A New Way To Protect The Data Center

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Computer equipment leasing is so popular because the cost can be spread out over time, and by the time the lease term has expired the equipment is obsolete. It is now possible to lease a custom designed and installed fireproof modular server vault with the same fiscal advantages, except when the lease is completed the vault is owned by the client and the vault is just as valuable as when it was new. Perhaps even more valuable.

Firelock modular server vault with raised floor

A fire suppression system only protects against fires that start inside the server room area.

A new option for acquiring data center fire protection is now available. With the possible exception of the server racks themselves, all the components in the data center will eventually be replaced by new and more powerful equipment. That is why equipment leasing is so popular. When an IT equipment lease term is complete, the equipment has depreciated considerably. The leasing company picks up the old components so the lessee is not faced with the task of disposing of obsolete equipment with little or no resale value. Firelock® is now offering leasing options for their fireproof modular server vaults. Unlike IT equipment, however, when the lease is complete you own the vault and it is just as valuable as when it was new. In fact, it is likely to be even more valuable since the volume and value of the information protected within tends to increase over time.

Almost every data center is equipped with some kind of fire suppression system in the server room. But this gives a false sense of security. According to Todd Smith, Director of Marketing for Firelock®: "A fire suppression system only protects against fires that start inside the server room area." That leaves this critical area vulnerable to fires that start anywhere else in the building and burn their way into the server room. Water sprinklers are able to stop some fires from spreading, but there are too many examples of where they failed to ignore this risk. Mr. Smith goes on to say: "A sprinkler system malfunction may be the cause of failure, or maybe the intensity of the fire just overwhelms the water sprinklers." The only failsafe way to ensure the survival of mission critical information within the server room is to protect it with a Class 125 data vault.

To comply with NFPA 75 (the National Fire Protection Association's standard for protecting computer equipment and magnetic media) a Class 125 fireproof vault must be installed. This means the temperature inside the vault must remain below 125-degrees F. for the specified duration, even if temperatures reach 2,000-degrees F. outside the vault chamber. Firelock® builds fireproof Class 125-Two Hour, Three Hour, and Four Hour rated vaults. The duration of the rating depends upon the size of the vault. All components of Firelock® vaults, such as the doors, power and data cable penetrations, coolant line penetrations and damper assemblies, are Class 125-rated because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. They are equipped with automatic door closers to ensure the vault will be sealed if the building must be evacuated immediately. Firelock® server vaults can even be expanded or moved if needed. With the modular design the panels can be reused in a new configuration if the shape of the new server vault requires it. This is a key advantage of the modular server vault design.

If a major fire strikes the data center it is likely there will be damage to the support systems, such as power or cooling systems, that will require a backup site to get up and running again. The time it takes to move intact server racks to a new location and bringing them back online is typically just a few hours. When the server racks are destroyed, even if critical data has been backed up on tape, a bare metal restore could take days. This could be the difference between surviving the disaster with a brief downtime period or going out of business. At the very least the cost of days of downtime would be astronomical.

Several lease options are available, with various lengths and buyout options. This makes it much easier to work into budgets and purchasing protocols. Each vault is custom designed, manufactured and installed by Firelock® to fit each clients' exact size and configuration requirements. In five years there may be a new data center technology that makes everything on today's market obsolete. No matter how it is processed, the information assets hosted by this equipment will still be where the real value lies. And Firelock® vaults will still be the most secure way to protect this mission critical information.

FIRELOCK provides custom design expertise and manufactures and installs modular Server Vaults and record storage vaults in a variety of sizes, from small rooms up to 25,000 cu. ft. These vaults are designed to provide UL Class 125 fire protection, along with environmental controls for your critical or vital information assets. Lightweight, expandable panel systems are available to construct fire-safe and heat-safe vaults for the protection of IT infrastructure, magnetic media, micrographic media, and optical disks. The FIRELOCK vault is the highest rated fire protection storage environment for heat-sensitive processing equipment and computer media available in the industry. Our client list includes service organizations of all types and sizes from diverse industries, ranging from hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, to major financial houses and state and local government agencies. Information about FIRELOCK is available at http://www.servervaulting.com


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