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Who decides how often a data center should be cleaned and who should perform the cleaning?

Time Published May 12, 2012 by Jason Roth

Data Center Manager
Question from: T.H. / Position: Facility Manager / February 6, 2012

Cleaning frequencies have traditionally been recommendations by the equipment manufacturers such as SUN, IBM and HP. Most manufactures recommend quarterly cleaning but give an absolute minimum of cleaning twice per year. These are spelled out in the facilities manuals for these manufactures along with warnings for using unqualified cleaning companies.

Only Data Center Cleaning specialty companies using special anti-static cleaning equipment and ESD clean room approved chemicals (made for use around sensitive electronic equipment) should be allowed to clean your data center. In 2009 ASHRAE added a data center clean air standards section to their guidelines. This adopted the ISO 14644-8 or federal standards cleas 10,000 clean air standards for a data center officially classifying a data center as a clean room for the first time.

In house janitorial services for normal office buildings are usually supplied by a contractor or in-house employees that are not trained for this type of cleaning / decontamination work. Common janitorial cleaning chemicals, equipment and wax [Data Center Floor Cleaning Best Practices] may make the data center look great now – but they will create chemical and physical transformations at microscopic levels causing corrosion, rust, static, overheating and hundreds of other problems leading to eventual downtime.

Since there are static, particulate, network signals and heat sources in the Data Center that can cause disastrous catastrophic loss of uptime to companies, cause fires and Indoor Air Pollution – there are several standards that help keep these environments safe including: ASHRAE, Federal Standard 209e (PDF), ISO 14644, NFPA, and IEST Standards.