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Why are Cleaning Services Mandatory for Data Centers?

By Enterprise Technology Review | Monday, October 07, 2019

Running a data center facility mandates proper cleaning and decontamination measures to prevent disruptions and ensure reliable operations.  

FREMONT, CA: Data centers are highly complex, packed facilities that require optimum conditions to function properly. These data storage and processing facilities are often exposed to particulate matter and airborne contaminants, making cleaning a necessary process. There are several sources through which dust enters data centers. The air ducts in the cooling systems and workers moving in and out of the facility are the major contributors to the hazardous contaminants. To ensure that the highly valued IT infrastructures run safely without any glitches, data center owners ought to make budgetary provisions to rope in specialized cleaning service providers. Along with that, a set of best practices should also be adopted to keep contamination at bay.  

The result of contamination can be extremely harmful to data centers. There have been several instances when dust and debris have resulted in hazards like fire. Dust particles which are electrostatically charged often contribute to the problem of overheating by insulating the machines, thereby preventing efficient cooling. Zinc whiskers, which emerge from rust-preventing zinc layers, can lead to short circuits in equipment. The risks to hardware present within the facility are substantial. Thus, data center facilities should not overlook decontamination in order to prevent extra overheads. Instead, by prioritizing proper maintenance, the longevity of equipment can be enhanced, ensuring better returns on investment.

The first step towards optimizing the cleaning of data centers is a proper survey of contaminants. Depending on the results of the survey, the managers can put together a set of best practices for workers to follow. Apart from that, data centers can look for vendors in the market who provide cleaning solutions. Vendors these days, offer well-managed decontamination services that can be customized to fulfill the unique data center-specific requirements. The rates for these services vary across regions and are charged according to the cleaning area.

Cleaning a data center is a task that requires a substantial amount of technical expertise. Professional service providers are the best option because they have the needed know-how and personnel who can expertly handle critical data center equipment and the environment. The vendors often possess a good understanding of the hardware, which enables them to plan and implement decontamination regimes that cater to the particular requirements of individual data centers and align well with their objectives and directives.

Several industrial-grade cleaning types of equipment are available in the market today. With the equipment, vendors are offering services that include subfloor cleaning, subfloor vacuuming, ceiling plenum cleaning, overhead ceiling cleaning, equipment surface cleaning, and full surface cleaning. High-Efficiency Particulate Air and Ultra-Low Penetration Air Vacuums are commonly used for effective cleaning. Additionally, vendors are also offering certifications that are in accordance with international standards of data center cleanliness.  The certificates provided by the service providers are essential for insurance claims, proving compliance, and attracting clients.

Apart from physical cleanliness, it is also important for data centers to maintain data hygiene. Managing data properly throughout its lifecycle and ensuring proper storage, use, archival, and disposal are essential to the dynamic and reliable performance of the facilities. Automating the tracking and managing of data enables best practices. Vendors in the market are also offering automated erasure solutions that allow monitoring and erasing of data remotely, swiftly, and efficiently.

Data centers can guarantee the highest degrees of efficiency and performance with the right cleaning strategy in place. As regulations continue to define industry standards, data centers can enjoy the benefits of compliance by prioritizing contamination-free facilities.