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Data Centre Operational Excellence: The Role of Facility Cleanliness

Precision design has never been more critical to a data centre build-out in the race to keep pace with growing demand for data centre capacity. This entails a variety of elements, including power efficiency optimisation, scalability and agility, performance assurances, sustainability goals, comprehensive security, and keeping the data centre as dust and static free as possible.  This is an element that is all too often overlooked but can wreak havoc on uptime if not consistently addressed.

This article will address that last element, discussing the importance of designing and maintaining a data centre that minimises any risk of contaminants, which can ultimately compromise the smooth, efficient, and uninterrupted operation of a data centre facility.

Why does a dust and static free environment matter?

A data centre operation that adheres to the highest, quantifiable standards of cleanliness achieves numerous benefits, including improved reliability, resiliency and efficiency plus extending the longevity of the equipment. The primary objective of a data centre cleaning process and system is to maintain a dust and static free environment, ensuring there are no contaminants or damaging particles adversely impacting the operational integrity of the facility. This ensures the reliability of data centre operations by preventing outages and minimising disruptions. A further benefit of maintaining a clean environment is the favorable impression it leaves with visitors to the facility, demonstrating operational excellence and a high degree of professionalism, thus making it attractive to prospective customers.

A best practice approach to assuring a clean data centre.

The choice of cleaning methods and technologies directly impact the overall operational efficiency and reliability of the data centre. In general, cleaning technologies are largely standardised and are designed to maintain a minimum level of compliance in air purity, governed by ISO 14644/8. Data centre providers should operate in accordance with industry standards and seek to enhance their industry certifications and accreditations on a continuous basis.

When tailoring a cleaning solution, it is important to understand the individual customer requirements as the starting point. Yet it is also best practice to implement tried and tested approaches to minimise any potential for error. It is also necessary to carefully coordinate and plan a cleaning project around any activities scheduled in the facility with a priority on ensuring no customers are disrupted by the cleaning activity. In common areas, or areas with high footfall, there should be daily cleans and for DC Halls it is recommended for there to be a deep clean every quarter.

When it comes to the execution of a cleaning project, all internal penetrations such as drilling into walls should be fire-stopped to ensure an airtight room and reduce the risk of contaminants entering the environment. Additionally, a no-cardboard policy should be in place throughout the data centre to prevent the dispersion of foreign particles caused by the presence of such materials. External technical cleaning, including corridors and common areas, should also be pursued to avoid the possibility of dirt and other substances tracked in those areas compromising the cleanliness of areas where vital equipment is operating. Additional steps to prevent potential contamination include laying TAK matting at entrance doors, wearing overshoe covers, and constant air purity, creep corrosion and humidity checks.

Improved reliability and efficiency

Ultimately, data centre providers aim to operate at 100% uptime. This means no degradation impacting the performance of critical equipment. A technically clean environment increases the lifespan and efficiency of equipment while positively impacting overall data centre performance and resiliency. Applying a best-practice approach on a comprehensive and thorough basis supports the achievement of operational goals and positively impacts the customer experience.

Implementing the highest standards of data centre cleanliness is only one key aspect of achieving operational excellence, but one which some data centre operators may inadvertently overlook. Employing a comprehensive and certified approach to design, engineering, installation, and project management with data centre deployments results in the highest probability of success with ongoing operations. All of it, resulting in higher uptime, resulting in greater customer satisfaction, which drives the positive bottom line.

Datalec Precision Installations (DPI), a data centre design and project management consultancy, has the experience and expertise to cover all aspects of precision design and operational excellence to assure optimised performance, the highest levels of efficiency and the achievement of sustainability goals. Through Technivo, its technical cleaning division, DPI also provides comprehensive cleaning and decontamination services. This industry leading service underscores DPI’s dedication to maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene within data centres and critical facilities.

For further information on Datalec’s technical cleaning expertise, click here.

Author – James Bangs, Head of Services


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