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Data centre FM: Cleaning checklist

Nilesh Kanakraj, Sr Vice President, ONESIS

Nilesh Kanakraj, Sr Vice President, ONESIS explains how cleaning is intrinsic to data centre operations and maintenance, and offers a checklist to comprehensively clean such facilities.

Protect technology

Small amounts of particulate matter, such as electrostatic dust, can cause hard drive and tape failures. Even 250 volts of static electricity can result in data memory loss and circuitry damage. Electrostatic dust sticks to the surfaces of your equipment and acts as an insulator, preventing it from cooling down as necessary. Temperature monitoring for data centre equipment is a delicate process — an increase of a few degrees could encourage overheating.

Prevent contamination

Workers, technicians and cleaning teams can bring contamination into a data centre if they step inside without the proper equipment — or if the centre itself isn’t well-equipped to block outside contamination. Sticky mats, shoe covers and hair nets are a few ways for your in-house team to decrease contamination before the cleaning team ever arrives.

Some materials, like zinc whiskers, can be incredibly small or even microscopic to the human eye, meaning you’ll never visibly see all the contaminants within a room. These concentrated particles can cause fires and even explosions when close to heat sources. Many data centres exist in areas with poor outdoor air quality, which can introduce pollutants like motor vehicle exhaust.

Extend machinery lifespan

Your machinery will last longer when it’s properly maintained, meaning you’ll decrease the time and resources spent on costly repairs and replacements.

It’s a better tradeoff to deal with scheduled downtime for equipment cleaning rather than work around unexpected periods of downtime caused by damaged devices.

Data centre cleaning checklist

Surface cleaning

  • Vacuum the floor, and remove visible dirt or grime build-up using the right vacuum cleaner with the appropriate attachment.
  • Machine scrub the floor if necessary to remove dirt and stain. This will restore the original colour of the floor.
  • Remove spots, gums, adhesives, etc. that may be sticking on the floor
  • Damp-mop the floor to remove stains and dirt

Subfloor cleaning

  • Clean and wipe the bottom of all tiles that can be removed
  • Vacuum all subfloor areas
  • Remove as minimal tiles as possible to make sure that proper airflow is maintained

Server cabinets cleaning

  • Clean and wipe the inside and the outside of all cabinet doors including the cabinet tops
  • Clean the inside of the server’s cabinet floor
  • Clean and wipe the bottom of all tiles that cannot be removed

Data centre support area

  • Detail clean the entire room
  • Clean all surfaces except for printers, PCs, and monitors
  • Clean the floor tile surface and the subfloor
  • Vacuum front grills of the UPS systems
  • Clean and wipe all water line support pipes

Approved cleaning equipment

  • Cleaning materials that are neutral and qualified by computer manufacturers
  • HEPA or S Class Vacuum Cleaner Stable stepladder
  • Electrical cords that are in good condition
  • Floor scrubbing machine
  • Lint-free wipes
  • Lint-free mops
  • Canned air

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