What is a datacentre?
A datacentre can be described as a building and/or infrastructure that hosts many computers. For example, they can be used to store a company’s IT system data. As simple as this definition seems, the technologies and systems put in place are very complex. Take one of OVHcloud’s datacentres for example, operating across the globe.
Composition of a datacentre
To work, a datacentre first needs an electrical supply. This will be used to power servers ranging from a few dozen to several tens of thousands, depending on the size of the datacentre. The machines are installed in racks. They are connected to the network via a very high-bandwidth fibre optic connection, allowing speeds of several terabits per second. Mechanical ventilation or cooling is essential to prevent the computers from overheating in the rooms. To ensure service continuity and prevent outages, the different power systems and other technologies that ensure that the servers keep running are redundant, so if required, a secondary system takes over so that the service does not stop.
Over 20 years of experience have enabled us to build cutting-edge and resilient datacentres in the most optimised way, and with the lowest possible environmental footprint. We take pride in managing our entire chain, from server design to datacentre connections, as well as day-to-day monitoring and routine maintenance.
By definition, a datacentre houses data. This data can be sensitive, valuable, or simply vital to a company’s business. For these reasons, a datacentre must be secure at all levels to avoid any loss or leakage of information. At OVHcloud, we apply numerous security standards, and are PCI DSS, HDS and SecNumCloud certified. Access to buildings is restricted to employees performing day-to-day maintenance as well as to those who need to do work on an ad hoc basis only. Physical building security and access control are carried out 24 hours a day, in addition to security cameras and other surveillance systems.
Energy consumption: a challenge for datacentres
Powering tens of thousands of computing servers is a real challenge, and the energy consumption involved is at the heart of our concerns. We work every day to minimise the power consumption of our datacentres, while maintaining optimal operation. But powering the servers isn’t the only energy-intensive source. Cooling systems, which often use air conditioners, are also energy-intensive. That is why we have opted for a system that is much more environmentally friendly: water cooling. Coupled with the natural air flow in the rooms and buildings for additional energy efficiency, this system allows us to avoid using air conditioning to cool our servers. The Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) has been greatly reduced as a result, ranging from 1.3 to 1.09 today, whereas the rest of the industry has a PUE closer to 2.
With this digital transformation, we are thinking about new storage methods for our datacentres. With the growing need for cloud services, the number of datacentres worldwide will continue to grow. Our R&D teams are working every day to anticipate and create the systems of the future, while continuing to respect the environment. OVHcloud is a signatory to the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, which aims to make datacentres climate-neutral by 2030. Through five key elements, we want our datacentres to run on renewable energy by 2025, with emissions reaching zero by 2030.
The future of datacentres
These five key actions will help us achieve this goal:
- Using PUE and WUE (Water Usage Effectiveness) indicators to monitor consumption, which is at the lowest level in our datacentres
- Optimising resources and how we use them
- Gradually increasing the percentage of renewable energy used
- Strengthening the circular economy and upgrading components throughout their life cycle
- Mobilising our ecosystem, from our customers to our suppliers and partners.
What products and solutions are hosted in datacentres?
Whether it’s standard web hosting, dedicated servers for physical infrastructures, VPS, public cloud or private cloud for cloud computing, all of our solutions and products are hosted in our datacentres. The scalability of your favourite solutions, whether it’s virtualisation or physical servers, was taken into account during the design of the datacentre itself, so hardware will never be an obstacle to your expansion.
What types of solutions can be offered in a datacentre?
Most of the most widely used cloud computing services are adapted and hosted in datacentres. The cloud infrastructure remains the same, whether it’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Shared web hosting is also a solution offered in datacentres, and offers the most affordable prices for hosting both personal and business websites.
What are the benefits of a datacentre?
Cost reduction is one of the benefits of datacentres. Industrialising the production chain and maintaining our infrastructures means that services can be provided at a much more affordable price than an individual solution. You don’t have to worry about hardware storage, or the various work and costs associated with general hardware maintenance and IT resource, such as changing or adding RAM, processors (CPU), hard drives, or even replacing motherboards.