How to weather-proof a data centre?

When selecting a datacentre, there’re several critical decisions to take following numerous situations. While the facility’s location is among the most important factor here, most of the corporations usually overlook essential details linked with this. That includes the risk and impact of local climate on datacentre operations.

A study concluded that extreme weather contributes to more than 10 per cent outages of unplanned facilities thereby demonstrating the importance of a comprehensive and carefully strategized disaster recovery plan. When looking for a robust and leading datacentre, it’s essential for the facility to have specific safeguards in effect to prevent damage and service outages in the long run.

A well-defined managed disaster recovery plan for datacentres not only consider the basic security but safety measures taken against natural calamities such as floods, tornadoes, storms, torrential rain and snow for instance. There’re a few key strategies owners of the facilities can optimise to ensure protection of workers, clients, equipment and critical data itself. Read on to know more!

Flood planning
Citing an example of the US, the Federal Emergency Management Association reported above 700 severe flooding cases since 1953 with certain regions being more susceptible to natural disasters. While severe rain and storm events cause flood to a particular location, datacentres build in the zones must be extra careful and make sure the facility has all what it takes to counter the devastation. The best bet here is flood map and hazard information available at hand to help identify areas at a greater risk from flooding.

Earthquake safety standards
While flood safety is a major component of a disaster recovery plan, there has to be a system or likewise strategies to deal with earthquakes. Such incidents cause considerable devastation especially when facilities are built upon dwindling foundations and substandard construction material.

Although earthquake related catastrophes to datacentres have been rare, expect the unexpected at any time due to frequent change in Earth’s climate and come prepared for such a thing. While precautionary measures are extremely important for earthquake prone regions, a comprehensive safety plan should encompass even those areas where such incidents are less likely to occur.

Build up the facilities according to the seismic zone-rated standards and materials. Include rollers and mounts in the mechanical system to make sure physical equipment remains intact and work operations remain streamlined even after an earthquake incidence.

Fire security
Fire outbreaks due to various reasons are second most important disasters and can take place at any location, anytime. While fire safety is important for every facility, this goes double for datacentres due to tons of expensive hardware and critical information within them. Besides additional coverings and safety measurements for electrical systems, modern-day data centres must be equipped with industry-grade fire-protected walls. The material used during construction helps in preventing flames from spreading thereby absorbing heat and flame.

Severe storm protection
Severe storms fall under the category of most common disaster that has risen above 800 during the last 100 years. Severe storms spawn many different natural calamities including torrential rain, hail and snowstorm, flooding, hurricane and tornadoes depending on geographical location. With datacentres, all such occurrences cause massive service and power outages.

This is the reason businesses must seek a datacentre that follows proper backup and safety protocol to streamline electrical and network connection. Installation of an industry-grade generator is thereby important in case of massive electricity breakdown and must be included in a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for such facilities.

Building & construction standards
With all the floods, fires, storms and earthquake, construction material used within the facility must be as per the building codes and standards applicable within the country or region. You might as well consider installing thick concrete foundation, dedicated map traps, bulletproof glass windows and rebar wall enforcements to ensure datacentre would stand firm in case of various natural calamities.

The above details illustrate basic elements of disaster recovery plan specific to datacentres.

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