Fire in a Google data center: avoid these tragedies

The news came out about another data center fire at Google. It should be noted that in two years, this is the second on the list.

The Google data center, victim of a fire

Google suffered an outage following the fire at one of its data centers. Although the infrastructure is now out of harm’s way, the company’s research sector has taken a big hit. We notice abnormal slowness in the results displayed by the search engine.

This disaster would be the result of the explosion of an electric arc. It happened in Iowa, inside a substation near the Council Bluffs data center. Among the electricians who worked there, three were seriously injured.

The lessons to be learned from this Google data center fire

Whether for collocated sites or not, fires spare no one. Any digital infrastructure can thus be exposed. This leads to the search for techniques to prevent or mitigate its impact on the Google data center, although this is not very common. According to the Uptime Institute, there are nearly 14 fires in just 6 yearswhich is apparently negligible when you count the 8,000 data centers that are spread around the world.

Despite this, all data center managers must realize that fire is indeed a threat to both a level 2, 3 or 4 Google data center. It becomes essential to ask whether we have, in this moment, of a solution for minimize risks as well as its potential effects on the installation.

Focus on the approach to apprehend fires

In order to address the impacts of fires, several options can be operated. First, there are the Extinction plan reviews and updates, reducing the risk of fires. This update should also consider recovery strategies after disaster. The goal is to provide a physical fort to the site to thwart fire damage. Interview facility and security operations managers is also recommended.

Paul Amico of Jensen Hughes brings us a more detailed overview of the situation. It thus supports the need for an in-depth fire risk assessment. This will identify “the part of your digital infrastructure that contributes the greatest business risk”. Note that this is the first source of ignition within a Google datacenter.

Data center fires in history

Lately, the news is flying about fires in data centers. For example, we can cite the case of OVH, which saw its infrastructure burn down in March 2021. The cause mentioned was “the lack of fire extinguishers and electrical cut-off systems”, resulting in the complete destruction of the company’s SBG2 building. According Stacy Black, these incidents can be managed by applying a few tricks such as correctly labeling your equipment, assigning a person where they should be. Moreover, we must not forget that money is not the only constraint for a datacenter. Such an endeavor requires strong IT leadership.

Leave a Comment