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Keep rodents and squirrels out of your data centers

Avoid the frequent cause of outages.

Keep rodents and squirrels out of your data centers

Why is it crucial to make sure there are no small animals running around in vaults and trenches in your facilities? Because many of them have a preference for chewing and destroying cables. This causes costly outages and calls for urgent repair. There are, in fact, thousands of documented cases around the world.

The common issue is, for example, being described in news articles by Sebastian Moss and Max Smolaks on Data Centre Dynamics site datacenterdynamics.com. You can read about a rodent in West Auckland, New Zealand, that not only cut a cable but also cut off more than 1,000 broadband users from the Internet for more than 24 hours. A technician had to work until two in the morning to re-splice the fiber.

Continuous challenge

In the articles on datacenterdynamics.com, you can also read about the difficulties for data center owners to efficiently protect critical communication infrastructure from sharp teeth and long claws. They can use spare generators and redundant cooling systems to ensure uninterruptible operations, but they still have huge problems with rodents, squirrels and other small animals that chew through cables and climb into vital equipment.

Mapping outages

In order to demonstrate the frequency and highlight the extent of this pain in comparison to the number of known human attacks against physical infrastructure, the cyber security researcher Cris “Space Rouge” Thomas created a satirical website, CyberSquirrel1.com with a CyberSquirrel Tracking Map for presenting the number of documented and confirmed power outages caused by animals. The data collected by the project between 2013 and 2019 show that “agents”, in the form of squirrels, birds, rats and so on, were responsible for thousands of “successful” attacks against physical infrastructure.

Enemy No. 1

The far worst enemies seem to be squirrels, with 1,252 successful attacks, followed by birds (639), snakes (117), raccoons (115) and rats (53). According to Wikipedia, the conclusion of the CyberSquirrel1 project was that damage due to cyberwarfare was tiny compared to the cyber-threat caused by animals.

How to protect

As data center owner or operator, you need to ensure operational reliability. Fortunately, there is a way of ensuring protection against rats, rodents and other small animals. You should seal all cable and pipe entries with mechanical solutions that are developed and tested for that purpose. There are modern cable and pipe transits that provide excellent proven protection not only against fire, gas and water ingress, but also function as a strong and reliable barrier against pests. If you want to learn more about the possibilities to ensure safety and operational reliability and thereby avoid costly outages and urgent repair work, you should move on to the Roxtec web page on protection of data centers and server halls.

Read also this new story on animal mitigation in power substations.