back to article As above, so below: El Reg haunts Scaleway's data centre catacombs 26 metres under Paris

Parisian cloud and web-hosting outfit Scaleway invited The Register to poke around an underground data centre last week as part of the company's inaugural ScaleDay shindig. "We've built it in an old fall out shelter, 26 metres beneath Paris," they said. "Want to come and look?" How could we resist? With city space ever …

  1. stiine Silver badge

    > just without the pungent aroma often found on the platforms and stairwells.

    These days nearly every subway/metro/el has the same smell.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      For extra authenticity, they should put a vagrant or two in there, along with some graffiti'd walls.

    2. J. R. Hartley

      I read that sub headline in Paul Weller's voice. I know you all did too.

      1. Youngone Silver badge

        I read that sub headline in Paul Weller's voice. I know you all did too.

        Loyal subjects of Her Majesty will have. Not sure about our American friends.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

          And I'm Down In The Tube Station At Midnight.

          That is all.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is all that piss on the floor leakage from Facebook?

      1. aregross

        It did look a bit... yellowish, din'it!

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "aimed [..] at customers reluctant to entrust Microsoft and Amazon with their data"

    Which should be all European banks and administrations by default, with many large European companies coming in a close second. Nobody should make it easy for the NSA to get their grubby mitts on our data.

    So their business should be thriving.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: "aimed [..] at customers reluctant to entrust Microsoft and Amazon with their data"

      Why worry about Uncle Sam when GCHQ will have it all from tapping the cables and will hand EVERYTHING over to the Yanks automatically?

  3. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    And customers wanting just a little more privacy in the data dungeon can also specify their own personal cell.

    Torture equipment to be added as optional extra? Oh, the sound-proof door is also an optional extra, but a must-have.

  4. Alister

    Arnold of Birmingham, hey?

    A Brummie Frenchman, now there's a thing...


  5. Starace

    Bit damp

    Not sure I'd trust an old bunker to stay particularly dry particularly in certain circumstances. Even the nice expensive ones often struggle to keep the water out in places much drier than Paris.

    Some of the old London sites had some serious design flaws and ran a severe risk of backfilling if there was any sort of widespread sustained power outage. And not with water.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Bit damp

      A brown-out in every sense of the word

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit damp

      "Not sure I'd trust an old bunker to stay particularly dry particularly in certain circumstances."

      Exactly my thoughts. And even less a bunker located underneath La Seine !

      For sure, they're probably renting at a couple of bucks per months, since who would get there ? But come on, it's a freaking DC and the worst enemy of a DC has always been water !

  6. M7S
    Black Helicopters

    This increasing use of repurposed fallout shelters as server farms is a problem

    The kit is quite heavy. Come the zombie apocalypse, it will be easy for marauding gangs of feral survivors/evil mutants to locate and beseige those shelterig therein due to the large pile of rack equipment to be found near otherwise innocuous "electricity substation" or "Metro station fire escape" doors.

  7. YARR

    I've got an in-Seine-ly great idea about how to cool those servers.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      That's in Seine

  8. Chris Evans

    Insurance for the inevitable?

    Considering the risk of water damage I suspect they will have a problem getting Insurance and then there is the cooling problem. I fear a catastrophic failure is almost inevitable!

    1. catprog

      Re: Insurance for the inevitable?

      What if you design your software to account for this data center going down?

      1. Tomato Krill

        Re: Insurance for the inevitable? hosting it somewhere else and not needlessly taking that risk?

        1. catprog

          Re: Insurance for the inevitable?

          I am thinking of using this data center for low latency and storing a copy of the data out in the country.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Insurance for the inevitable?

        "What if you design your software to account for this data center going down?"

        Everyone I've seen do that without regular (once per month minimum) testing is finding themselves, a couple of years after last testing to fail massively because both DCs were necessary to good service.

  9. Dave559 Silver badge


    Admittedly, the Metro-style tiles look quite nice (RATP, not Windows 8, that is), but I'd have thought that buying and fitting them would be rather expensive, so I'm wondering why they didn't just go for a simpler form of wall lining?

  10. Flywheel
    Thumb Up

    The "manual backup system" is amazing!

    Aircon failed?

    No problem! On yer bike!

    Formidable mes amis!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It’s a shame they’re shit.

    I tried to run my business on their platform for about six months and it was a disaster. Terrible reliability issues, a surprisingly poor feature set, and support that knew how to say “sorry for the inconvenience” but couldn’t actually fix anything. I eventually moved when I got VAT registered, and they said they could not change their billing system to accommodate that - I would have to clone the servers into a new account, transfer the data and start again.

    I was really hoping to be able to use a European company, but the options all seem poor. I’m now using AWS with servers in Ireland. The main disadvantage of AWS is their bandwidth costs, but you can largely mitigate that using Lightsail. If you fancied Scaleway for their ARM servers, now AWS has that too (but not Lightsail sadly).

    I would only recommend Scaleway if you are trying to build a fault-tolerant system (i.e. live database replication, failover etc.) and want to be able to test it. With its regular crashes, I had plenty of opportunities for debugging recovery scripts, notifications, etc. On AWS I have never experienced a real failure, and simulated failures are not quite as good a test.

  12. N2

    After the end of the cold war...

    You really think its over?

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: After the end of the cold war...

      Global warming, mate.

  13. PhilipN

    As above, so below

    An extraordinarily arcane, not to mention her(m)etical, epithet.

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