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Scaleway Unveils All-Cloud Underground Bunker Data Cold Storage, New CEO

The underground bunker storage previously didn't have a cloud option and wasn't available on a pay-per-use basis.

Todd R. Weiss

March 11, 2020

4 Min Read
Cloud Storage

European cloud services vendor Scaleway has bolstered its object storage offerings with the first 100% cloud version of its C14 cold storage for important long-term data security – in an underground concrete bunker below Paris – while also announcing the appointment of Yann Lechelle as the company’s new CEO.

The cloud version of C14 cold storage, which follows the company’s original C14 Classic storage that was based on a monthly fee, will now feature a pay-per-use model and include a redesigned software layer on the same physical hardware server infrastructure, according to the company. The C14 Classic Scaleway object storage continues to be offered for now, but will eventually be replaced by the cloud version.

The Scaleway C14 cold storage is compatible with standard APIs such as Amazon S3 and Glacier, and includes the long-term security of being in a data center bunker 82 feet under the streets of Paris. Deep underground storage has been available from other vendors over the last 20 years, but this offering is designed for critical use cases that require enhanced protection with 6+3 error encoding, a 99.99999999999% durability guarantee and around-the-clock customer support in multiple languages, according to the company.

Scaleway’s underground bunker in Paris is a former fallout shelter. The C14 storage gets its name from the Carbon-14 isotope, which allows for dating very old objects. The C14 moniker for the data storage is an allusion to the ability of the C14 cloud service that makes it possible for users to keep data for hundreds of years.

Steven Hill, an analyst with 451 Research, told Channel Futures that Scaleway’s underground bunker data cold storage can be a good fit for specific companies that require extra protection from many risks of nature, including cosmic rays and hurricanes.


451 Research’s Steven Hill

“But physical location is only one aspect of data survivability,” said Hill. “Like any other site, there are pros and cons regarding underground facilities, but none of that matters if the infrastructure itself isn’t designed to be equally fault-tolerant to the physical location.”

Competitors like Iron Mountain and others have established the security of underground storage for physical artifacts including documents, tapes and data; but most of their data centers are actually above ground, said Hill.

“Simply put, data is highly ephemeral when compared to physical documents, and there are few technical options for maintaining data for centuries; much less multiple decades,” he said. “Today the real focus lies in building fault-tolerant data systems and insuring that archival data is regularly scrubbed for bit rot and migrated every two to three decades, regardless of where it’s physically located. But if that location is a limestone cave 100 feet below ground, it at least eliminates some of the risk of dealing with nature.”

The underground bunker data storage can be the right fit for some businesses, he said.

“A lot depends on the nature of the data in question, and the laws in that part of the world,” said Hill. “Some customers only need to think in basic two-to-seven-year data life cycles for financial information, but others may need to meet longer data-retention requirements for programs like HIPAA, SOX, FedRAMP, PCI DSS and FISMA, as well as GDPR and CCPA.”

Interestingly, when it comes to long-term information archiving, the most reliable media is still microfilm, according to Hill.


Scaleway’s Yann Lechelle

“Its combination of stable polyester film stock with solid silver images can last around 500 years. And even though it may be the slowest and most difficult way possible to find information, all you need to view microfilm is a magnifying glass and daylight.”

New CEO Takes Over for Scaleway’s Founder

Scaleway’s new CEO, Yann Lechelle, comes to the company France-based AI voice platform company, Snips, which Sonos acquired in November. At Snips, Lechelle was chief operating officer. Arnaud de Bermingham, the founder and former CEO of Scaleway, will take the role of president with the company. Scaleway, which has about 250 employees, is a subsidiary of Iliad Group, a cloud infrastructure company.

Lechelle, an entrepreneur and digital innovator, also is  a co-founding member of the France Digitale association, and a co-founding member of the board of directors of HUB France IA.

A Scaleway spokesman didn’t respond to inquiries seeking comment about the new services and the executive appointment.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and eWEEK.com, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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