Tackling Contamination In Data Centers

Data centers are not idle environments. Changing equipment, upgrading infrastructure, and daily maintenance all provide opportunities to introduce contaminants into the data center. Many data center operators make the mistake of overlooking environmental factors in their facilities. This oversight can be costly. Over time, contaminants damage critical components and lead to equipment failures and downtime.

Preventing Contaminants from Entering the Data Center

Staff need specialized training to not only remove contaminants, but to prevent them from entering the data center in the first place. Everyone who enters the data center, whether a technician, maintenance worker, or operator, should wear protective equipment to minimize the contaminants they bring into the facility. Because the majority of contaminants are tracked in on people’s feet and wheels on carts, contamination control mats should be placed at all entryways.

Properly Removing Contaminants

No matter how stringent prevention efforts are, some contaminants will make their way into the facility. Regular, specialized cleaning will remove the contaminants that enter the data center. Data center cleaning protocols are unique, and staff should be trained to follow established best practices. Environmental surfaces, equipment, and floors should be cleaned at least quarterly and the underfloor plenum should be cleaned at least annually. If contaminants are allowed to build up in the underfloor, they will eventually spread throughout the data center, putting critical equipment at risk.

Lastly, speedy response to emergencies is critical to minimizing damage from flooding, fire, or other disasters. Having a professional data center cleaning provider that is available 24/7 can make all the difference in containing the effects of a disaster. Cleaning and decontaminating a server room requires a methodical approach and specialized tools to restore the facility efficiently and effectively.

David Roe is a Senior Vice President at ABM Industries. Learn more about ABM’s specialized cleaning programs for data center environments here.