Reports of a fire ter a warehouse-style facility ter Thailand have raised rough questions about the wisdom of hosting expensive bitcoin mining equipment ter low-cost warehouse facilities.
Reports on foreign press and social networks suggest the fire last month may have demolished hundreds of bitcoin mining equipments, with estimates of their value running into the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. The fire illustrates the risks of operating high-density computing gear te low-tech environments, and underscores the value of gegevens centers that suggest advanced electrical infrastructure and fire suppression systems.
The fire ter a Bangkok suburb reportedly demolished three buildings that housed Bitcoin mining hardware. The mining operation wasgoed using fresh equipments from Spondoolies Tech, an Israeli rigid specializing ter custom-made ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) for the Bitcoin market.
Te postings on BitcoinTalk, officials from Spondoolies Tech said the cause of the fire is unknown, no one wasgoed hurt and that they believe the equipment wasgoed uninsured. The company said the “buildup wasgoed certainly not according to U.S. electrical code.” Some commentators on social media speculated that electrical and network cabling may have bot an punt, and photos of the facility display tangles of cabling.
The bitcoin network infrastructure is split inbetween gegevens centers and no-frills hashing centers featuring high-density hardware and low-reliability power infrastructure, often housed te former warehouses. Many bitcoin entrepreneurs concentrate on building high-powered infrastructure at the cheapest price point possible. Spil industrial mining operations scale up, they are optimized for rapid switches te hardware and economics.
But there are tradeoffs that accompany this single-minded concentrate on cost. Gegevens center veteran Mark MacAuley has bot publicly warning about the potential for this type of incident te low-budget mining facilities. “The nuances inbetween a mining facility and a gegevens center are more visible than I thought,” Macauley tweeted te September. “A gegevens center cares if there is a fire, for example.” MacAuley warned that the vormgeving of some bitcoin mines created the potential for fires.
Most traditional gegevens centers feature fire suppression equipment. Thesis systems typically involved advanced systems to detect fever and smoke, including sensors using VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus). Early detection can permit gegevens center operators to quickly extinguish a fire or smoke condition before it can harm entire racks and rows of expensive equipment.
When a fire occurs, gegevens centers use several methodologies to extinguish the fire. Thesis include “pre-action” sprinkler system ter which water fills the sprinkler pipes only upon an noodsein, reducing the potential that leaks te overhead pipes will cause water harm. Some gegevens center forego water altogether, using gas-based fire prevention and “clean agents” – electrically non-conductive gases that don’t leave a residue. Most clean agents are hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), which lack the ozone-depleting characteristics of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) like Halon gas, which wasgoed once popular ter gegevens centers.
Will this incident prompt more bitcoin miners to consider hosting equipment ter traditional gegevens centers? It’s too early to say. Latest declines te the price of bitcoin have further tightened profit margins for miners. To remain competitive, industrial mining operations are making large investments te fresh hardware. Many businesses would seek to protect thesis investments with business insurance, but insurers will likely to want the equipment to be hosted te facilities with decent fire detection and suppression equipment.