Inevitably data centres require 24-hour intense supply of power and air conditioning, and are therefore under the constant risk of a fire starting, which without correct detection, can lead to severe disruption. Such disruption to a data centres’ services can cause untold inconvenience to millions of customers around the world. The reputational impact of this disruption, as well as the cost of repair, is an often ignored threat to a company’s survival. In fact, research reveals that an estimated 25 per cent of data centres do not reopen following a major disaster. Even more concerning is that 70 per cent of small firms that experience a major data loss go out of business within a year.
These high figures are largely due to the financial cost of downtime, most recently estimated at $5,600 a minute. And based on an average reported incident length of 90 minutes, the average cost of a single downtime event is therefore estimated to be $505,500. The cost of downtime caused by a fire or false alarm is simply unbearable for most data centres. The value of protecting the highly sensitive and combustible machinery in data centres is therefore immeasurable.
It is not only fires that cause downtime. False alarms which result in shifts to backup data and/or the unnecessary release of fire suppression systems also result in downtime. And many data centres are not as well-prepared as they could be to prevent this.
Aspiration smoke detection has been around for over twenty years and often provides the perfect solution. As the technology within data centres has developed over this period, so has the technology within aspiration devices. For example, the latest devices use ultra-sensitive dual laser technology to analyse air samples, which detect smoke 300 times faster than an ordinary point detector in order to deliver the earliest possible warning of a fire. Crucially this provides data centre managers with more time to investigate and understand the threat, move the data and extinguish the threat before damage occurs. More importantly, the best detectors promise to eliminate false alarms entirely.
The most modern aspiration devices are also IP-enabled meaning that they can be integrated with other protection systems in the building and can push real-time updates to computers and tablets, allowing data centre managers to monitor their centre from anywhere in the world. These updates ensure managers are given the earliest warning possible to reduce the chance of suffering costly downtime.
Stuart Ball, Marketing Manager for System Sensor in Europe, said, “As a data centre manager, it is critical to think proactively about protecting your business from downtime. Experience has shown the devastating effect a fire or even a false alarm can have on a business. Modern aspiration detection can remove this threat and improve the chance of survival in the ever-competitive global data centres market. If a data centre’s customers are not yet demanding this protection, they soon will be.”
Tags: Design & Facilities Management