Beware Mulch-Driven Downtime

A data center in Australia shut down for an hour on Monday after its VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) system detected smoke from a mulch fire near the facility.

Here's a new one: a data center downtime incident sparked by smoldering mulch. The Perth iX data center in western Australia shut down for an hour on Monday after its VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) system detected smoke in the data center.

"Our network operations employees spent some time trying to determine the source of the smoke but were unable to locate a fire within the centre," Beau Quarry, director of the business at Perth iX, told IT News. "Given that small amounts of smoke continued to be detected in the centre, it was determined that to safeguard employees and equipment that the centre should be manually shutdown."

The problem was traced to a smoldering mulch-filled garden bed alongside the outside wall of the facility. Police and fire officials declined to cite a cause. We're not sure what that hour of downtime cost the company, but it's a safe bet that it would cost-justify getting an outdoor ashtray (or at least a "butt can") in potential employee smoking areas.

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