Saudi Arabia: Expanding Data Centre Reach & Fire Safety

Fire safety in data centres
A Saudi Arabian report on data centre fire detection shows environmentally-friendly suppression agents & the integration of AI are keeping centres safe

The global data centre market is seeing rapid growth due to rising demands. For those in a geographically strategic location, there are opportunities. For Saudi Arabia, it is an attractive hub for data centres by serving as a bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Several companies run data centres in Saudi Arabia, such as STC (Saudi Telecom Company), Mobily and Gulf Data Hub, alongside international cloud service providers including Microsoft, Oracle and Alibaba Cloud.

Saudi Arabia’s expansion is being supported by government initiatives, like Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and strengthen the bonds with neighbouring countries.

“The Ministry is directing the development and construction of mega data centres to increase the adoption and maturity of cloud-enabled services for digital services, games, e-sports, online broadcasting services, content service operators and other digital platforms and their localisation,” said Bassam Al-Bassam, The Deputy Minister for Telecommunications and Infrastructure. 

However, due to the Saudi Arabian climate, data centres must target energy efficiency and cooling solutions, while investing in advanced cooling technologies and renewable energy sources. Naturally, there's also an emphasis on installing advanced fire detection across these data facilities. 

In the new report ‘Saudi Arabia Data Center Fire Detection and Suppression Market, By Region, Competition, Forecast and Opportunities, 2019-2029F’ results show that the market was valued at US$56m in 2023. It is expected to grow with a CAGR of 11.4% by 2029. 

Here’s a closer look at how data centres are keeping themselves safe in the event of a fire.

AI, IoT and modular systems are on board to protect data centres from fire

Multi-sensor detection 

Sensor technologies, including smoke, heat and air sampling sensors provide early detection of potential fire incidents, with a high level of accuracy in identifying fire risks, while reducing false alarms and allowing operations to run as usual.

AI and Machine Learning

AI and machine learning capabilities in fire safety systems enable predictive analysis, making a way for early detection of potential fire incidents through pattern analysis and the tracking of anomalies in data centre environments. 

Eco-friendly suppression 

The report found that there was a clear shift towards deploying suppression agents that are environmentally friendly, non-toxic and leave no residue, matching Saudi Arabia’s approach towards lowering its environmental impact, while ensuring robust fire safety measures within data centres.

Remote monitoring

An emerging trend in the Saudi Arabian market is the emphasis on remote monitoring. Cloud-based platforms and IoT-enabled devices allow continuous monitoring of data centre environments, allowing operators to remotely view a systems status, receive alerts and take the necessary actions in response to potential fire incidents. 

Modular solutions

The report showed a growing demand for modular fire safety systems, which offer scalability, allowing data centre operators to adopt fire safety measures without disrupting ongoing operations. Such systems include notification alerts for on-site personnel and backup power.

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Data centre fire safety around the world

The global data centre sector is taking fire safety seriously. Over at Roxtec, cable solutions can work to better support the critical communications infrastructure contained within data centre facilities. The cables are not only built to withstand fire and water, but also extreme weather events and potential issues like rising costs. 

In 2023, engineering and consulting firm Introba released Hidden Emissions of the Cloud: Examining Embodied Carbon and Cost Impacts of Data Center Cooling Technologies. The report revealed that the embodied carbon of data centre buildings is much higher than a typical commercial office building and explored why companies need to take steps to address that. More than 99% of the MEP emissions come from mechanical and electrical components. Both plumbing and fire protection equipment emissions contribute less than 1%. 

In an exclusive interview, Graeme Leonard, EMEA Division Manager for Fire Protection at Victaulic, sat down with Data Centre Magazine to explain how fire protection can positively impact data centres. 

“Data centre owners, often global technology giants, seek standardised and adaptable fire protection solutions to maintain consistency across their operations. They also look for value for money, emphasising the importance of the lowest possible total cost of ownership,” he said. 

Read the full interview here



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