Pre-emptive education safeguards our data centres

Pre-emptive education safeguards our data centres

What keeps our customers and Data Centre managers up at night? Probably many things… but hopefully it’s not a fire breaking out in their data centre.

Written by Mark Carroll, Operations Director, VIRTUS Published Monday, 29 April 2019 13:43

What keeps our customers and Data Centre managers up at night? Probably many things… but hopefully it’s not a fire breaking out in their data centre. That’s because they know that all modern data centres are built to not only stop fires starting, but also to put them out faster than most of us would even notice one had started. Solutions range from the more extreme; permanently flooding a room with carbon dioxide so that there is no chance of a fire starting, to the more process-driven strategy of removing flammables from the facilities and everything in-between.

In the unlikely event all of this fails, then the building will react in a variety of ways. It could pump a vast amount of carbon dioxide into the room, suffocating the fire like an enormous fire extinguisher. Another example would be a water mist system that targets only the area the fire is in, leaving all other equipment dry as a bone and still running perfectly. The overall goal is that the building needs to put the fire out with the minimum impact on customer uptime.

For arguments sake, let’s say that there’s a situation which even after all of the above, it still requires the emergency services to be called, or the emergency services are called for another reason. Our emergency services don’t just put out fires, they carry out a huge amount of protective and lifesaving duties. In a 36,000m2 data centre facility, this could be a difficult task. These buildings are vast, with endless white corridors, all containing huge amounts of equipment which is mostly tasked with taming unimaginable quantitates of electricity. Therefore at VIRTUS, we are proud to have the highest quality of engineers to aid in support of the infrastructure, such as;

  • Connectivity: our IT engineers strive to keep all client data routed and uninterrupted.
  • Supply: our Electricians work closely with clients to ensure power demands are met.
  • Resilience: our High and Low Voltage engineers are continuously monitoring the loading, capacity and distribution and are always on call to ensure the data centre power needs are supported.

Our team has been working closely with local emergency services to not only familiarise them with our facilities, but also to help them learn them more about data centres as a whole. Allowing them to study the infrastructure behind these resilient beasts should help to make them more effective at dealing with a problem should it arise.

Common questions that need answering include:

  • Where is the nearest water source?
  • Where are the access points?
  • How do you shut down the affected power supply?
  • Where can you park an ambulance or fire engine?
  • What are the security processes?

The list goes on!

Our aim is to give our customers the highest quality of service with no risk of an outage. Therefore, pre-empting as many impacting scenarios as possible is vital to success.