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Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

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Published by Rich Hintz
practical guide to designing a data center from inception through construction. The fundamental design principles take a simple, flexible, and modular approach based on accurate, real-world requirements and capacities. This approach contradicts the conventional (but totally inadequate) method of using square footage to determine basic capacities like power and cooling requirements.
practical guide to designing a data center from inception through construction. The fundamental design principles take a simple, flexible, and modular approach based on accurate, real-world requirements and capacities. This approach contradicts the conventional (but totally inadequate) method of using square footage to determine basic capacities like power and cooling requirements.

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Published by: Rich Hintz on Mar 12, 2009
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06/07/2013

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The most harmful contaminants are often overlooked because they are so small.
Most particles smaller than 10 microns are not usually visible to the naked eye, and
these are the ones most likely to migrate into areas where they can do damage.
Particulates as big as 1,000 microns can become airborne, but their active life is short
and they are typically arrested by most filtration systems. Submicronic particles are
more dangerous to the data center environment because they remain airborne much
longer and can bypass filters. Some of the most harmful dust particle sizes are 0.3
microns and smaller. These often exist in large quantities, and can easily clog the
internal filters of components. They have the ability to agglomerate into large
masses, and to absorb corrosive agents under certain psychrometric conditions. This
poses a threat to moving parts and sensitive contacts. It also creates the possibility of
component corrosion.

Measuring airborne particulate concentration in the data center is useful in
determining air quality. Your HVAC contractor can probably help with this, or
recommend an air quality engineer.

The removal of airborne particulate matter should be done with a filtering system,
and the filters should be replaced as part of the regular maintenance of the data
center. See “Filtration” on page 159 for more information.

Human Movement

Human movement within the data center space is probably the single greatest
source of contamination. Normal movement can dislodge tissue fragments, dander,
hair, or fabric fibers from clothing. The opening and closing of drawers or hardware
panels, or any metal-to-metal activity, can produce metal filings. Simply walking
across the floor can agitate settled contaminants.

All unnecessary activity and processes should be avoided in the data center, and
access should be limited only to trained personnel. All personnel working in the
room, including temporary employees and janitorial staff, should be trained in the
basic sensitivities of the hardware and to avoid unnecessary contact. Tours of the
facility are sometimes necessary, but these should be limited and traffic should be
restricted to avoid accidental contact with equipment.

Chapter 12

Environmental Contaminants 153

The best solution to keeping human activity to a minimum in the data center is to
design in a Command Center with a view into the data center room. Almost all
operations of the center will take place here, and those visiting the facilities can see
the equipment from there. The data center should never be situated in such a way
that people must go through the equipment room to get to unrelated parts of the
building.

Subfloor Work

Hardware installation and reconfiguration involves a lot of subfloor activity, and
settled contaminants can be disturbed, forcing them up into the equipment cooling
airstreams. This is a particular problem if the subfloor deck has settled contaminants
or has not been sealed. Unsealed concrete sheds fine dust particles and is also
susceptible to efflorescence (mineral salts brought to the surface of the deck through
evaporation or hydrostatic pressure). It is important to properly seal the subfloor
deck and to clean out settled contaminants on a regular basis.

Stored Items

The storage and handling of hardware, supplies, and packing materials can be a
major source of contamination. Cardboard boxes and wooden skids or palettes lose
fibers when moved and handled. Particles of these have been found in the
examination of sample subfloor deposits. The moving and handling of stored items
also agitates settled contaminants already in the room. Also, many of these materials
are flammable and pose a fire hazard. All of these are good arguments for making a
staging area for packing and unpacking an important design criteria.

FIGURE 12-1 and FIGURE 12-2 show unnecessary clutter and particulate matter in a
data center room.

154

Enterprise Data Center Design and Methodology

FIGURE 12-1 Unnecessary Items Stored in the Data Center

FIGURE 12-2 Particulate Matter and Junk on the Floor

Particulate From Outside

Air introduced into the data center can be a source of contamination, especially if the
filtering system is inadequate. It is important to know what dust and airborne
chemicals could possibly come in from the outside environment. In particular,
consider local agricultural activities, quarries, or masonry fabrication facilities. With
this knowledge, plan the data center filtering system to arrest these particulates.

Chapter 12

Environmental Contaminants 155

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