An effective fire suppression plan for the data center should be at the top of any facility manager’s priority list. In the event of such a calamity, the first priority is ensuring the safety of employees, followed by protecting equipment so that is sustains minimum damage.
A clean agent system puts out a fire by removing heat, while an inert gas system deprives a fire of oxygen. But either alternative relies on correct programming of the fire alarm system, which must be tested on a regular basis to ensure it is in perfect working order. Halon alternatives must be stored, so facility managers need to plan for space requirements. Inert gas systems require more storage space. Also important is ensuring that rooms where equipment is housed are properly sealed and without extraneous holes so that fire suppressant can be contained.
Data centers also need a water system—either a pre-action system or conventional sprinklers. Either type can cause extensive damage to equipment, so it is preferable to put out the fire before it becomes necessary to release water. A double interact system uses a clean agent to put out a fire before a smoke head activates a sprinkler system. A pre-action sprinkler system can require that two smoke detectors go off in two different zones before a deluge is released. In planning for fire suppression, facility managers must begin by deciding what would constitute acceptable loss and then determine whether they can afford to rely solely on sprinklers.
Go here for more information on planning for effective fire suppression in the data center.