Data Center Cleaning Recommended by ASHRAE

by | Aug 1, 2018

Data center cleaning is recommended by ASHRAE (www.ashrae.org) to prevent contamination build-up inside server equipment. The effects of contamination can have adverse effects on server reliability. So routine cleaning will help avoid downtime caused by contamination.

Why cleaning is necessary

Data center airflow design makes cleaning the facility necessary because contaminated airflow passes through servers. Servers act as filters because electronic equipment attracts dust. Removing accumulated contamination helps prevent dust from entering the airflow before it reaches servers. As conditioned air is forced under the raised floor, it causes contamination to be swept up into the airflow. Then, as contaminated airflow is drawn into servers, dust accumulates on internal components which restrict airflow.

ASHRAE recommends regular cleaning

According to ASHRAE’s publication, Gaseous and Particulate Contamination Guidelines For Data Centers, cleaning the subfloor plenum not only helps prevent contamination risks that can cause downtime but help improve the efficiency and reliability of servers. Since contamination accumulates inside server cabinets and hardware over time, data center operators should take every precaution to prevent downtime by removing contamination.

Recommended cleaning services

ASHRAE recommends establishing a consistent cleaning schedule that includes an annual subfloor cleaning, and quarterly floor and equipment surface cleaning. Subfloor cleaning includes vacuuming the concrete subfloor plenum using specialized critical filter vacuums to remove contamination that can be carried into your room’s airflow. Next, raised floor cleaning includes vacuuming and damp mopping the floor surface. Finally, equipment cleaning includes vacuuming and hand-wiping clean the exterior and interior server cabinets. Some facilities may require a greater frequency of service, so check with a professional data center cleaning company that can recommend the appropriate services and frequency for your data center.

Using a qualified cleaning company

ASHRAE notes that due to the sensitive nature of the environment, great care is required for all cleaning activities, so be sure to hire a company that specializes in data center cleaning. Professional data center cleaning companies focus on data centers. Also, check to make sure that your vendor utilizes equipment like cleanroom vacuums with  ULPA filters. Finally, only utilize vendors that have company-trained employees that have been background screened and trained.

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