David King from Future Facilities talks about the disconnect between fire prevention standards and data center design

In this interview David King, product manager at Future Facilities, talks about the challenges of fire suppression in data centers. When released under pressure, inert gas typically used for this purpose can reach speeds of 450 meters per second, creating a shockwave that can destroy fragile server drives – something that we have seen happening repeatedly over the past few years.

Using Future Facilities’ computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools, the company has attempted to simulate gas discharge when fire suppression nozzles are placed in less standard locations - for example under the raised floor tiles.

The good news is the location of the nozzles seems to have little impact on the effectiveness of fire suppression systems. The bad news – building standards might take years to catch up.

The conversation took place at the DCD Zettastructure show in London in November 2016.