European hosting giant OVH has lined up $181 million to build new data centers in the U.S., as it continues to expand its business into the North American market. The French company is known for hyper-growth and an innovative approach to infrastructure design, building custom servers, containers and data centers shaped like giant cubes.
OVH said the credit line was the largest ever arranged for a European hosting firm. It was arranged with a group of 10 banks, who said OVH’s steady growth convinced the banks to support the expansion phase. The company was founded by Octave Klaba in 1999, and operates more than 140,000 dedicated servers in 11 data centers.
"This syndicated loan assures the next two years of development for the company, by financing 70 percent of the North American and European investments to come, the remaining being self-financed," said Nicolas Boyer, CFO at OVH.com. "It therefore offers us the visibility to carry on a very sustained development and an ever-growing client demand. Moreover, this financing allows us to consolidate our relationships with financial partners that have trusted us for over 10 years and who have reaffirmed, through this operation and the magnitude of this fundraising, their willingness to accompany OVH.com’s development."
The company designs and builds its own servers and data centers, including some unusual designs:
- OVH's first North American data center in Beauharnois, Quebec, is housed in a former 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. The building is located alongside a dam that will provide 120 megawatts of hydropower to support the facility. OVH estimates that at full buildout, the facility could house as many as 300,000 servers.
- In 2011 OVH opened an innovative Cube-shaped data center in Roubaix, France, which houses servers in an exterior corridor built around an open center, allowing for easy airflow through the facility.
- In early 2012, OVH opened a new data center in Strasbourg, France that recreates many elements of the cube design using stacks of shipping containers housing servers. The facility features 12 containers, which are stacked three-high in two rows. Outside air enters the facility through louvers in the exterior wall. The air travels through the racks of servers, and then exits the IT corridor via large fans behind the racks, which vent the air outside into the open center.
Last year OVH announced plans to enter the North American hosting market, and acquired the property for the Quebec facility. At the time, Klaba indicated that the expansion would include additional data centers in the U.S.
"North America is a territory so vast that it takes at least three large data centers to cover the entire population," he said. "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."
For additional coverage, see French Web Host OVH Raises $181 Million at The WHIR