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Technical Cleaning Services

Hardware manufacturers including Cisco, IBM, Sun, HP & EMC recommend the subfloor void is cleaned twice per annum, especially if air flow is being directed through the floor void.

technical-cleaning-corridorCisco, Sun and EMC now all state what the acceptable levels of contamination are for their equipment.

All three hardware vendors now state that their kit must be kept in a data centre which has been decontaminated to a sufficient level on the ISO 14644-1 Machine Room Cleanliness scale. The latest to the party is EMC, who in the most recent their Symmetrix Planning Guide state their kit must be placed in a data centre at Class 8 on the ISO scale.

The impact of contaminants on sensitive electronic equipment is well known, but the most harmful contaminants are often overlooked because they are so small. Most particles smaller than 10 microns are not visible to the naked eye. Yet it is these particles that are most likely to migrate to areas where they can do damage.

Hardware warranties can be deemed void if not kept in an environment maintained to ISO Standards.

Contamination on and in IT equipment in Data Centres and Computer Rooms will cause equipment to retain heat and cause unwanted downtime if not maintained. In addition, power requirements will increase to keep the equipment cooler: Power and Cooling are key issues within the Data Centre environment.

Workspace Technology’s Planned Data Centre Cleaning service includes an extensive clean of the subfloor void, floor surface buffing and the equipment surface to provide a thorough preventive maintenance program for your Data Centre to ensure ISO 14644-1 Machine Room standards are met.

If your Data Centre has never been under a preventive maintenance program which includes cleaning, then an initial service site preparation may need to be performed. This will include a clean of the subfloor void, floor and equipment surfaces and the pedestal and stringer substructure to ensure that your Data Centre is as dust and contamination free as possible.

The equipment surfaces are cleaned using takcloths with highly interwoven fibres and vacuumed where applicable using three stage HEPA-filtered vacuums. In addition, the surface of the floor panels is cleaned using specialised anti-static equipment and solutions.

Sources of Contaminants

Personnel activity – Human movement within the computer room is probably the single greatest source of contamination in an otherwise clean room. The opening and closing of drawers or hardware panels or any metal-on-metal activity can produce metal filings. Simply walking across the floor can agitate settled contaminants making them airborne and potentially harmful.

Hardware movement – Hardware installation or reconfiguration involves a great deal of onfloor and subfloor activity, and settled contaminants can be disturbed, forcing them to become airborne.

Stored items – Storage and handling of unused equipment or supplies are also a source of contamination. Cardboard boxes or wooden skids shed fibers when moved or handled.

Cleaning activity – Many chemicals used in office cleaning solutions can damage electronic equipment. Gases from these products or direct contact with the hardware can cause component failure. Solutions that can damage hardware include chlorine-based products, phosphate-based products, bleach-enriched products, petrochemical-based products, and floor strippers or reconditioners.

Zinc Whiskers

Zinc whiskers are a phenomenon that can occur on bare metal surfaces. Metal surfaces are often coated with zinc in a galvanisation process to help protect them from corrosion.

Called Whiskers for there tendency to grow from metallic surfaces, these tiny strands are believed to form due to molecular stress. Zinc is used in floor panels to keep the steel on their bottom side from rusting, and the filaments emerge as the zinc tries to separate itself from steel.

technical-cleaning-zinc

Zinc whiskers are extremely small and therefore difficult to see with the naked eye. The filaments are typically 2 um in diameter and can grow to 10 mm long. Although the whiskers are harmless while growing on your floor tiles, they become dangerous if dislodged. The Data Centres cooling and air circulation system distributes the filaments through the room, where tiny strands can get into sensitive hardware. Zinc conducts electricity and can trigger an electrical short.

Workspace Technology can help identify, contain and deep clean these contaminants. Environmental Testing includes taking sample readings of temperature, humidity, and airborne particulate levels, especially Zinc Whiskers, within the Data Centre. This sampling provides a snap shot of the conditions within the mission critical facility at the time of sampling and will help to identify any immediate risks.


Downloads

Technical Clean

Particles, gasses, and other contaminants can impact the sustained operations of the computer hardware in a data centre. Data Centre and Server Room environments therefore need to be cleaned on a regular basis to maintain the environmental quality of the room and to prevent build up of contamination.

Published June 2015

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