Protecting your data centre with fire suppression

With the amount of heat generated by data centres and IT facilities, it is no surprise that there are plenty of different fire suppression options out there to help prevent fire and the serious damage it causes.

data centre
Google Data Centre

Data centres by their very nature need to be running 24 hours a day and any disruption to any of their primary services could be critical, meaning the need to protect against a potentially ruinous fire is crucial.

So, first things first, what are the systems available to you if you want to protect your IT facility?

Well, obviously, sprinkler systems are off the menu; dousing your servers in water probably isn’t the best way to go if you want to keep your services up and running.

No, there are other choices out there that will keep your equipment safe from fire and not damage it in the event of a blaze breaking out. After all, prevention is better than the cure and fire suppression systems are based upon that principle.

First off, let’s take a look at Hypoxic air fire suppression systems, or to put it simply, oxygen depletion systems. These work by reducing one of the three key elements fire needs to burn, oxygen, in a room to stop a blaze from breaking out. Usually, sensors monitor the levels of oxygen in a room to maintain the oxygen level at around 15%, leaving the space safe for humans to use. This is a particularly useful system to use for a data centre, server room or indeed any IT facility as it is proactive in preventing fires, meaning server down-time will be kept to a minimum.

data centre protection

The one problem with this system is that it has no cooling benefits as such, so won’t help keep your servers working at an optimum in that respect.

An alternative to this type of system is a gas fire suppression system which works by pumping a gas into an enclosure that removes heat (one of the three elements required for fire to burn) and therefore stops it in its tracks. Some systems use Carbon dioxide and Inergen which work by removing oxygen from the surrounding enviroment.

Once again, these systems are good to use in an IT facility because they won’t damage your equipment, but these ( as with oxygen depletion systems) can be expensive and take up a large amount of space which may not be available. They also require regular maintenance which can be pricey.

A viable alternative and certainly the most cost effective is an aerosol-based system which alter the chemical reaction between heat, fuel and oxygen rather than remove one of the three elements as most others do.

Good for when space and cash is at a premium, this type of system isn’t pressurised like gas systems so doesn’t require expensive maintenance, and still protects your expensive equipment.

There are plenty of different types of fire suppression systems available to you depending on the space, budget and equipment you have, all of which ensure that your facility won’t be affected by fire.

Consult over what is the best Fire suppression system for you, and you will be well on your way to protecting your facility from critical damage by fire.

Author Bio –

Pete South has been a writer and journalist for three years since graduating from university with a degree in journalism in 2009. He is writing on behalf of Rs-Fire.