A fire that wiped out Rust’s EU servers may have been caused by a faulty UPS

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OVH name on side of building

(Image credit: OVH)

A fire that broke out at French datacentre company OVH’s facilities, destroying one datacentre and part of another, and wiping out Rust’s European servers, may have been caused by a faulty uninterruptible power supply (UPS), OVH co-founder and chairman, Octave Klaba, has said. 

The fire broke out on March 10 at SBG2, a datacentre located as a part of a larger cluster of datacentres at OVH’s Strasbourg site. The datacentre was constructed in 2011, and marked one of the older generation units of OVH’s current server lineup. The fire then spread to SBG1, which was partially damaged in the fire.

The large blaze wiped out potentially millions of websites, and destroyed the entirety of Rust’s European servers, each of which could serve 10,000 people during peak time. Thankfully nobody was injured in the blaze, which continued throughout the night before being put out by firefighters.

The company is still looking into the evidence from the fire, which engulfed an entire building at Europe’s largest server provider, but it appears a UPS may be prime suspect today.

“We don’t have all the answers today. What we have is this: we have the alarms about midnight and 47 minutes and immediately we have [names of employees] come to to the part of the datacentre that had the alarms, and there was a lot of smoke,” Klaba says in an update video (via BleepingComputer). “There was so much smoke that they couldn’t stay in the datacentre and two minutes later they made a decision to go out of the datacentre because it’s too dangerous to stay.

“When the firefighters came they took the photos with a thermal camera and seen two UPS on fire, UPS 7 and UPS 8. We had the maintenance of UPS 7 in the morning. The supplier came and changed a lot of pieces inside UPS 7 and restarted UPS 7 afternoon. And it seems like it was working but in the morning we had the fire.”

While not yet definitive proof, it sounds like the cause of the blaze is becoming clearer by the day. We should have all the answers soon, according to Klaba, as video should have captured the initial cause of the fire.

“Thanks to 300 camera that we have in the Strasbourg, and all the videos that we have and have started to extract, we hope to have all the answers about why it started and how it evolved.”

SBG2 will need to be fully rebuilt, OVH says, assumedly as an entirely new unit with up-to-date technology, while SBG1 will be powered back on room by room once it is deemed safe to do so.

As for Rust, producer Alistair McFarlane tells us that the team moved swiftly to get up-and-running on new servers, and OVH Poland seemed a good fit temporarily. The team is looking to shift the servers again once further quantity and locations are available, but that Facepunch Studios will likely stick with OVH in the future.

There’s no ‘Silicon Valley’ where Jacob grew up, but part of his home country is known as ‘The Valleys’ and can therefore be easily confused for a happening place in the tech world. From there he graduated to professionally break things and then write about it for cash in the city of Bath, UK.