Los Alamos shuts down supercomputers as fire advances


In the case of wild fire activity, the data center would resort to a backup closed loop system. If smoke has infiltrated the building, the smoke detectors will shut down the air handling units.

Once the cooling systems are shut down "you are kind of done," said Vince Renaud, managing principal and vice president of the Uptime Institute. Meaning that once cooling systems turn off, the IT equipment will hit their temperature thresholds rather quickly. At that point, systems have to be shut down, he said.

Jeff Pederson, vice president of data recovery operations at Kroll Ontrack, whose work includes recovering data from damaged systems, said the threat of smoke is more of an issue for small businesses that aren't running traditional data centers with monitoring equipment.

Pederson said he sees problems in businesses and in homes with cigarette smokers, where the smoke affects performance and increases the likelihood of a physical crash.

But Burnett does expect to see more wildfires in Texas. He said he grew up in the country, on a cattle ranch out in south Texas, and sees the population getting closer to rural areas and places which don't have same firefighting equipment available in developed areas.