Last week an earthquake hit towns near Leighton Buzzard. Rooms shook and residents were fearful. Turns out, the UK gets around 2 small earthquakes a year. But even a small earthquake can do some damage. And that got us thinking, isn’t it about time we talk about disaster proofing a server room. You never know when a fire, flood or quake could hit. So it’s best to be prepared.
And it goes without saying that you should have a disaster recovery plan in place. This plan will help your business resume operations as quickly as possible by coordinating a response. Always create, train and test any plan so your team is ready should the worst happen. However, there are some precautions you can take to minimise the impact of a natural disaster. We’ll talk through some of the key risks and how you can lessen the damage to your server room.
Obviously, water is not a natural choice here. It will cause just as much damage as the fire will. For electrical equipment, HFC 125 or FM-200 are better options. They can safely and quickly eliminate the fire with little damage to your systems. You can then have sprinklers as a last resort, but make sure that if they’re activated they cut off power first. That way you can limit the damage to your wider office.
Since we’re likely to see a couple each year in the UK, it’s important your valuable servers aren’t free rolling and free standing. You’ll want to bolt each cabinet to the floor, suspend them from the ceiling or install a seismic isolation floor. The latter option can be quite costly, so choose the correct precaution for your budget and the potential financial loss. Remember to secure all items within the server room so there’s no risk of flying objects.
Water is a big no-no for server rooms and you should have sensors to check for it. Your first prevention step is to have your server out of the basement and on a higher floor for less risk. Choose a room with no pipes in the wall (if you can) and none in the ceiling. You can also invest in a turtle shell to protect from leaks. Obviously, your racks should be raised off the floor and you should never have carpet in your server room due to static and absorption.
You’ll need two things to ride out power cuts: an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and a petrol generator. The UPS will provide you enough time to get everything turned off safety in the case of short cuts. And the generator can be used indefinitely to maintain operations in case of long outages. You’ll want to include protocols for UPS and generator use in your disaster recovery plans so your team knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Every year, businesses are impacted by natural disasters. The best way to limit your exposure is to be prepared. If you’d like to talk about your business continuity, our helpful team is ready to assist.