Lightning strikes can cause data center failures. But, as any certified fiber optic technician will attest, protecting data centers from lightning strikes is not an easy job. There are always new updates and regulations. However, it all boils down to the skills of an experienced professional to create a protection system that ensures these priorities:
- The safety of personnel;
- Protection of power supply lines from damage;
- Safeguarding of data processing; and
- Infrastructure protection.
To summarize, data centers need to have high systems availability with a total of 4 minutes downtime annually, which can only be done with a spare power supply from the energy source. To lessen the risk of power failure they need to have two medium-voltage sources, one of which is the spare.
All of these power sources create a path by which the destructive power of lightning can be routed. Most of the havoc caused by lightning strikes is due to electrical and electronic components, through lightning induced overloading of power on the lines that enter the infrastructure. Also, anything made of metal such as pipes can cause surges as well.
Learn How to Protect Data
Coaxial cable connections must be safeguarded against lightning, and must be done in accord to the types of signals and equipment used. Aside from these, other equipment such as cameras, and security systems should also be safeguarded from surges. Grounding kits may be utilized to lessen over voltage from all coaxial cables used in antennas and outdoor CCTV cameras. Type 2 surge arresters must be used for extremely sensitive equipment, which are linked to multi-core cables.
Prioritize the Safety of People and Buildings
Elevated areas, such as the tip of antennas or towers used in communications, have the highest chance of being hit by lightning. A lightning current could flow to the ground because of conductive elements, such as the iron used as foundation for concrete, metal structures or other things with metal in them. To safeguard for lightning, critical attention must be given to connect these things to the ground through the use of external conductors.
In the absence of protection measures, anyone within a proximity of 3 meters are at risk. This danger zone is has a height of around 3 meters, like for example if someone is on the roof.
Install a Thunderstorm Detection System
Installing a thunderstorm detection system, which separates the electrical network by transferring power from the grid supply to a generating set, is a must. In the absence of an external lightning protection, electricity from lightning will flow in all directions, which may cause possible injury to people as well as damage to equipment and infrastructure.
Using a lightning protection system in the form of a cage with shock points or utilizing an early streamer air terminal is recommended. This must give you a protection radius that envelops the entire surface of the infrastructure, as well as other crucial zones, such as nearby buildings, generators and cooling equipment.