Your server room may appear clean to the naked eye, but don’t let appearances fool you! There are microscopic contaminants everywhere, and once they build up, you are at risk of damaging your IT equipment and losing uptime.  The moment a data center is deployed and its post-construction/flagship cleaning is completed, contaminants begin to accumulate again.

Many of these are foreign particles introduced by everyday human activity.  Humans constantly shed particles ranging from bacteria to fallen hairs, which are in circulation within your cooling system, eventually settling on flat surfaces and IT gear.

Other contaminants come from your data center’s physical structure and cooling system. Unsealed ceilings and subfloors contribute a great deal of dust to your air circulation. The cooling system itself can even add to the overall particulate count!  For example, misaligned pulleys create belt dust from friction.  IT gear can shed zinc needles, ferrous metals, and microcontaminants that can damage equipment.

 

Contaminants are combinations of some unexpected origins:

Hair

Skin Flakes

Excessive Movement

Perspiration

Saliva

Coughing/Sneezing

Gum/Cough drops

Make-Up

Lotions

Perfumes

Dirty Shoes/Clothing

Food/Drink

Wood

Paper

Cardboard

Packing Materials

Duct Tape

Unsealed Concrete

Ions/Rust

Zinc Whiskers

Non-Cleanroom pens

Thinners/Solvents

Chemicals

Caulks and Paints

 

Many of those contaminants may not have crossed your mind as being dangerous. Once these contaminants have built up on your IT equipment, you have inadvertently assumed at risk to your business’ current needs and your future prosperity. Data center contaminants can wreak havoc on your hardware and cause an outage. They can cause equipment overheating, corrosion and rust damage, electrical and mechanical failure of disks and tape drives, and can cause damage to circuit boards.  So, the question arises:

“How do I fix this before it becomes a problem”?

It is certainly possible to clean your IT yourself with your in-house janitorial staff. However, using an inhouse janitorial staff is not the most optimal solution to your problem.  If that staff doesn’t know best practices for cleaning around your live IT equipment, they can easily disrupt your operation in myriad ways.  It is critical to know what chemicals and cleaning materials are appropriate to use on your gear to prevent damage.

It’s surprisingly easy to disturb sensitive wiring, or cause irreparable damage to your servers with improper cleaning procedures or supplies.  Commonly, untrained cleanings inadvertently expose your gear to far more contaminants than it experienced prior to cleaning!

When cleaning IT equipment, it is imperative to use custom formulated antistatic and static dissipating chemicals. Along with that provision, data center cleaning staff will need to use cleaning equipment/materials that are both antistatic and non-shedding in order to avoid adding further contaminants to your CRAC/CRAH system. Data center cleaning best practices should be implemented to avoid exposing your IT to sudden bursts of belt debris, zinc needles, ferrous metals, microcontaminants, and biological particulates that damage equipment.

When you utilize a professional data center cleaning company, rest assured that they are highly trained and know the best practices of removing particulate from your server room structure, surfaces, and live IT equipment—including cable trays, overhead pipes, ceilings, walls, floors, and subfloors.

 

Interested in learning more about how to reduce containments?

 Read more about Data Center Cleaning