Why Invest in a Cleaning Program?

The most precious commodity to your server’s efficiency is the distribution of cooling air in the plenum below your raised floor. Dust, humidity, and electrostatic discharge can build up on cooling fans and equipment. This buildup effects how your equipment breathes which can lead to mechanical wear, head crashes and expensive downtime.

With the common challenges facing the data center community today it makes sense to outsource the cleaning process. The goal of an outsourced cleaning program is to help streamline the problem-solving process for the data center professional through a unique set of industry standards and best practices. The results will be a controlled environment that has minimal particulate contamination, which minimizes equipment failure.

One threat to your equipment is particles in the air that cannot be seen. Data Center Solutions can measure your air particle contaminants before and after and show you the difference.

DCS offers complete packages to keep your Data Center clean and healthy.

Potential Threats


According to FS 209E, the maximum limits of particles per cubic foot of sampled air in a data center are: 100,000 particles of .5 microns in size, 20,000 particles of 1.0 microns in size, and 2,000 particles of 3.0 microns in size. When particle counts exceed these limits, there is a greater occurrence of equipment failure. Interaction between airborne particulate and electronic instrumentation occur primarily though the following:
• Interference with moving parts – Relative motion can cause abrasion and head media crashes.
• Deposits of contamination on a sensitive material may result in shorts and corrosive failure.
• Premature clogging of filtered devices will restrict airflow, which will induce internal overheating and head crashes.

overheating image

The human eye can see particles as small as 100 Microns, or 1/10th of a millimeter. These particles can cause Thermal Failure, Electrical Shorts, ESD, and Physical Wear and Tear on your sensitive equipment. The following is taken from Dell’s System Guide: “…as it draws in air to cool the computer, the power supply fan also draws dust and other particles into the computer. This contaminant buildup increases internal temperature and interferes with component operation. To minimize these conditions, Dell recommends keeping your work environment clean” Microsoft Knowledge Base Article #842465 “…Excessive room temperature, bad ventilation, or dust accumulation can cause electronic components, such as processors, to behave erratically…” Gateway Server Guide, “…Avoid dusty or dirty work environments. Dust and dirt can clog the internal mechanisms and cause the server to overheat…Damage caused by extreme temperatures is not covered by your warranty.”

Sub Floor Plenum

The sub floor plenum is an extension of the air conditioning system and the lifeline of any computer room. Precision air conditioning controls are used to regulate temperature and humidity in the data center. The sub floor plenum is used to deliver this control to the sensitive equipment in the data center. The plenum is also the area most prone to dirt and dust. Allowed to accumulate, these contaminants will be swept up and carried to your equipment by the circulating air conditioning so vital to your equipment’s operation. Contaminated airflow can clog circuitry, increase risk of fire, cause accidental fire suppressant discharge, and health problems.

Although numerous reasons for data center cleanliness can be found, the following are the most critical in today’s data centers:

Electrostatic Discharge and Dust Fires

There is a link between constant movement of air and dust across concrete surfaces and static electricity.

Ferrous Metals On Circuit Boards

The high volume of air blown over circuit boards to cool can deposit both dust and tiny ferrous metal slivers on electronic components.

Over humidity And Rust

The opposite end of the spectrum from Electrostatic Discharge. Rust can be found on the floor jacks and grid as well as other metal equipment and duct work.

Head Crashes & Mechanical Wear

Today’s disks are particularly vulnerable to dust. Particles passing though equipment filters can group inside disk drives, creating particle sizes big enough to strike a floating head.

Fire Suppression System Dump

Dust and other small particles can look like smoke to fire detectors. According to data center insurance companies, over 1/3 of all fire suppression system releases each year are accidental and caused by dust.

How do you prevent the potential problems associated with particle accumulation inside your data center?

Follow Data Center Best Practices: Restrict Access, Keep Data Center Tidy Follow Maintenance Plans. Regular Inspections.

Data Center Solutions is a company that can assist you with scheduling regular inspections and cleaning services based on your unique circumstance.