

However, it soon became apparent that not all companies had a sufficient disaster recovery plan in place, with French government bodies and some banks still offline at the time of writing, more than 15 hours later.

Above: Algeria’s Trust Bank was still offline more than 15 hours after the fire first started.

Moreover, Facepunch Studios, the game studio behind Rust, confirmed that even after it was back online that it would not be able to restore any data.

And that, perhaps, is one of the biggest lessons businesses can glean from the events that unfolded in Strasbourg today. Despite all the benefits that cloud computing brings to the table, companies are still putting all their trust in a third-party’s infrastructure, which is why having a robust disaster recovery plan — including data backups — is so important.

OVH, which also provides email and internet hosting services, said that it plans to restart two of the unaffected datacenters by this coming Monday (March 15).

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