Server rooms and data centers often consist of large numbers of servers operating in what may be a small environment. Thus, it’s not uncommon for server rooms to get hot if they aren’t properly cooled and ventilated.
The consequences of this can be dire. If a server room is too hot, the servers may be damaged.
In some circumstances, extremely high levels of heat can also increase the chances of a fire starting, particularly if a combustible item comes into contact with a very hot server. Of course, fires can start in server rooms for a variety of reasons, even if they are cooled properly.
You need to take steps to guard against server room fires. The following are a few ways you can do so:
Ensuring your server room is clutter-free will allow employees to work more efficiently and guard against potentially costly accidents, such as slip and falls.
Less clutter will also minimize the risk of fires starting. Again, if combustible materials are present in large numbers, a fire is more likely to occur.
Inspect and replace cables
It’s wise to regularly inspect your server room for signs of any hazards that could cause damage. For example, along with fires, small leaks can also damage servers.
When inspecting your server room, make a point of inspecting your cables and power leads as well. If any appear to be frayed or otherwise damaged, replace them sooner rather than later.
Keep it cool
This is one of the simplest but most effective ways to reduce the odds of a fire starting in your data center. Research industry best practices regarding how to keep a server room in the ideal temperature range, and make adjustments to the temperature accordingly. This will also increase employee comfort when working in a server room, which can play an important role in productivity and engagement.
Don’t obstruct the vents
Regularly check your servers to confirm no one has obstructed their vents. For example, this might happen if a worker carelessly tapes a piece of paper with notes over a server vent.
When a server’s vents are obstructed, it can’t cool itself. Even if this doesn’t result in a fire, there’s a high likelihood it will nevertheless result in server damage.
It’s a simple point, but an important one: if an employee has access to your server room in any capacity, they need to have been trained thoroughly so they understand what they should and should not do to prevent fires from breaking out.
Use the right fire suppression system
If a fire ever does start in your server room, you at least want to minimize the degree to which it can spread. That’s why you also need to install a fire suppression system.
Just be aware that a traditional sprinkler-based system is far from ideal in this environment. Again, water damages servers. If a fire triggers a sprinkler, damage will happen one way or another.
Instead, use a system that extinguishes fires with compressed gas. This is the right choice for an environment in which putting out a fire with water will nevertheless result in substantial losses.
All that said, hopefully, you’ll never have to worry about server room fires. Still, you must know that they can occur. They’re simply less likely to if you follow the advice here.