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16//2/19/1
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Report written by Hugo Bonnaffé


The first of three OVH datacentres in Germany will be located near Frankfurt


The 21st datacentre of the group will be set up in Limburg, less than a millisecond from Frankfurt. OVH just acquired a building with a capacity of 45,000 servers, located very close to a major node of the German electrical grid. As the first of three datacentres to be implemented in Germany by the European cloud leader, the Limburg location will allow customers in the D-A-CH zone (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to connect directly to the main Internet exchange points in Central Europe and Eastern Europe. The site is expected to go live in April 2017.





In 2006, OVH established a German subsidiary in Sarrebruck. Ten years later, OVH is speeding up its development in this strategic market by opening its first datacentre in Germany. FRA1 (its codename) will be the 21st datacentre for OVH. For history buffs, the building chosen by OVH in Limburg is an old printing company located an hour away from Johannes Gutenberg's home town. A digital revolution following in another's footsteps...



Limburg will now have two fortresses


Located in the Hesse region, Limburg is a charming town of 33,000 residents with a magnificent cathedral and a fortress built during the Merovingian era. With the arrival of the new OVH datacentre, the town will now have its second fortress. The building spans 4,000 m2 and was repurchased in mid-November. The first ping is programmed for March, the implementation some time in April with the Discovery offers, and production will start in June.

Preliminary demolition and civil engineering work have already started. Two trenches are currently being built to create two separate optic fiber routes to link the Limburg datacentre to the Frankfurt point of presence, which is a major part of the OVH backbone. Thanks to a global network deployed by OVH with a total capacity of 7,5 Tbps, users are connected directly from Frankfurt through redundant routes leading to the main Internet exchange points in Central Europe and Eastern Europe (Frankfurt > Brussels > Amsterdam > London ; Frankfurt > Strasbourg > Paris > Roubaix or Frankfurt > Zurich > Milan or Frankfurt > Prague).

Work will then start on securing the site’s surroundings, installing electrical equipment and preparing the first rooms to host network equipment and the very first servers. Power supply is facilitated through the presence of a major power distribution substation located a few dozen meters from the building. This source will be backed up by electric generators capable of taking over in case of electrical failure as the inverters ensure the transition between power supply sources. The watercooling technology (liquid cooling of the servers) developed by OVH and being used in all its datacentres will allow for a low-energy operation of the site (no air conditioning).

By rehabilitating old industrial buildings instead of resorting to colocation inside an existing datacenter, OVH is able to replicate anywhere in the world a model that proved successful in Europe: complete control over the hosting supply chain from server assembly to the design of its datacentres. Moreover, since Limburg is located slightly outside of Frankfurt where the bulk of competing datacentres is located, OVH chose to settle down outside the fault domain of the main local providers.



Germany: a strategic market


Germany is the world's fourth economic power behind the United States, China and Japan and is also the first economic power of the European Union. Known for its industrial sector, Germany isn't far behind in the digital world. Businesses and organisations are well on their way to the Cloud and the startup ecosystem is very vibrant. Besides, several German startups are already being supported by OVH through its Digital Launch Pad, a support programme for new innovative companies. Even though Berlin — with its Silicon Allee — is often mentioned, many startups can also be found in Hanover, Munich, Hamburg or Cologne. This is the kind of energy that the French-German pairing would like to build on through a funding of one billion euros announced last week. This aid should stimulate the emergence of European small businesses capable of competing against GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) and, more globally, will play a part in the involvement of France and Germany with Digital Europe and Industry 4.0 ("smart factories").


In this context, setting up a datacentre in Limburg will allow our current customers to develop their business on German soil while getting closer to internet users from the D-A-CH zone (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). This will also allow businesses to court companies located inside this geographical zone, such as German company Villeroy & Boch, which is very concerned with data security.

By strengthening infrastructure security on one hand and data protection on the other, the objective is to increase the level of security and confidence towards players processing data on European soil, in a context where OVH is the sole non-American global cloud provider and as such is not submitted to the Patriot Act.



A deployment faithful to the roadmap


After announcing the opening of three new datacentres in Australia, Singapore and Poland last October, OVH continues to invest in Europe and in the United States. The city of Vint Hill, Virginia, was chosen as the location of a datacentre and OVH American headquarters on the East Coast, in order to have a separate US entity that would be completely independent from the rest of the group.

In order to finance its global expansion project, the cloud European leader proceeded to increase its capital by 250 million euros with investment funds KKR and TowerBrook, and has announced an investment plan of 1.5 billion Euros over 5 years. Enough to finance the construction of several additional datacentres before the end of 2017 in the United States (first the East Coast and then West Coast), Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands.