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Does anyone have statistics on how often a fire occurs in a computer room?

Stephen Larcara - PeerSpot reviewer
Sr. Toll Systems Engineer at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees

I am trying to determine if we need to specify and justify the cost for FM200 fire suppression.

Client has about 24 sites each with a computer equipment room containing anywhere from 3 to 5 racks with 3-4 Dell and HP servers, CIsco network switches, patch panels, UPS and batteries. Many of these locations will go to unstaffed in the future.

PeerSpot user
89 Answers

DaraAzartash - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 10Real User

This type of info is just statistics and no one can tell you how often a disaster occurs because there are too many variables in this math besides monitoring and maintenance. 

I have seen a fire in the server room and it occurred because of the defective cooling system. Trust me - it costs more to return the place back to the normal operation than a fire suppression system. 

As you said it's not a small client and human errors happen all the time. So, it's better to have extra in your pocket.

Jerry K - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5Real User

Fire suppression solution is always recommended in a HVDC environ. If you want to insure your DC, most insurance providers also insist on this. A short circuit in the bldg or Acts of God are unpredictable. It's industry best practice to fire proof your DC. Still a geographically remote DR is also recommended. So no matter whether you have a fire in your DC, the investment on fire suppression solution is highly recommended. There are many fire retardant materials available these days for protecting your DC, yet it's a risk that you may decide to override.. 

Richard Artes - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

No, i've been working it IT for 20 years and never seen a fire in a server room (yet). However I have seen a flood when there was a particularly heavy rainstorm that flooded the car park and then made its way into the basement of the office block. The rain was so heavy it set all the car alarms off in the car park.

It's like insurance, you hope you never need it. But one day you just might.

CvanderH - PeerSpot reviewer
LeaderboardReal User

I have never experienced a fire in a data center but have seen some hazardous server rooms.  It basically comes down to insurance and how badly damaged the equipment is and if not you have a redundant/fail-over/disaster recovery solution in place.  Fire damage like water damage means game over, you will be looking to replace all IT equipment.  Apart from physical damage you must also take downtime into account.  So it's weighing up the cost of replacing the data center and downtime versus a fire suppression system. You may find this article interesting:


reviewer160041 - PeerSpot reviewer

I have been working in the industry for more than 25 years, only once we have had some smoke from a server power supply that did not catch alight and the circuit breaker trip on that particular circuit. 

For a small remote DC with only 5 racks wouldn't be worth putting in FM200. We have ELV rooms much larger with 25 Racks and we don't have FM200 installed, and we have a few hundred of these spread across very large & multiple sites, extremely rare. 

Keep the equipment and room clean, ensure all power and cooling are monitored and you are good. 

Bernard Ariro - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5LeaderboardReal User

Yes at a mobile service provider with most if not all services were affected countrywide. I would recommend the fire suppression system for main/primary sites while the remaining sites to have robust redundancy or backup to ensure quick resumption of services. 

Luis Apodaca - PeerSpot reviewer
Top 5User

Hi Stephen

First of all maybe you should ask your self the question how much money we can loose if we get a fire in my site? is it a Main Site or a secondary one (IDF or MDF )? Does it really matter if you loose production time (kind the "is any one could die" ?)

I don't think checking only the possible number of casualties (talking about " stuff ") is the correct way to get in to the analysis.

Maybe if you start the analysis in this order

1) human life safe

2) cost of the possible loss

3) wasted production time

Good luck.

Eduardo Romero - PeerSpot reviewer

evaluate which places has bad qualify for:  Location ( far far away), Obsolete hardware ( cannot really replace at SLA times ), local environment ( inside Industrial Plant, Energy. Minning ) that cause an external fire. 

About Fire on DC, just read news today about OVH.

In my country ( Chile), the fire systems are primordial because is earthquake country, the last 2 bigger earthquakes  (1985, 2010) cause fire building on Chemestry Faculty in a  different universities, the bulding at 2010' eathquake had internal DC facilities. )

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