Data Center Dynamics reported last week, Aruba, Italy’s largest web hosting data center, went down due to a fire in the UPS room involving the batteries.
“Battery fires happen,” said Uptime Institute Professional Services Consultant, Chris Brown. “Once the fire starts the battery can feed the fire until it exhausts its energy. More information on this particular incident would be needed to know if this was or was not an avoidable situation (i.e. if it was the result of a thermal runaway or some other issue). But thermal runaway would be the biggest concern I would have for a cause of a battery fire.”
There are ways to help avoid thermal runaway, according to Brown. Those would include but not be limited to keeping the batteries and charging means (UPS) in good condition and repaired, a battery monitoring system that monitors the cell temperature of each battery, and temperature compensated charging.
“Basically the best way to avoid battery issues is to stay on top of the preventative maintenance of the batteries and charging means. Regular preventative maintenance can spot problematic batteries or cells before they fail internally that can lead to a thermal runaway as well as allow technicians to adjust charging voltage and current to ensure the batteries are not overcharged,” Brown said. “Batteries are combustible there is always a risk of fire from batteries. And that risk should drive where batteries are placed and the type of fire extinguishing means used for the room.”
Terral Altom, Uptime Institute Professional Services consultant said batteries can and often do build up heat and hydrogen, and under the right circumstances, a fire can erupt. “The trouble with wet cell batteries is that they have plastic jars, and these jars are highly combustible.”
Some insurance underwriters require a sprinkler system in battery rooms. In an anecdotal account told to Altom, a flooded cell battery room caught fire, and the gaseous suppression system discharged. The smoldering battery jars reignited after the suppressant gas dissipated. The data center team then had to call the fire department, and by the time they got there, it took 45 minutes to extinguish the fire. Due to smoke and water damage, much more than the battery rooms were damaged.
Uptime Institute today published new research Developing a Digital Infrastructure Roadmap for Data Center Virtualization. This publication provides cost modeling for various approaches to server virtualization.
The modeling is based on the business requirements of an actual client and utilizes actual IT hardware profiles and typical growth scenarios. This publication provides meaningful analysis and commentary for any company considering virtualization as a means to manage their IT infrastructure and associated data center facility.
Download is free for members. Sign up today.
Uptime Institute Digital Infrastructure Services Consultant Amy Spellmann lays out the argument that cloud computing providers can be more energy efficient than in-house data centers. In this video, Spellmann lays out the technologies and operations strategies that allow public cloud providers to avoid energy waste plaguing other data center operators.
Spellmann will present on this topic at Uptime Symposium, May 9-12 in Santa Clara, Calif. Register today.
SearchDataCenter.com just ran an article featuring its Data Center Advisory board, featuring data center thought leaders and advice from the trenches about setting aside time for strategic planning.
From Uptime Institute’s contribution to the article: So many managers are locked into the day-to-day firefighting; they never get out of the reactionary mode to plan ahead. The consequences can be dire. I wouldn’t want to be the manager who has to go to the executive team to explain why a data center ran out of capacity sooner than expected. But even if you’re not at risk of running out of capacity — just the day-to-day waste that comes from not aligning data center and business needs can really eat at your company’s bottom line.
Is your organization at risk of running out of data center capacity? Are you considering moving compute loads to the cloud, increasing virtualization investments, evaluating colocation options or planning a new data center? Are you responsible to deliver this message and formulate a strategic plan? These aren’t the kinds of projects you can handle if you don’t make time for formal strategic planning across all of the silos in the organization, from server and storage management to the facilities team.
Uptime Institute Professional Services started engaging clients recently to sit these different parties down in the same room to create a Digital Infrastructure Roadmap, which is a way to optimize your IT cap-ex and op-ex investment with input from all of the stakeholders in the data center.
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