Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Thursday, October 6, 2022

OVH Builds Servers on Demand 

French Web hosting company OVH extends do-it-yourself ingenuity to the server level. Servers go from parts to production in under an hour. 

The hyper-scale datacenter crowd is always looking for efficiencies, hence all the creative site designs from Web giants like Google and Microsoft. French Web hosting company OVH, which operates multiple custom-built datacenters, has extended this do-it-yourself ingenuity to the server level.

For facilities employees at OVH's Quebec datacenter, the process of ordering a new server is about as easy as it gets. The equipment is assembled and tested on site and new servers are ready in about an hour.

A short (under 2 minute) video highlighting the operations explains that the company's global server count passed the 150,000 mark in the first quarter of 2013, at the same time as OVH was launching its first North American datacenter, called BHS, in Beauharnois, Quebec.

"It's here at the production facilities located within the BHS datacenter in southern Montreal that OVH.com manufacturers servers intended to fill its racks on a lean production basis," remarks the narrator. "From cases, processors, hard disks and mother boards to RAM, every component has been carefully selected by OVH."

Technicians assemble the servers in just 15 minutes. The finished units include water cooling equipment that whisks away 70 percent of heat from the processors. Once constructed, servers are brought into production immediately.

OVH.com's Beauharnois datacenter has enough capacity for 360,000 servers, making it one of the largest datacenters in the world. But with hyper-scale facilities come utility scale power requirements. OVH reports that an emphasis on green R&D has been instrumental in minimizing the datacenter's environmental impact. The location, too, is strategic being situated 300 meters from the hydroelectric dam that supplies the site with "green energy."

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