The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released a new book titled, Particulate and Gaseous Contamination in Datacom Environments. Contamination is a reality that many data centers need to deal with today. With more pressure to increase uptime, risk of failure due to contamination is often mitigated carefully by most expert data center managers.

Data Center Infrastructure ManagementMost contaminants are airborne and can get introduced into the data center space during shifting, upgrade and maintenance activities. Some electronic devices are extremely sensitive to these contaminants and need to be protected. Pollutants from the outside air are one of the major causes of such contaminants. These enter the data center through various methods such as air-conditioning and also through the data center personnel’s clothing, footwear and hair. These pollutants can result in unplanned and chaotic interruptions of the data center operations. More often than not the cause is not easily traceable to contamination and a lot of time gets wasted in trying to figure out the actual cause of the issue.

Particulate matter that causes contamination can be classified as fine mode, accumulation mode or coarse mode per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). An example of fine mode particles are combustion generated gases. Tobacco smoke is classified as accumulation mode, and wind-blown dust and human hair are classified as coarse mode. These contaminants have chemicals such as chlorine, sulphur and bromine compounds that cause oxidation of the metallic components of circuit boards and other expensive equipment. This is an irreversible process that becomes visible only after a period of time, once the damage has been done.

Some of the best practices for data center cleaning are as follows:

  • Prevention of outside contaminants.
  • Hardware and equipment should be uncrated and unpacked outside and then brought into the data center. All packaging should be left outside.
  • Commercial vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are available that are efficient in picking up loose dust and materials.
  • Outside air supply should be regularly checked professionally.
  • Check that the floor slab is cleaned, the ceiling and insulation slabs should not be flaky, filters in the air-conditioning units should be changed regularly.

With careful attention to detail and treating maintenance as an important aspect of data center activities, contamination can be avoided, and the life and quality of service provided by the data center can increase considerably. For a reasonably priced data center solution that promises top-notch maintenance, contact us at today.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.