Keep it Clean, Folks

Do you get excited when you think about data center cleaning? You do? OK, sit down there, class clown. We’ve heard enough cracks from you. Truth is, keeping your data center or colocation clean is one of those things that you know you need to do, but it’s hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for the task.

What will it cost to clean my data center? How does cleaning a colocation differ from an on-premise cleaning job? So many questions swirl around this topic, but it’s important to know that a full data center cleaning job is doable, and you have a couple of choices when it comes time to clean up: you can take the DIY route or bring on a team of pros to help out with the job.

Why Is Data Center Cleaning Important?

First off, it’s important to understand just why you need a clean data center or colocation. With so much equipment packed tightly into such a small space, your data center is home to many hidden nooks and crannies. This, combined with your CRAC and your raised floor makes for the perfect place for contaminants to set up camp and wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure. Cooling systems can bring in particles through the air ducts, while visiting workers can leave debris, zinc whiskers and ferrous metals that will destroy a server or storage device in no time.

Think size doesn’t matter? Even a speck of debris the size of 0.00001 inches can spell disaster. It’s easy to ignore this problem because it has a slow, creeping effect. Once a piece of equipment fails, it’s impossible to pinpoint the offending contaminant. However, regular and thorough data center cleaning can help mitigate these minuscule marauders. If you run an on-premise data center, you likely have a good understanding of what’s needed to maintain a clean facility. But if you’re still uncertain, there’s a free tool to help you get a sense of just how clean your data center really is. Check out this data center cleaning checklist for a quick and handy guide to a clean, healthy facility.

Colocation Cleaning

If you operate in a colocation, there are several additional concerns to keep in mind. Namely, when you sign a colo lease, is cleaning on you or the facility? More than likely, it’s on you, so you’ll need a plan to keep things tidy. One downside to operating in a colo is the presence of neighbors, who you can’t always control. Is you cage sectioned off? Is the floor spotless when you bring in your equipment? How clean are your neighbors? If you end up with slobs for neighbors, all your hard work could be for nought. There’s also heat contamination to consider. If you’re running hot aisle containment and your neighbor goes with cold aisle containment, you’re defeating your own purpose.

Three Steps to a Cleaner Data Center

So, what’s a data center operator to do with all this information? As mentioned before, you have options. If you have a great in-house cleaning team, fantastic! You’re all set. But if you need some outside help, consider these three steps:  

  1. Learn: Visit Instor’s Data Center Cleaning Page to learn about the services we offer.
  2. Download: Check out our data center cleaning checklist here.
  3. Call: Contact us at 510.490.7475 or contact us online to see how we can help.

If you decide to let Instor help you out, we offer the following cleaning services for data centers and colocations:

  • Subfloor cleaning: Construction debris is meticulously removed by hand
  • Subfloor vacuuming: Triple-filtered HEPA/ULPA vacuums do the heavy lifting
  • Ceiling plenum cleaning: Preventing contaminants from entering cooling system
  • Overhead ceiling cleaning: Surfaces are vacuumed and wiped down carefully
  • Equipment cleaning: Decontamination to remove construction residue and contaminants
  • Floor surface cleaning: Removes micro-particles from floor and in crevices around equipment
  • Full environmental audit: Reports on particle counts after a post-construction cleaning

In the end, some preventative maintenance goes a long way. Regular cleanings will ensure your IT equipment remains reliable, helping you to avoid costly downtime and damage.