Data center fire suppression — what do you use?

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Data center fire prevention
Data Center Fire Suppression
Fire suppression
Water-Based Data Center Fire Suppression
Waterless Agents
What do you use as your method of data center fire suppression? Water-based? Waterless agents? What led you to your decision?

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Most data centers would normally be protected by FM200 which is waterless. It’s cost effective and won’t damage your IT investments compared to water-based agents.

We still use Halon. And I read this statement: Because of the Montreal Protocol, ozone-depleting substances, such as Halon 1301, are no longer used in new fire suppression systems. Governments around the world have already mandated the decommissioning of Halon 1301 systems.

I am not sure if the US govt has mandated it yet or not.

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  • StevenG7
    I disagree with the claim "Most data centers...". I suspect the majority of data centers don't use FM200 specifically, although they may use other gas-based systems. Most of the data centers I've seen still use water based "Dry standpipe pre-action systems" as they are much cheaper to engineer, install, and maintain. In fact, many AHJs will require a sprinkler system be installed as a backup even if a gas-based system is primary. As to what system I would specify when building a data center, it depends! (my favorite answer.) And I would involve a company which specializes in fire-prevention and the insurance carrier's Loss Prevention Specialist in the design. ...Steve Gold Infrastructure Consultant SJG Consultants
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  • tmullahy
    We researched this issue thoroughly when we built our data center which went online last year. We visited over 20 different centers and observed a variety of fire supression strategies. Most places that we toured had dry pipe systems. One even said that they did not have any fire supression system because they felt that "nothing's going to burn in a data center." Our judgement was that while protecting human life is primary, the protection of customer's data is a close second. Dry pipe is something that we just did not understand from that perspective. When the pellet melts and the water gushes out, the fire will get put out and people will be protected, but all of the servers under the sprinkler head are now ruined and who knows if the data is able to be recovered or not. Dry pipe is certainly a cheaper alternative, but we feel that the investment was necessary to be taken seriously by customers who place a high value on their data. We host for customers who are publishing family photos, putting up a business card website, making sports league results available, conducting ecommerce, and even running worlwide manufacturing organizations. Our approach was that everyon'es data is important to them. We think of it as how do you tell Mrs. Smith that we lost the photos of her daughter's wedding on her VPS because her server got hosed? We even took this approach to looking an appropriate site to build the center. A neighboring community had a good property available, but we rejected it because they would not allow FM-200 and dictated the use of dry pipe. The last item that we liked about FM-200 is that it was not harmful to people and the envrionment. If people are acutally in the data room when there is a FM-200 blow, it will be unpleasant, but the oxygen isn't sucked out of the room or anything like that. There will be a residue left and our Lieberts' filters will clean most of the particles up and the rest we can clean up with a dustbuster. Hope this helps in your evaluation process. Tim Mullahy General Manager Liberty Center One Royal Oak, MI
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