Passive fire protection elements include the installation of firewalls around the data center, so a fire can be restricted to a portion of the facility to enhance the capabilities of active fire protection systems and limit exposure domains. For data centers, firewalls are only part of the fire protection strategy to protect heat-sensitive electronic equipment because conventional firewall construction is only rated for flame penetration time, not heat penetration. There are additional protections of vulnerable entry points into the server room, such as cable penetrations, coolant line penetrations and air ducts.
For early detection, VESDA smoke and ion detectors provide early warning of a developing fire by detecting particles generated by smoldering components prior to the development of flame. This allows investigation, interruption of power, and manual fire suppression using hand held fire extinguishers before the fire grows. In some cases, a preaction fire sprinkler system is provided to control a full scale fire should one develop.
Clean agent fire suppression gaseous systems are installed to suppress a fire earlier than the fire sprinkler system. A clean agent is “an electrically non-conducting, volatile, or gaseous fire extinguishant that does not leave a residue upon evaporation.”
AiNET data centers utilize both HALON 1301 and FM-200 clean agent systems. Halon is a liquefied, compressed gas that stops the spread of fire by chemically disrupting combustion. Halon protects data centers and communication rooms throughout the IT industry; it has numerous military applications on ships, aircraft and tanks and helps ensure safety on all commercial aircraft. To reduce CFC release potential, FM-200 is a very effective clean agent dispensed into the hazard as a colorless, vapor that is clear and does not obscure vision.
The single largest threat to a data center is the invasion of water whether from a water sprinkler or a natural cause (e.g. flood).
Choosing a data center that is well above the X (500 year) flood plain designation as determined by the NFIP and accessible from the FEMA website represents the best protection against the likelihood of a natural water threat to your data center operations. For this reason, AiNET data center sites are specifically chosen to lie at or above the 500 year, X flood plain.
Note that many data centers operate in the 100 year and even riskier flood plains. Placing mission-critical applications in such locations constitutes unwarranted and, quite likely, unsuitable risk.