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ARTICLE: Protecting Your Cloud With Mist
15 August 2017

Data keeps businesses running these days. And with the amount of data growing exponentially every year, the need for large data centers has increased. The need to keep those centers operating at all times has increased as well. But fire suppression in data centers can be challenging due to the high airflow and the increased power density of servers. The HI-FOG® high-pressure water mist system is ideal for these unique circumstances as it efficiently suppresses controls and cools fires in ventilated conditions and in the narrow spaces under the raised floor of a data hall.

Fire risk in modern data centers

A data center is full of electronics - row after row of densely-packed server cabinets with kilometers of power and data cables. The immense power density of servers keeps rising and thus increases fire risk. Insufficient cooling or a malfunction may heat up the components to an extreme degree and, eventually, could cause a fire. How do you prepare for this possibility? What should be considered and how do you minimize damage effectively at a reasonable cost?

A risk assessment should start with listing the objectives for protection:

  • What loss of assets can be tolerated?
  • What assets should be protected in terms of business criticality and tolerance?
  • Are you aiming to protect individual servers or the whole facility?
  • How much does downtime cost?  
  • How quickly must operations continue?
  • What is the total cost of ownership of the fire protection system throughout the life cycle of the data center?
  • What protection systems are certified for data centers?
  • What systems have a proven track record of successful suppression and tolerable damage?
  • Are there legal, environmental or local factors that must be considered now and in the near future?

HI-FOG® has proven to be an ideal fire protection system for these critical facilities as it helps to reduce equipment damage and downtime thanks to localized suppression and control of fire as well as low water usage.

The new FM 5560 standard by FM Approvals

FM Approvals, a de facto standards body which specializes in objective testing and certifying property loss of products and services, has identified the increased fire risks in data centers. In 2016, they upgraded FM Standard 5560, a detailed document covering water mist systems and now, data center specific test protocols.

New areas covered by the upgraded FM Standard 5560:

  • protection of data processing equipment above/below a raised floor
  • combustible loading of cables and cable trays
  • challenges of ceiling height, obstructions, impact of ventilation

HI-FOG® is the first high-pressure water mist fire protection system to fulfill the new standards for data center fire safety and receive FM Approvals certification for protecting data halls and subfloors from fire. The performance has been verified in full-scale fire tests. The FM-approved HI-FOG system can safely function in ventilated conditions as well as in the narrow spaces under the raised floor of a data hall. It is also equipped with a pre-action security mechanism, which can help prevent accidental water leakages and false discharges in data processing equipment halls.

Perhaps most importantly, HI-FOG uses much less water than traditional sprinkler systems or low pressure water mist systems, minimizing damage to equipment and downtime. Truly, the best way to protect your Cloud is with mist.

For more information, contact Henri Simula, Global Account Manager

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