While fire suppression should be a key element in any commercial fire protection plan, this particular approach to dealing with potential fires provides benefits that other strategies cannot. If you are wondering about the wisdom of making use of fire suppression methods that include the use of inert gas or some similar agent, think about what the right choice will mean to your operation. Here are some points you will want to consider carefully.
Taking Airflow into Consideration
Data halls and centres do require air circulation as a means of keeping servers and other equipment from overheating. While that's fine under most circumstances, the airflow can feed the fire. By using the right type of suppression approach, it's possible to reduce the oxygen that is feeding the fire and helping it to spread. At the same time, the containment of the fire is not contributing to the higher temperature triggered by the fire proper. That helps to decrease the odds of permanent damage to the servers and the possible loss of data.
The Integrity of the Data
It's true that you have the data copied to a cloud location, but what happens to the data and the storage equipment in your facility if a fire breaks out? What would the combination of smoke and heat do to those servers and other devices that are used to store the data? Unless there is a way to contain the fire and keep the temperature lower, you stand to lose quite a bit of what is needed to run the business on a day to day basis.
Automatic fire suppression equipment kicks in as soon as smoke or an increase in heat is detected. Depending on the settings, this makes it possible to contain the problem before it has a chance to adversely affect the operation of your network and the hardware included in that network. The result is that there is time to evacuate the building, get the fire under control, and have a minimum of damage to any of your data storage solutions.
Given the way that fire suppression systems work, you can also look forward to an easier cleanup once the fire is extinguished. There is no doubt that foam and sprinkler systems are effective, but they can leave behind quite a mess. The gases used for many fire suppression strategies don't leave much of a residue. Thanks to this quality, the process of cleaning up and getting things back to normal will require less time and effort.
Another reason that the cleanup will take less time is the targeted deployment of the system. Whether it relies on the use of a gas or a fine mist of water, the focus is at the actual site of the fire. Assuming it is contained and extinguished before it has a chance to spread, most of the facility will remain unaffected.
Now is a good time to take a second look at the fire alarm and suppression equipment that's in place. Consider upgrading the precautions so that the potential for data loss or contamination is kept to a minimum. All it takes is one fire in the data centre to justify the investment in the perfect system.