The datacenter housing the European data for the popular crafting and survival game Rust caught fire on Tuesday night and burned until the wee hours of Wednesday morning. The European Rust servers were housed at a datacenter run by OVHCloud in Strasbourg, France. Rust developer Facepunch is bringing servers back online for European players, but said that all the data consumed in the fire is lost and players will have to start again.
Rust is a crafting and survival game similar to Ark: Survival Evolved or Valheim. It has a focus on PVP and cruelty. It’s possible to destroy someone’s base while they’re logged out of the game. It was released in 2013, but has seen a recent upsurge in popularity thanks to popular Twitch streams.
It sucks that a server fire wiped out a player's progress, and the replies to Faecepunch’s announcement on Twitter are mixed. Rust is a game about losing everything and being forced to rebuild, Facepunch-run servers wipe player progress every month so the community is used to starting from scratch. A real life fire is just another version of logging into Rust to discover another player found your base, stole your pants, and set everything on fire.
OVHCloud owns and operates several buildings in Strasbourg that host its datacenters. Fire wiped out the five story SBG2 building, which contained Rust’s data. SBG1 was partially destroyed but firefighters were able to contain the blaze and stop the bulk of the damage.
It’s unclear what started the blaze at SBG2 but the threat of a fire is a constant concern in datacenters.
“Datacenters generate a lot, I mean a fucking lot of heat and consume a lot of power,” Jim Salter, a senior systems administrator in South Carolina, told Motherboard. “It's not hard for fires to happen. A proper datacenter could almost be described as a climate control center that happens to have computers in it. There should be at a bare minimum tons of smoke detectors, temperature monitoring with automatic power shutoff if temperatures grow, industrial grade automated fire suppression, and so forth, but if any piece of that chain isn't monitored and maintained properly, and you let a fault get out of control... once a rack catches on fire, if you still don't get fire suppression kicking in, then yeah the whole thing's going up in a raging inferno.”
Salter said that the cheapest method of fire suppression is a sprinkler system, “but it fucking sucks when you’re trying to protect electrical gear.” Many datacenters use a halocarbon fire suppression system that pumps an inert gas into the area which cuts off the fire’s oxygen and puts it out before things get out of hand.
No one is sure what happened at SBG2 yet, but the result was a major fire that consumed one building and endangered other parts of the datacenter complex. OVHCloud founder Octave Klaba informed his clients to begin their own "disaster recovery" plans, and while Rust's European servers were clearly hard-hit, the wider impact of the fire is still being assessed.
Facepunch and OVHCloud did not immediately respond to Motherboard’s request for comment