No matter how cautiously and thoroughly you back up and protect your data, problems with your server always feel catastrophic. Not only do these issues take valuable time to resolve (often putting your entire company on hold), they’re also incredibly stressful, confronting you with the horror of losing months of valuable data.
Some experts in the field believe that as many as 70% of server room breakdowns happen as a result of dust and debris interfering with equipment. Overheating due to dusty equipment is one of the most likely causes of server and data trouble.
Static is a factor which can worsen the effects of dust in server rooms (sometimes also known as comms rooms) and similar equipment-heavy spaces. Electrostatic discharge generated by the machines themselves can attract dust, making keeping contamination to a minimum even more important – and even trickier.
However, getting rid of the dust, debris and static which could cause damage to server rooms could cause even more problems. Inexpert cleaning of these sensitive spaces all-too-often results in major problems for businesses. Many employers now require cleaners with specialist ISO certification to carry out this very important, delicate task.
Want to learn more about server room cleaning? This introductory guide will give you some pointers…
1) Don’t unplug anything
If you already know about servers, you’ll know that unplugging them is a very, very, very bad idea indeed. But if you’re not tech-savvy, simply unplugging a piece of technology to plug in a hoover might not seem like a big deal. If you’re allowing anyone to undertake server room cleaning, make sure they know that this is a massive no-no. If you’re hiring an external cleaning team for this task, you’ll probably want them to have professional indemnity insurance just in case, too…
2) Remove the dust – don’t move the dust
Server room cleaning is all about minimising dust, but many cleaning practices simply move dust around instead of removing it altogether. Quickly wiping or dusting surfaces is likely to do no good in a server room, and may even worsen the problem. Alternatively, you’ll need to use a specialist filtered vacuum to remove dust from equipment carefully, and then wipe dust-free surfaces with an anti-static cleaner and microfiber cloth.
3) Clean every cranny
Dust can (and does) build up in all sorts of unseen spaces, which can ultimately contaminate your equipment. While cleaning workspaces are usually about creating a clean appearance, comms/server room cleaning must focus on removing as much dust as possible – even from unseen areas. This means tackling difficult spaces such as underfloor voids, above-floor voids, access flooring, interior server cabinets, server racks, ceilings and more. Cleaners must have specialist training before working this close to sensitive, valuable equipment.
4) Tackle static
Static probably isn’t something you worry about during regular cleaning, but high-quality server room cleaning should also remove as much static as possible to reduce future dust build-up and contamination. Techniques, like applying anti-static floor finishing and using cleaning products designed to minimize static (like microfiber cloths), will all make a difference to dust build-up in these crucial, technology-packed spaces.