Could Your Servers Survive an Earthquake?

09/04/2014 |

Tests show the effectiveness of damage-mitigation measures on technology


From installation and maintenance to their high power usage, computer servers come with major costs – so how do you protect your investment from dangers such as earthquakes? Tests performed at the University of Buffalo show that even though the risks to servers is significant in the event of seismic activity, the loss of functionality can be limited if servers are protected correctly. While many new structures in areas where seismic activity is common are designed with overall protection, the tests were designed to find a solution to help existing buildings protect sensitive equipment. 

By subjecting 40 computer servers to a variety of three-dimensional ground motions, the tests confirmed that both globally and locally installed isolation systems and damping systems can be effective at mitigating earthquake damage. Isolation systems set sensitive equipment on top of a vibration-absorbing base, while damping uses internal devices that absorb energy to protect crucial system components in the event of an earthquake. 

"The loss of functionality of essential equipment and components can have a disastrous impact. We can limit these sorts of equipment losses by improving their seismic performance," says Claudia Marin-Artieda, head researcher on the project. You can see a video of the tests being performed here

It's National Preparedness Month! Be ready for earthquakes by taking a look at FEMA's new guide to help Reduce Nonstructural Earthquake Damage Risks

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