Disaster Averted through Direct Digital's investment in Disaster Recovery Technology

April 16, 2019


Investment in Technology has always been a priority for Direct Digital. The company operates an in-house data centre, at the centre of supporting its 2,500 systems across the globe. Continual improvement and investment into the technology we use, enables us to stay at the forefront of our Industry.


With a specific focus on improving our Disaster Recovery Policies, primarily concentrating on how quickly we could recover following any kind of disaster. In August we made a significant investment into Fire suppression technology, Fike FM200 using HFC-227ea.  The system selected was a fully automated fire suppression system, which would mean that if our office was closed for the evening, it would not be reliant on human intervention for the system to work. The Fire suppression was linked to the buildings fire management system, which already had automatic links to the fire brigade.


In early December, our state-of-the-art fire suppression system entered pre-alarm, followed shortly by the buildings fire alarm. Steve, Head of IT at Direct Digital, lead a full evacuation while Shabbir, Direct Digital’s IT Infrastructure Manager, checked the fire panel to establish the cause.


An electrical fire in the comm’s room was identified by the fire panel. The new fire suppression system automatically sends a control signal to alert the UPS systems to begin shutting down the infrastructure as a precaution. Shortly afterwards The Fire suppression system went into full alarm discharging the HFC-227ea agent which distinguished the fire. The agent completely dissipates, leaving no trace on any of the sensitive IT equipment in the Server Room. This means there is no downtime cleaning up the room for operation.



Shortly after the fire suppression discharge four fire engines arrived to check over the building. After the full investigation by the Fire Brigade, they confirmed there was no longer any danger and that the Sophisticated Disaster Recovery systems had prevented further damage happening to the building or its systems. A series of further in-depth investigations by various experts was then conducted to give us the all clear Time was given for the extraction systems to clear the Server room of any remaining suppression system agents (HFC-227ea) before the UPS and VMware servers were powered back on.


With the full system restored and the building cleared of all danger, our teams were able to enter back into the building and return to work. The whole incident from initial pre-alarm to fully operational Direct Digital’s IT & Infrastructure Team completed disaster recovery in less than 2 hours. Giving an impressive ROI on its recent Disaster Recovery Improvements


Steve - Head of IT said: “You hope you will never need to use it, but we invested heavily into Disaster Recovery measures including an impressive FM200 Fire Suppression system ensuring should the worst happen such as an electrical fire we could recover quickly and without risk to the rest of the building or its staff. Paramount to the success of our time to recover was my team of highly skilled and proactive Technicians who took charge on the day and helped clear the building along with containing any risk to our systems. I am very pleased to say that even though we did have to power down our systems for just under 2 hours, this did not affect our customers or our network “


As a company we are committed, to investing in our people and technology. We are pleased to say that this incident was the first in our nearly 20 years of trading and it’s thanks to Steve and his team that a full-scale building fire was averted.


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