The big news today is that Europe’s biggest web hosting company, OVH, is confirming its presence in Canada, with a data center right in Montreal.

The numbers are too big too be true, yet it’s on the CEO’s twitter feed, and he reconfirms it again later.

ovh octave

To give you an idea what 360,000 servers represents, Facebook has only 60,000 servers to run the #2 most visited site in the world. Here’s a more detailed ranking (Sep. to Nov. 2011 figures)

  1. Google: 1 million+ servers
  2. Microsoft: 500k servers
  3. OVH: 100,000 servers + 360,000 servers
  4. HP: around 300k servers
  5. SoftLayer: 100,000 servers
  6. Akamai Technologies: 95,000 servers
  7. Amazon: undisclosed, certainly > 70k servers
  8. Rackspace: 78,717 servers
  9. Intel: 75,000 servers
  10. 1&1 Internet:  70,000 servers
  11. Facebook: 60,000 servers
  12. LeaseWeb: 36,000 servers
  13. Intergenia: (PlusServer/Server4You), 30,000 servers
  14. SBC Communications: 29,193 servers
  15. Verizon: 25,788 servers

360,000 is then 6 times more than Facebook’s entire infrastructure, and it’s all coming downtown Montreal.

To be fair, you can’t bring 360k servers online in the same year let alone in the same month. Octave says they have confirmed supply of 120 megawatts for the 10 facilities, and each mini-tower will probably be activated as sales kickstart.

A few big reasons why OVH is coming into Montreal:

  • electricity is cheap in Québec, as a data center can consume more than an aluminium factory.
  • it’s certainly easier for a French company to establish itself in Montreal than any other north american city
  • dark fiber networks

For those who mentionned Canadian winters, low temperature is a factor, but, it actually plays a lower role than the other reasons above. Smart architecture and smart management of airflows are much more important than colder winters.

This is good news for Montreal & Québec. I’m hoping for instance that it will force the deployement of a new generation of ultra-fast fiber networks in Montréal and the St-Laurent corridor. I also hope OVH will also get into the ISP business and drive prices down, as they’ve done in Europe. As for jobs, we will have to wait. OVH uses top technology to automate its data centers, and most of the infrastructure is probably going to be monitored from France. Expect though openings in sales engineering and customer service.

Have a look at OVH:

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