Is Critical Facilities Solutions an international company?

Our primary focus has been the United States but as of July 2018, we have now branched into the UK, with our UK headquarters being in London.

Why should I use a Data Center deep-cleaning company?

Particle and contamination build-up will cause failures in electronic circuits within servers and hardware. Contamination will cause servers to slow down or possibly fall down completely, which is unacceptable in any data center or computer room. You should only allow a specialist data center or computer room cleaning company that uses trained technicians and specialist materials and equipment into your environment. It is also important to ensure you choose a contamination partner who will provide full risk assessments, method statements and COSHH sheets.

What environments need these services?

  • Large or small-scale data centres
  • ISPs (due to their large data centre estate)
  • Network Control Centres
  • UPS Rooms
  • Computer Rooms
  • Raised Floor Areas (Subfloors)
  • Any critical technology facility

How does Data Center deep cleaning prevent downtime?

Computer room cleaning insures against possible problems that can rise through not keeping a data centre’s contamination levels to an acceptable level.

Internal components of electronic computer equipment can fail due to various factors, with heat and contamination identified as two of the most common causes of failure. In a raised floor environment, equipment within the data centre, computer room or server room is cooled using air circulated under the raised floor or air handling units. Particulates which are brought into the facility build-up in dead space and can be carried into hardware’s internal circuits in the air conditioning process. Specialist computer room cleaning removes these particulates before they have a chance to reach the equipment, significantly reducing the risk of hardware failure.

The cost of prevention when using a qualified computer room cleaning company to perform data centre cleaning is far lower than the cost of downtime caused by dust contamination.

Research by IBM found that for a large organization downtime can cost between $100k and $1m an hour. By comparison, the investment in a structured environment cleaning programme is negligible.

  • 65% of data centre and computer room problems are caused by environmental contamination but less than 5% of a typical data centre’s expenditure is allocated to hygiene and contamination prevention.
  • Many IT and Facilities Managers are unaware that equipment manufacturers’ warranties could be deemed void as a result of poor environmental conditions.
  • “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.” Gateway Server Guide
  • “The quarterly statement of work involves a much more detailed and comprehensive decontamination schedule and should only be conducted by experienced computer room contamination-control professionals.” – Sun Microsystems – Environmental Planning book
  • “Periodic data centre maintenance is a vital, ongoing process for any data centre. Whether your facility has 500 square feet or 50,000, professional cleaning of your data centre can have a dramatic effect on the longevity of your infrastructure, your system’s reliability, and your power consumption. It is more than just cleaning surface debris from your raised floor; it’s a systematic approach to keeping your data centre clean and operating properly” Prosource Vol.27 Issue 28

Data Centre Cleaning is increasingly becoming a priority for affected companies, especially as the value they assign to a warranty for a large investment in equipment may be at risk. If, for example, an equipment manufacturer saw a heat sink totally clogged with dirt, their warranty could be deemed void due to poor environmental conditions.

How often should I perform Computer Room Cleaning?

Every data center has individual circumstances requiring different cleaning programs. For example, lights out areas do not need the same cleaning intervals as inhabited areas; high-traffic areas need to be cleaned more often than low-traffic; customer who conduct tours of their facility need a constant cleaning program verses quarterly and semi-annual programs for those who do not conduct tours. Our data center cleaning service professionals will work with you to customize a cleaning program to fit your environment, needs and budget.

Most hardware and industry experts recommend a complete data centre or computer room clean at least once per year, and a surface cleaning at least quarterly to maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness in your mission critical facility. If your facility does not have a raised floor, then you should ensure that the flooring is static dissipative. Deep cleans should also follow any construction work.

How do I choose a qualified Computer Room Cleaning company?

A qualified company will specialise in only data centre or computer room cleaning, due to the sensitive and critical nature of the work. They will have the specialised equipment, trained technicians, and a great deal of experience in data centre cleaning and maintenance. They will have a global infrastructure in place to support the on-going needs of your facility.

Is a particle count reading by itself enough to determine if computer room cleaning is needed?

A particle count reading measures the airborne particulate within the entire data centre/computer room at the time of sampling. It does not measure all particulate contamination that is settled under and above the raised access floor. Settled particulate should also be addressed when considering your data centre cleaning preventive maintenance program.

Do I have to shut down my operations to have my facility cleaned?

No. Shutdowns and downtime are a concept of the past. Our technicians work around your operations and your staff. Of course, certain activities will require uninterrupted access to your work area, such as applying an anti-static finish to the floor for instance. If however, you require a post construction clean, see here for further information.

What are some data centre contamination causes?

The human body is the number one source of contamination. Dandruff, dead skin flakes, hair, body oils, make-up residue, bacteria and germs are just some of the many forms of contamination humans introduce to the data center environment every time they walk through the door.

Transferred soil from outside environments: Carpet fibers, dirt, bacteria from hallway and bathroom floors, food particles, and chemical residues from carpet and hard floor cleaning chemicals and finishes are brought in on the soles of shoes and wheels of carts. 

Aside from the aforementioned contamination issues the human body caused, humans also release numerous other potential contamination causing chemicals such as sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium. A typical example of this type of contamination would be the fact that a cigarette smoker releases particles into the air up to one-half hour after smoking one cigarette.

Metallic Particles: Worn air conditioning parts, metal shavings, electrical re-wiring debris, raised floor tiles, heating ducts, vibration from HVAC and computer units, printers, and friction from moving parts on equipment are all causes for metal particles to be released into the ambient air and subfloor plenum. If you picture the structure of your access floor system, it’s generally a metal bottomed pan (or at least metal tile edge) sitting on a metal grid and pedestal system. The floor is under constant vibration caused by the computer cabinets and CRAC units. That vibration causes a constant breakdown of the metal and releases tiny metal fragments into the subfloor plenum (often referred to as ferrous metals).

Biological: Water often accumulates in ductwork, CRAC unit drain pans, humidifiers, ceiling panels, insulation, and carpeting. The danger to this is that stagnate water leads to bacteria, viruses and mold. Another common contamination problem is the mixture of moisture in the CRAC units with metals and other contaminates in the air produce an alkaline
build-up in the CRAC unit drain pans. This contaminates then becomes airborne through the normal operation of the CRAC unit itself. The result, if left untreated, is accelerated corrosion of pedestals, floor panel bottoms, grid pieces and metal cable trays.

Organic Contamination: Cardboard boxes, wood (pallets) items made of rubber, paper, elastomers and plastics are all sources of contamination. Products made from these materials have the natural property of “breaking down” and releasing themselves back into the air as tiny particles.

Raw Concrete Sub-floor Deck: This is a major source of contamination, and yet often the most overlooked. Raw concrete, like the other organic contaminates listed above, also has the property of “breaking down”. To illustrate this, if you have a raw concrete garage floor or patio at home and you can rub your hand across the raw concrete a fine white or grey powder will be on your hand. If you jump on the concrete you will see dust come up off of the surface. The same thing happens to the raw concrete sub-floor deck. 

What causes zinc whiskers?

Metal surfaces are coated with zinc in a galvanization process to help protect them from corrosion. Particleboard core floor tiles made from the 1950’s until the early 1980’s were formed by applying a zinc-electroplated passivation coating to the sheet metal pan on the bottom and sides of the tile. During the plating process internal stresses occur to the metal that later leads to zinc whiskers, or needles, forming on the surface.

What are the dangers of zinc whiskers?

When the floor tiles are disturbed, or over time, the whiskers break off, become airborne, and are ingested into the computer equipment. Since they are so small, filtration is not effective in stopping zinc whiskers. Zinc whiskers are conductive and can cause shorts on cards, power supplies, or other electronic components. Zinc whiskers can also cause voltage variances without damaging the component. Zinc whisker growth has been found on sub-racks, switches, card cages, floor tiles and other electroplated surfaces.

Also, ingestion or inhalation of amounts in the 100 – 250 mg/day range is known to be a health hazard. Long-term ingestion of these levels of zinc can cause anemia and pancreatic damage, while short-term consumption of large amounts can induce nausea, vomiting, and intense stomach cramps.

Zinc whisker remediation is one of our specialities. Don’t leave your data centre at risk.

How often should you replace a data centre floor?

Manufacturers typically stress you replace tile at the minimum every 20 years. Depending on the traffic in your data center, you might need to change/replace much less. Tuning and adjusting pedestals will help the longevity of your tile, but should only be done professionally. If you see discoloration on your tile, you may want to begin to look at tile replacement and repair.

What is the difference between a quantum tile and a perforated tile?

A Quantum Tile, or better known as a Quantum Air Tile will direct air from the plenum to a certain direction. The perforated tile simply as a perforated surface that allows air to come from the plenum directly upwards rather than a certain direction.

What is a blanking panel?

A blanking panel covers open areas within a data rack. This helps with air flow and reduces the consumption of energy from the CRAC units.

What is the ideal temperature for a data center?

The ideal temperature for a data center is between 68 and 71 degrees although many keep their data centers near 80 because of energy consumption. The reason many companies are unable to keep the temperature low is because of air flow which can be fix with a few minor adjustments. Having a professional air flow assessment completed is always ideal and shows you options of ways to decrease energy consumption.

Is there a power management device for data centers or commercial buildings?

The pMon is a device only available through Critical Facilities Solutions in the U.S. and in Canada to assist in power management and power monitoring. Ever wonder why your heat/ac bill is so high every month and what you could do about it? Whether on a commercial building, or a small data center, the pMon can help monitor such expenditures. This device works remote with you iPad and can be logged into anywhere in the world.