75% of critical environments are at risk of contamination

December 7, 2011

Risk management is being compromised believes data centre healthcare expert

Unchecked contamination continues to be a major issue in the data centre sector according to 8 Solutions, with only around a quarter of data centre managers implementing a regular cleaning regime of their critical environments.

“Despite increased power consumption, the risk of performance loss, the impact on cooling and airflow and the fact that OEM warranties have the potential to be invalidated without regular cleaning, we estimate around 75% of critical environments are at serious risk of contamination,” warns an 8 Solutions spokesperson.

“Companies invest millions of pounds in critical IT systems and unfortunately many only appreciate the risk and dangers of contamination when there is a major failure within their data centre. In comparison to the cost and inconvenience of installing replacement equipment and the potential impact downtime can have on the performance of a business, the costs of a preventative cleaning and decontamination regime is minimal.”

A recent US report carried out by the Ponemon Institute analysed the cost of data centre downtime and found that unplanned outages can add up to thousands of pounds in a matter of minutes. Apart from bringing a business to a grinding holt and the financial impact, downtime can also have a catastrophic impact on a company reputation.

8 Solutions is the UK’s leading data centre healthcare company specialising in the deep cleaning and decontamination of critical environments. The company services many of the world’s largest organisations, including the majority of the FTSE 100 in the UK and has carried out over 90,000 completed projects.

“We are often shocked by the level of cleanliness we come across when carrying out deep cleaning for new clients. In one case recently, we took away over 50 bags of rubbish, including concrete residue, cable ties, copper piping, and discarded filters from air conditioners and air handling units. The client had not implemented any form of cleaning or decontamination regime, seriously undermining their risk mitigation process.”

“When contamination has had a negative impact on a data centre the management team typically point the finger at the data centre manager or facilities manager and want to know why best practice hadn’t been followed despite it being recommended as part of ISO 14644-1. Regular specialist data centre deep cleaning is not a service that can be pushed to the back burner it’s critical to the health and productivity of an organisation’s critical environment.”.

One 8 Solutions’ client, Morrisons sees preventative maintenance for its two data centres and 18 distribution sites as vital. Morrisons’ Data Centre and Operations Manager, Darryl Shears commented, “The importance of cleaning is definitely underestimated.” Shears sees the service 8 Solutions offers as ‘an insurance’ for the company.

Demonstrating 8 Solutions commitment to working in partnership with companies on preventative data centre maintenance, the company recently launched a free 20 point Health Check service. The service, which was enthusiastically received at last week’s DataCenterDynamics exhibition at ExCeL, will involve a preventative maintenance review, identifying areas within the data centre that have the highest levels of contamination and then providing detailed recommendations for improvements and suggested best practice.