Throwback Thursday: But it WILL stay dry


Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

Electrical fire breaks out above the ceiling tiles in this server room, reports a pilot fish in the know.

“In the past, the room was a large mainframe room and was protected by a Halon fire-suppression system,” fish says. Nowadays the room just contains half a dozen racks of servers and network gear.

The Halon system is still working when that ceiling fire breaks out, but it isn’t triggered. Trouble is, there aren’t any smoke sensors above the ceiling tiles.

Fortunately, the fire smolders for quite a while, and thanks to an alert security guard, there’s just minor water and smoke damage to unoccupied areas of the big room.

Some time later, management decides to get rid of the Halon system and replace it with a sprinkler system.

But the server admins, remembering the water damage from the ceiling fire, are concerned about what will happen if the water hits their equipment next time.

And they come up with an idea. “They commissioned the Facilities team to install large, clear panels to be hung above the equipment racks, sort of like an indoor roof,” says fish. “The panels were hung at an angle that allowed the water to run off onto the floor behind the racks.”

As fish points out, the new fire-suppression system won’t kill any fire that starts in any of the equipment racks.

“That is, of course, until the flames get big enough and melt the plastic.”

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