A novel risk assessment approach for data center structures

Kubilay Cicek*, Ali Sarı

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Previous earthquakes show that, structural safety evaluations should include the evaluation of nonstructural components. Failure of nonstructural components can affect the operational capacity of critical facilities, such as hospitals and fire stations, which can cause an increase in number of deaths. Additionally, failure of nonstructural components may result in economic, architectural, and historical losses of community. Accelerations and random vibrations must be under the predefined limitations in structures with high technological equipment, data centers in this case. Failure of server equipment and anchored server racks are investigated in this study. A probabilistic study is completed for a low-rise rigid sample structure. The structure is investigated in two versions, (i) conventional fixed-based structure and (ii) with a base isolation system. Seismic hazard assessment is completed for the selected site. Monte Carlo simulations are generated with selected parameters. Uncertainties in both structural parameters and mechanical properties of isolation system are included in simulations. Anchorage failure and vibration failures are investigated. Different methods to generate fragility curves are used. The site-specific annual hazard curve is used to generate risk curves for two different structures. A risk matrix is proposed for the design of data centers. Results show that base isolation systems reduce the failure probability significantly in higher floors. It was also understood that, base isolation systems are highly sensitive to earthquake characteristics rather than variability in structural and mechanical properties, in terms of accelerations. Another outcome is that code-provided anchorage failure limitations are more vulnerable than the random vibration failure limitations of server equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-484
Number of pages14
JournalEarthquake and Structures
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. Techno-Press, Ltd.


The research described in this paper is part of the M.Sc. dissertation of the first writer and the second writer as advisor at the Istanbul Technical University, Turkey.

FundersFunder number
Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi


    • data center
    • nonstructural components
    • risk assessment
    • risk matrix
    • seismic demand


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