Apr 24, 2014
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5 Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Data Center Server Room

If your business houses a data center server, you know that your data center server room contains some very sensitive, expensive equipment. Therefore, you’ll need to have protocols in place to protect that equipment from the potential of damage.

Allowing contaminants into your data center could lead to corrosion, overheating, electrical failure and the mechanical failure of your disk drive, tape drives, power supplies and circuit boards. Maintaining a clean data center is essential for the longevity and uptime of your equipment.

Spring Maintenance Tips For Keeping Your Data Center Clean

The scheduled routine cleaning of your data center is crucial for optimum performance and to reduce down-time. Not to mention preserving your equipment in order to maintain its longevity.

Here are 5 Spring cleaning tips you can use to help keep your data center clean.

  • Set a schedule for regular floor and equipment surface cleaning. This can be done quarterly; however, more often would be preferable.
  • The sub-floor plenum should be cleaned annually at the very least. It’s important that you keep any contaminants such as dust, dirt, bacteria and mold spores from getting into the air. Once the contaminants are airborne, they’ll enter the air vent intake system of the equipment and will get under the floor fire alarm sensors.

You should never allow debris from accumulating in the sub-floor. You can clean the sub-floor plenum by vacuuming underneath the raised floor; however, make sure you use a HEPA filter vacuum.

  • The HVAC and CRAC (computer room air conditioner) cleaning are very labor intensive; however, keeping these clean will help prevent outside contaminants from entering your data center in the first place.

You should always include a filter change and return air duct cleaning as part of your routine. If you notice a black dusty coating on your sub-floor, this is usually a sign that you have worn out AC belts or belts that are out of alignment.

  • Seal all of the raised floor cable cutouts with brushed grommets to help eliminate airflow bypass and to help reduce contaminants from getting into the air handlers and the electrical equipment.
  • Periodically clean the ceiling voids. Clean the overhead ceiling above eight feet by vacuuming above the drop tiles and wiping clean any overhead raceways. It’s best to change out your fissured ceiling tiles for clean room tiles if you can. Fissured tiles continuously flake and give off microscopic particles that will end up in your AC filters, on circuit boards, disk surfaces and in your IT equipment filters as well.

Cleaning Tips To Help Your Onsite Staff Keep The Data Center Clean

By educating your onsite staff on how to keep the data center clean, you’ll not only give them the skills necessary to practice preventive measures for preserving your data center, but you’ll also help prolong the life of your equipment.

  • Always keep any materials that cause dirt and dust out of the data center. Things such as cardboard boxes eventually break down and flood the air with particulates that will clog the filters and sub-floor.
  • Never do any sweeping in the data center. This will make dirt particles airborne and cause them to become imbedded in the floor panel cracks and cable cutouts.
  • Only use a dry mop or filter vacuum to pick up dirt on the floor and sub-floor surface. If you do need to mop, make sure to use a dedicated data center mop as to not bring in outside contaminants.
  • Instruct your staff to never use any vacuum that doesn’t have a HEPA filtering system inside the data center.
  • Only use approved data center chemicals for cleaning.
  • When wiping down the equipment, make sure you wipe the entire surface such as the top of the racks, the insides of the cabinets and never use anything other than a lightly damp clean cloth or approved data center cleaning products.

The best way to keep your data center clean is to get the entire IT staff involved in its upkeep. But keep in mind that it’s best to try to keep the traffic in the data center to a minimum. And if you design the data center space for low traffic load from the start, the fewer people you’ll have entering that space and the fewer problems you’ll have keeping it clean and well maintained.

Don’t hesitate to get outside help should you find that your in-house cleaning efforts get behind or become too much for your staff to handle. Your data center is full of expensive equipment and therefore you shouldn’t skimp on the costs to keep it clean. The money spent on your data center cleaning will pay for itself in reduced repair costs and the life expectancy of your equipment.

+Katrina Matthews is a product specialist for RackSolutions, the market leader for designing and manufacturing custom racking products for the IT industry! You can read more about our company here

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