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Case Study: DARZ

Tailor-Made Fire Protection for High-Security Data Centre

The DARZ GmbH data centre is located in a former safe building. As a result, it has one of the highest structural security levels in Germany. The company has a high responsibility to ensure that data centre capacities are available 24/7. Therefore, a fire protection concept was required that avoids risks inside. The fire protection should detect a possible fire as early as possible in order to be able to act promptly.

Certified Fire Protection System for More Safety in the Data Centre

About the Project

The fire protection of the data centre requires an individual protection concept that is adapted to the structural conditions. For optimum protection in the event of a fire, WAGNER installs systems for fire detection, extinguishing and active fire prevention. The interaction of these systems offers the customer DARZ a holistic fire protection solution. WAGNER developed special extinguishing nozzles for the sensitive IT hardware to reduce the sound pressure. This can otherwise cause damage to the hard drives.

About the Customer

DARZ GmbH has been offering full-service provider colocation / housing, managed services and other data centre services since 2010. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the world's largest Internet exchange node: DE-CIX in Frankfurt am Main.

Risk Analysis

  • Fire loads
    Fire hazards arise from the high energy density, the many electrical components and the close arrangement of server racks.
  • Technical defects
    Defective devices and components as well as overloaded power supplies can start a fire.
  • Errors and defects
    Errors during installation (e.g. loose connections, clamp connections) and also negligent behaviour of the personnel can cause fires.
  • Heat
    Despite a system for cooling the IT infrastructure, the heat emitted by IT racks is still very high.

Protection Goals

  • 24/7 availability
    Server downtime due to fire and fire protection must be prevented in order to avoid consequential damage such as data loss.
  • Protection of IT hardware
    Fire damage to IT hardware is to be prevented. Consequential damage due to the sound pressure of the gas extinguishing entry is also to be avoided.
  • Quick deletion
    The extinguishing device shall be effective immediately in case of fire.

Sustainable Fire Protection Systems from a Single Source

A FirExting® gas extinguishing system from WAGNER with nitrogen as the inert gas was chosen for the Darmstadt data centre. The gaseous extinguishing agent can fight a fire efficiently and without leaving any residue. The nitrogen required for possible extinguishing is stored in extinguishing agent containers and fed into the data centre as required. In combination with the highly sensitive TITANUS® air sampling smoke detection system for fire detection and supplementary point detectors, fires can be detected early and fought quickly.

When using conventional nitrogen extinguishing systems, the extinguishing gas flows into the area to be protected at high pressure. This is necessary to extinguish the fire effectively and safely in the shortest possible time. However, the sound pressure released during the extinguishing process generated vibrations that caused damage to the noise-sensitive hardware. Data damage or even losses were the result. WAGNER has developed special silencers to protect servers and data during deletion in the data centre: FirExting® SILENT. The silencers are mounted on the extinguishing nozzles so that the sound pressure is reduced.

Another fire protection solution for DARZ is gas extinguishing via soft flooding. To minimise pressure peaks at the beginning of the extinguishing process, flow regulators were mounted on the extinguishing agent tanks. This soft flooding device means that only one opening is required as pressure relief for the extinguishing area in the first basement to the outside. This keeps the structural safety as intact as possible.

The use of a gas extinguishing system is not possible due to the required pressure relief areas for the vault, as this is hermetically sealed according to its original purpose. Therefore, the active fire prevention system OxyReduct® is used here by means of oxygen reduction. Due to the oxygen content in the atmosphere of the vault being continuously reduced to 19.5 % by volume, the ignition limit of typical IT materials is undercut and a fire can no longer develop or spread. 

Customer Benefits

  • VdS certified
    The fire protection solution from WAGNER has VdS recognition and thus offers certified safety.
  • Effective
    Early alarming with air sampling smoke detectors in combination with the gas extinguishing system enables immediate reaction in case of emergency.
  • Efficient
    Energy-saving fire protection systems ensure low operating costs.
  • No power cut
    For the fire protection solution, de-energising is not necessary.

Further Information

The data centre is located in the former vault building of the Hessische Landesbank. Therefore, the physical security of the building is very high with metre-thick walls, bullet-proof bulletproof glass panes as well as the earthquake and explosion-proof vault area. DARZ GmbH invested in comprehensive conversion measures in the form of installing new redundant building technology as well as a high-quality data centre infrastructure (TÜV Level III+/Trier 3+).

The Darmstadt data centre is equipped with indirectly free and thus particularly environmentally friendly cooling. The electricity used to operate the data centre is ecological. Various processes and trades of the DARZ are designed for environmental compatibility and energy saving. For this reason, the data centre received the German Data Centre Award (DRZP) in 2015 in the category "Overall Energy Efficiency in the Data Centre".

Customer Testimonial

Sergey Mirochnik, Founder and Managing Director DARZ GmbH

Our concept is to avoid dangers before they arise. This is also associated with enormous costs. However, we are convinced that our customers appreciate our efforts and investments in these dangerous times, especially for data.

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