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Mitigating fire risks in modern data centers

Recognizing and mitigating fire risks

With the growing reliance on processing of data, reliability has taken center stage. Considering high heat densities coupled with an abundant source of fuel and the potential that something can go wrong in these critical environments, fire protection is an essential element of risk mitigation. The concept should be comprehensive to protect life, assets and continuity of services.

Data centers are particularly prone to fire, given the high energy density and the nature of the materials present. The most common instigator of fire events in data center facilities are building systems. This includes but is not limited to electrical and mechanical systems. Bad housekeeping practices can also be a contributor.

To address the unique and dynamic challenges a risk-based integrated performance solution is essential for mitigating fire risks.

Where are the risks?

Data centers are comprised of many inter-dependent adjacencies, each contributing to the operational continuity of the facility. An event in any part of the facility can affect uptime objectives. A good design considers a holistic approach applying protection elements appropriate to the hazard.

White space / Data hall:

  • High energy densities
  • Combustible materials
  • Hot spots, due to inadequate cooling
  • Manufacturing defects, mechanical damage, component degradation, and malfunctions
  • High air movement
  • Dark centers with limited staff to respond early on to developing events

Technical support areas:

  • Overheating of technical equipment
  • Short circuits
  • Minor fires causing serious damage due to loss of control

Emergency power systems:

  • Flammable electrolytes, oils, and carbon-based fuels
  • Lubricating oil escaping through leaks
  • Friction from mechanical systems

Administrative spaces:

  • Defects in electrical device, e.g. computers, fans, etc.
  • Short circuits in automatic (vending) machines, or kitchen fire

Areas of a data center (simplified)



Fire protection solutions for data centers

Hyperscale | (Wholesale) Colocation | Enterprise | Telecom / Edge

At Viking, our mission is to provide expertise and support from the start of your data center project, so to ensure that your data center runs without unnecessary interruption caused by fire.

We offer a recognized and complete line-up of leading technologies trusted by data centers around the world, conveniently accessible anywhere your projects take you.

We understand that the adequate fire protection solution depends on several factors, for example the data center type. An enterprise type with a hot aisle containment concept can apply different protection methods compared to a hyperscale noncompartimentalized hard floor data center.

Benefits of water mist systems for data centers

  • Efficient use of water compared to more traditional water-based systems
  • Reduced pipe diameters save time and cost during installation
  • Water supply footprint smaller than traditional sprinkler system supplies
  • Pre-action systems provide safety in the unlikely event of damage or accidental activation of the detection system
  • Lower flow of water from the discharge nozzle reduces the need for large amounts of stored water on site
  • Only the nozzles activated by the hot gases open, no complete flooding of the space

Effective fire protection with the right partners

Viking - your global fire protection partner with regional footprint - is uniquely equipped to provide the right solution, based on data center activity, operation and plant location.

Viking understands the challenges of modern data centres. Our partners, both local, independent fire contractors and the Global Engineering Support Services Center (GESSC), have specialized design & support engineers that have extensive experience in data center environments. Together, we will work jointly with you to tailor specific solutions, to meet every application challenge.

How Viking works with you

Viking is attentive to your data center requirements and proposes various suitable options in terms of fire protection solutions - you chose which route to go.

  • Viking works closely with you and other stakeholders in the development of project specifications.
  • Viking and its partners review design submittals as well as closeout submittals for compliance with specifications.
  • GESSC provides comprehensive design support services for global programs respecting local fire protection standards and life safety codes and rules. 
  • Viking can support you in selecting qualified, local fire contractors for bidding, designing, installing, commissioning and maintenance.
  • Viking supplies all required components to contractor. 
  • Viking’s solutions encompass a broad range of innovative and proven system components for water, water mist and gas extinguishing systems as well as fire detection systems.
  • Viking will go above and beyond of what you may expect from a global fire protection product manufacturer.
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