NYSE Recovers From Fire at NJ Data Center

The New York Stock Exchange says its computer system have recovered from a small fire at its data center in Mahwah, New Jersey, which briefly interrupted connectivity for some customers.

Rich Miller

October 10, 2011

2 Min Read
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The long main hallway of the NYSE Euronext data center provides a sense of the immense scale of the 400,000 square foot facility in New Jersey. (Photo: Rich Miller)

The New York Stock Exchange says it expects a normal trading day after a small fire Sunday at its data center in Mahwah, New Jersey, which supports computer systems that are critical to the U.S. financial markets. The NYSE says the incident briefly interrupted connectivity for some customers, but should have no impact on its trading operations for Monday.

"On Sunday, there was an isolated electrical fire that was quickly extinguished within a single computer cabinet at our Mahwah data center," the NYSE said in a statement. "The incident, which resulted in no injuries, affected communications connectivity to 58 customers who have been notified that we are testing all systems and expect completely normal operations for Monday's market open."

The 400,000 square foot data center in Mahwah serves as the nerve center for the NYSE”s electronic trading operations. The facility is staffed around the clock by employees trained to respond to electrical fires and other emergencies. Like most major data centers, the NYSE facility has systems that monitor temperature in data halls and provide alerts in the event of sudden changes.  Data centers also are equipped with sensitive fire detection systems triggered by the presence of smoke or heat, which tie into fire suppression systems.

The NYSE didn't provide details on how the fire was extinguished, but it appears that the event was quickly contained.

"We are grateful for the quick and thorough response by the Mahwah Fire and Police Departments as well as our Mahwah data center staff," the exchange said.

Fires within data centers can cause major downtime for customers, as seen in 2009 outages at Fisher Plaza and 151 Front Street. That's not always the case, as seen in a 2010 incident at Terremark's NAP of the Capital Region in Virgina in which a fire broke out in one of the data center electrical rooms, but the facility remained online throughout the entire event,  with no downtime for customers.

Fortunately, the event at the NYSE was small. Another factor protecting modern data center facilities is the use of "pod" designs that segment the power and cooling systems to limit the impact of electrical events. The Mahwah facility includes three data center pods. Each is approximately 20,000 square feet, and has dedicated power and cooling systems so that a failure in one pod won’t affect operations of the other data halls.

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