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At a data center, dust is your number one enemy. Plus more tips on contamination control

Did you know that unsealed concrete releases fine dust into the air that consists of calcium, silica, and other by-products that are abrasive and can harm servers? Or that gaseous contaminants such as nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, and ozone cause corrosion of metal parts and wiring in modern circuit boards and chips?

Data center contamination is more common and more harmful than perceived. So, where does this contamination come from and how can it be prevented?

Dust and pollen

Regular cleaning, replacing dust filters, using chemical filtration systems, limiting foot traffic, and conducting an annual contamination assessment can do wonders in keeping airborne contaminants at bay. Some common airborne contaminants include pollen, air pollution, construction dust, even lint from clothing, and stray strands of hair are contaminants. These airborne particles can become electrostatically charged and interfere with servers. Dust in a data center causes a host of problems from reducing efficiency to equipment failure.

You can also ensure less dust accumulation by choosing the right hardware accessories. The 1U & 2 U black rack mount panels from Hardy Racks for example come with built-in brush strips to protect cables from dust and other contaminants.

Metals

Iron particles (these are usually found in printers, tape drives, worn parts in HVAC units and conduit pipes) are conductive, and therefore can cause electrical damage to circuit boards. Small zinc and tin metal filaments that come out of metal components also conduct electricity and can cause short circuits.

Concrete

Unsealed concrete releases fine dust into the air that consists of calcium, silica, and other by-products that are corrosive. These seals can break down even when concrete is sealed. The only way to prevent contamination from this is to inspect it regularly.

Gases

Sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide, chlorine, and ozone can corrode silver and copper, which are what a lot of equipment and accessories in the data center are composed of. They can eat into wiring as well in modern circuit boards.

Some best practices for cleaning

  1. Clean surfaces with an antistatic cleaning solution

  2. Clean weekly with a dry mop

  3. Schedule a deep clean every three months

  4. Remove raised tiles and deep clean twice yearly

  5. As part of the regular maintenance schedule, shut down the entire cooling system and give the belt drive unit a thorough cleaning using a vacuum with a HEPA filter

  6. When dealing with renovations, do not bring IT equipment into a room before the area is completely cleaned, or never turn on the equipment before the cleaning is completed

  7. While some enterprises prefer to do their in-house cleaning, it may not always be the practical choice. Hiring a specialist third-party cleaning service provider may be a better idea

To know more about the maintenance of a data center and its hardware, call the experts at Hardy Racks. We are an ISO 9001-2015 certified company and offer assistance in customized solutions for data centers.

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