Data Center Fire Suppression: is Your IT Infrastructure Protected? - Rahi

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wesco Acquisition of Rahi has been finalized. Read More

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Wesco Acquisition of Rahi has been finalized.

Read More
DC Infrastructure

Data Center Fire Suppression: is Your IT Infrastructure Protected?

By Bill Evanger

October 27, 2021 - 3 min


OVHcloud Data Center Fire in France

In March 2021, OVHcloud’s five-story, 5,400-square-foot SBG2 data center in Strasbourg, France was destroyed by ghastly fire that took over six hours to extinguish. Not only was the company’s SBG1 facility heavily damaged, but their SBG3 and SBG4 were forced to temporarily close. Luckily, no one was injured, however, OVHcloud was forced to abandon their SBG1 facility and relocate their equipment to their other two facilities.

Potential Fire Hazards

This incident served as a reminder to data center managers to revisit their fire safety systems. Although data center fires are uncommon and generally contained within a small area, they can cause severe damage to IT equipment and infrastructure and result in extended downtime.

There are several potential fire hazards in a data center, including:

  • IT Equipment
  • HVAC Equipment
  • Power Equipment
  • Wires and Cabling
  • Raised Floors
  • Dropped Ceilings

Authorities suspect that the OVHcloud fire began in the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system, which had received maintenance just the day before.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Protection Standards

A comprehensive fire suppression strategy not only focuses on meeting local fire regulations (generally consisting of smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, well-lighted exits, and other types of building-level fire prevention methods), but also fulfills the organization’s risk tolerance and business continuity objectives.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has established two standards, NFPA 75 and NFPA 76,  applicable to data centers.

-Recommends traditional building-level fire protection designed to protect IT equipment and work with aisle containment systems
-Suggests Rack-level fire suppression to protect specific equipment
-Established to help telecommunication, wireless, Internet and video services providers protect their facilities

Although NFPA standards are only guidelines and not laws, they still provide an important framework that assists data center managers improve their fire prevention methods by providing numerous fire suppression methods.

 NFPA Data Center Recommendations

One of these recommended methods is a pre-action or dry pipe sprinkler system where water is held back by a special valve. This design reduces the risk of leaking and accidental discharge. Some systems fill the pipe with pressurized air or nitrogen for further protection. If a fire is detected, the valve opens to allow water to flow into the pipes. Each sprinkler head is also operated individually to ensure that water is released only where needed.

Data centers may also implement alternative systems to detect and extinguish fires before water sprinklers activate. With guidance by the NFPA 2001 standard, data centers may use clean agent and inert gas systems to suppress fires without damaging IT equipment. With guidance by the NFPA 750 standard, data centers may use a water mist system with high pressure to produce droplets that are less than 1000 microns in diameter.

Data Center Fire Safety Evaluation

Companies should evaluate their fire safety measures regularly to ensure that they meet NFPA standards. It’s essential that all server rooms, equipment, and potential hazards are checked properly. For data centers with inefficient workforce or limited resources, this may be a difficult feat, important factors may get overlooked.

Fire Safety Experts at Rahi

Rahi’s team of data center fire safety experts have designed solutions in jurisdictions with some of the strictest fire protection standards. We have even partnered with Enconnex to develop an aisle containment system which ensures that sprinkler systems are not blocked by roof panels.

Rahi will do an in-depth evaluation of your current fire suppression system and explain all of your safety options. We will develop a strategy that will meet all NFPA requirements and fulfill your business continuity objectives. Contact us today to see how we can optimize your data center safety.


  • Bill has been in the IT industry for nearly 30 years. For the past 20 years, he has been specializing in data center operations, including presales and engineering. In particular, Bill has spent the last 12 years focusing on data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and other monitoring-related technologies.

, Solutions Architect

DC Infrastructure
Apr 12,2023
Increasing Power Densities Call for a New Approach to Data Center Design

For years, data center power and cooling requirements remained relatively stable, enabling organizations to plan for...

DC Infrastructure
Mar 09,2023
How Hyperscale Data Centers Address Changing Demands

Money, identities, books, art, movies, appliances, medical devices, automobiles… it seems as though there’s a...

DC Infrastructure
Feb 22,2023
Overcome These Top 5 Challenges as a Data Center Manager

Data centers are experiencing rapid growth to meet the burgeoning demand for processing power and storage capacity....

DC Infrastructure
Jan 25,2023
The DCIM Evolution

Once thought to be “nice to haves”, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools have become essential to...

DC Infrastructure
Jan 05,2023
Exploring the Various Data Center Models

Although businesses continue to migrate more applications and services to the cloud, most also need to maintain a...

DC Infrastructure
Dec 28,2022
The Benefits of Combining Managed Services and Colocation

As the costs of building and maintaining an on-premises data center continue to escalate, more and more organizations...

DC Infrastructure
Dec 21,2022
Micro Data Centers Overcome the Complexity of Data Center Build-Outs

Traditionally, organizations build data centers from the ground up by installing cabinets and racks and then adding...

DC Infrastructure
Oct 27,2022
Enhancing Business Resilience with Hyperconverged Infrastructure

Unplanned network outages due to natural disasters, system failures, cyberthreats, or human error are on the rise,...

DC Infrastructure
Sep 28,2022
Rahi Systems and Daxten Enable Data Centre Staff To Easily Lift Heavy Loads

Fremont, Calif. — June 22, 2017 — Rahi Systems announced today a partner agreement with Daxten, a leading...

DC Infrastructure
Aug 24,2022
Weighing the Alternatives to an On-Premise Data Center Refresh

Despite predictions of its impending demise, the U.S. on-premise data center market remains healthy. More than half of...

DC Infrastructure
Aug 17,2022
The Growing Importance of Physical Security in the Data Center

While most discussions of IT security focus on logical controls, protection of the physical data center infrastructure...

DC Infrastructure
Jul 29,2022
Does Your CI/CD Pipeline Support Modernization Efforts?

Outdated or obsolete applications make up nearly a third of the typical organization’s software portfolio,...

DC Infrastructure
Jun 15,2022
The Benefits of Remote Power Panels and Busways in Today’s Data Center

Traditionally, data centers have had power distribution systems purpose-built by electricians. However, custom...

DC Infrastructure
Jun 01,2022
7 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Colocation Providers

More and more organizations are choosing to get out of the data center business and partner with a colocation provider...

DC Infrastructure
Mar 30,2022
A Cost-Efficient, Time-Saving Method to Capture Power Monitoring Data

Power Usage in Data Centers Data Center power consumption has long been a concern of budget-conscious IT managers....

DC Infrastructure
Feb 23,2022
Taking Advantage of the Return-to-Office for IT Upgrades

Most organizations had to rush to shift to work-from-home models. Now, they’re taking a more strategic approach to...

DC Infrastructure
Oct 20,2021
How can a Workspace Utilization Analysis Enable a Safe Return to Work and Hybrid Work Model?

Why is Workspace Utilization Analysis more important now than ever before? Organizations need to understand how many...

Get in touch with our experts for a free 30-minute strategy

Let our experts design, develop, deploy and manage your requirements while you focus on what's important for your business

Book a Consultation
error: Content is protected !!