French cloud and hosting company OVH has opened its first UK data center as part of its five year €1.5bn ($1.77bn) expansion plan. 

The facility, located in the South East of London, was due to open last month but was delayed ”due to external causes” beyond the company’s control, Hiren Parekh, OVH’s senior director of cloud and hosting in the EMEA region said in a statement. 

Previously owned by an unnamed telecommunications company, the 4 000 sq m (43,055 sq ft) facility was built approximately 20 years ago. Work on the facility began in January, and it is now equipped with 40,000 servers. The company will not offer colo services from the site and will instead focus its activities on cloud and hosting services. 

No turning back


The decision to open three data centers in Britain - as another two will follow the current facility for disaster recovery purposes - one of which will be located in the outskirts of London, the other far enough away to guarantee redundancy in case of a critical failure, is, according to Parekh, an assertion of the company’s faith in the country’s potential as a major consumer of its services despite its forecast exit from the European Union. 

“The UK is a fantastic market, it’s obviously a very vibrant market for business and it represents huge international opportunity for OVH moving forward,” Parekh stated. 

The facility is built close to two electrical substations, and is connected to OVH’s current PoP in London (which is approximately half a millisecond away) via a double fiber path. It will be connected to its two disaster recovery sites via vRack, OVH’s private network developed to allow for multisite infrastructures. The London data center also has connections to the company’s facilities in France, Germany, the Netherlands, US and Canada thanks to the company’s proprietary fiber network. 

The company states the location is well connected to transport links, which will be of use to its 20 permanent employees on site.

The company’s expansion has gained steam following a €250m ($295.68m) investment by KKR and TowerBrook last year and another €400m ($473.08m) from nine banking companies in June. This year, OVH has launched data centers in Poland, Singapore and Germany, and has plans to open two facilities in the US (one on the West coast and the other on the East coast), Australia, and three others in Spain, Italy and the Netherlands by 2020. The company is also planning another French data center in October this year.