Latest email states that they are "co-locating" at this data center. Anyone know the details of who "really" owns and runs the thing?
The data center is owned by Consonus, and according to forum posts by official Westhost employees on the Westhost forums the test of the fire suppression system was conducted by Consonus, not Westhost. It seems Westhost was already planning to leave this data center sooner or later because it only contained their older servers and newer servers have been placed in other data centers in the past.
The fire suppression system used Inergen, a gas containing the three inert gases Nitrogen, Argon and Carbondioxide. Although everyone expected that these three inert gases have no influences on computer equipment and are therefore better than other fire suppression systems including Halon gases, it seems that there have been reports in the past that the release of Inergen can cause computer equipment to fail but real proof of that claim fails.
This kind of fire suppressing system is present in many--if not most--data centers. That it happened at Westhost seems just to be a case of bad luck. It could--and can--happen in other data centers of other providers.