OVH Goes Big and Green With New Quebec Data Center


A look at the new OVH data center in Quebec, which will eventually be able to accommodate 360,000 servers. (Photo: OVH)

Web hosting giant OVH has officially opened up a massive, energy-efficient data center in Beauharnois, Quebec to act as its North American presence. The facility, located in a suburb of Montreal, is a behemoth of a data center with capacity for 360,000 servers.

The new facility is distinctive, built in a fomer Rio Tinto Alcan alumnium plant with an airflow design reminiscent of the Yahoo Computing Coop design, designed to allow waste heat to rise and exit through a central ceiling vent.

This isn’t the first time it’s focused on green design. DCK readers may be familiar with OVH for the innovative Cube-shaped data center it opened in 2011 in Roubaix, France, which houses servers in an exterior corridor built around an open center, allowing for easy airflow through the facility. One of the reasons the company chose Quebec is because the location works with this RBX-4 “cube” design (more on that in the April coverage).

Just 300 Yards from Hydro Dam

Beauharnois is just outside of the island of Montreal and uses renewable energy from a hydro-electric dam located just 300 meters away from the building. It was also architected to not use air conditioning, using proprietary cooling technology developed in-house. All of this results in a claimed Power Usage Effectiveness of less than 1.1.

“We set our standards very high and our prices are competitive,” said Octave Klaba, the CEO and Founder of “We expect to meet North American user’s needs as we do in Europe, where we already manage 140,000 servers.”

OVH designs and builds its own servers in order to control all of the components and for performance optimization. The 2013 roll-out focuses primarily on Intel’s Ivy Bridge/Sandy Bridge server technologies, hosted on guaranteed network pipe and unlimited bandwidth. Since 2006, deployed its own fiber-optic network, which is today one of the world’s largest, covering Europe and North America, and includes 33 points of presences (POPs). It offers 2.5 Tbps of ever-increasing bandwidth capacity.

The company offers what it calls dedicated cloud. Built on VMWare’s vSphere, customers can provision an initial virtual data center in under a half an hour, and adjust it afterwards in less than 2 minutes. Customers don’t share server resources, with OVH providing dedicated physical servers to each customer (hence the initial half hour of provisioning time). It guarantees 99.99% availability for dedicated cloud.

This is a sizeable hosting provider that has a business model based on total ownership and control of the supply chain. It’s a leader in Europe, and now it has a significant presence in North America, with more planned.

“North America is a territory so vast that it takes at least three large data centres to cover the entire population,” CEO Octave Klaba said when the plans were revealed. “We are in phase A, which is taking account of the East coast. Later we think do the same to the west and certainly the center.”


A wall of servers inside the OVH data center in Quebec. (Photo: OVH)

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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