18:17 15.03.2021


About the fire in Strasbourg and the Magical Consciousness

6 min read
About the fire in Strasbourg and the Magical Consciousness

Maxim Ageev, CEO of De Novo


The other day, one of the four buildings of the French data center OVH - the largest European operator for renting data centers, dedicated servers and cloud resources - burst into flames like a match and burned to the ground. The fire also affected neighboring buildings, which led to a complete shutdown of the provider's entire data center complex.

The Strasbourg incident immediately became a notoriously well-known world leader on the list of disasters that happened to data centers. Nothing like this has happened anywhere in many years, the story looks just apocalyptic.

A fire in a building of this class looks stunning.

All approaches and standards for the construction of modern data centers are contrary to this egregious disaster. At the time of writing this, the reasons for such a large-scale fire are unknown.

The consequences for OVH will be dire, if not fatal.

We must wait for at least preliminary conclusions and hypotheses about the reason for such a mighty fire.

But at first sight, no other versions except for the total mess and violations of all norms are not visible. Perhaps a fatal coincidence of many circumstances happened, bordering on mysticism.

According to media reports, the major losses were incurred by tenants of dedicated servers. The cloud community doesn't seem to be hurt.

The discussion of this news in the Ukrainian segment of Facebook looks curious.

I would classify the general tone of many posts as variants of "Magic Consciousness", namely the state in which the author evaluates everything that happens outside, based on his vision, but does not undertake to substantiate the nature and mechanism of realization.

Magic outlook 1. Everything seems to be more reliable, nothing and never breaks in Europe / America. You can only store data there. Everything there is free of charge. In general, other countries will help us - reserve sites, recovery on a call, we owe everything and everything, and other "all-inclusive" tourist logic.

Magic outlook 2. In Ukraine, everything is always bad - where we are and where their technologies are, thefts, lack of qualifications, our data will be lost at the slightest issues, etc. We do not trust local providers, and we do not succumb to their tricks, let's find the Magic # 1.

Magic outlook 3. We will close our eyes tightly and hide in the house - we will build our data center and leave these operators. And then we will not be afraid of any fires, floods, droughts, and Ebola. Our faith is strong with Magic outlook No. 1 and No. 2. On that and stand in our procurement budget.

The reality looks different on almost all the points mentioned.

Everything can get on fire - your property, neighbor's, on our street, or a distant continent. Papers, cars, offices, data centers, communication channels can be destroyed. The Strasbourg accident clearly shows that the point is not in the geography of the location of equipment or data, but in entirely different things, which will be discussed below.

The value of processed and stored "digitally" data today for most enterprises is an order of magnitude higher than 15 years ago. And this fact has a significant impact on the current operations of the main business. The unwillingness or inability of the owners and top management to correctly assess the new balance of risks does not save the company from the consequences - with this approach, it is more often wrong than neutral.

No model of ownership and processing of business data denies the threat of their (data) de-actualization, destruction, and theft. You have your own data center or outsourcing (and even an external cloud) - no option guarantees the safety of your data in the absence of not declarative, but actually working information security system of a company of any type, size and form of ownership.

Local and global cloud or data center operators carry approximately the same set of threats in terms of probability and quantity in relation to the data of their customers. The threat to this data from an external operator is several times, or even an order of magnitude, lower than the consumer's threat to himself. In combination with the obvious economic effect, this leads to the long-term growth of the service market of Clouds, hosting, data centers.

The upward trend in digital business transformation is largely related to its attitude to the value of its data and the very model of creating added value based on the mentioned digital data.

Perhaps you are cool and want to have a business-like Jeff Bezos, but you are ready to spend on your happiness like on a stall site of the 2000 model. Then you have to live with a bomb and don't complain if something happens.

The reality is that no service provider in the world guarantees 100% protection and/or recovery of lost customer data by default. You have to pay for such a service separately and a lot, taking into account a dozen possible scenarios for its implementation. And you will need not only competent specialists "on the customer's side", but also the support of the top management, as well as

financial resources.

The whole bunch of technologies, incomprehensible to an ordinary director, an abundance of project efforts and costs - this is not a Masonic conspiracy of "IT developers". A life jacket, an emergency first aid kit in a backpack, a reserve of your blood in a medical refrigerator - that's what it is for modern business. And the services of a professional IT service provider will cost you less than the old-fashioned tools in the form of a server under the table. This is if you move away from the Magical Consciousness and evaluate the offered price and the entire "kit" of the service operator.

And even if you have a Disaster Recovery Plan on your table, most of you never test its effectiveness in practice. In Ukraine, this is all too common, even if there are two sites for placement.

The modern world is not only cats and cute pictures on Instagram. It is also an endless effort to defend its digital footprint, where threats breed like fruit flies. And where they will take you by surprise - in Strasbourg or Kyiv - this is a question for the Magical Consciousness.