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  1. #1
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    How clean is your datacenter?

    I was just looking at the photos of racks by some hosting providers, and for some of them you can see thick layers of dust and palm prints on the hardware!

    How clean are datacenters really? Is it normal to see dust bunnies rolling around the floor and clogging cooling meshes and fans?

  2. #2
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    You can't avoid palm prints and some dust but it should be fairly clean. After running a server for a year, it would be near impossible not to have some dust getting in there.

    Clogged and dust bunnies would usually indicate an issue though. I know I have seen some places get a bit dirty when they go under maintenance, but a usual datacenter should have limited human interaction and therefore less dirt and dust.

  3. #3
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    Once a year we clean the computer boxes in our carpet floored office. A year of dust (in such an environment) completely clogs the space between the fins of the CPU radiators, and fan meshes on the cases and increases the CPU temp for up to 10 degrees (C)!

    I always thought that datacenters are (or at least should be) dust free environments precisely because you ain't gonna shut down your server and send someone with a vacuum cleaner to undust it, right? But looking at some of the pics, omg... yuck.

  4. #4
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    Your HVACs generally do a good job of filtering out a lot of the dust in the data centre. Especially when you have servers racked up one on top of the other, dust really shouldn't collect much on them. That could be indicative of some other problem, like recent renovation work in part of the data centre or HVAC filters not being changed often enough. It does tend to gather on the top and bottom of the cabinets, under ceiling tiles, or in other places that don't have a constant circulation of airflow though.
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  5. #5
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    There should not be dust floating around servers if the facility is properly maintained.

    Sticky floor mats at the entrance points to pull any dust/dirt off the bottom of shoes. Air Filters should be changed on a regular basis. Cardboard should NEVER be stored in the data center, etc.
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  6. #6
    We've had servers running for years, all dust free. If you're seeing dust within your data center environment, something isn't right!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ionity View Post
    Sticky floor mats at the entrance points to pull any dust/dirt off the bottom of shoes.
    First time I walked into a data center with this, I thought it was a little extreme. Looking back, I realize it is pretty smart! By the way, the facility is GIP Networks in Plano, Texas (Global IP Networks).
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  8. #8
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    In Pune, TATA DC, we have to wear their anti static slippers before going inside the DC. In Airtel DC, we have to wear plastic bags covering the shoes before going in. In both DC, I have not seen any dust at all.
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  9. Seems pretty good

    The datacenter that I am using seems great I have seen photos it seems pretty healthy apparently they only put like 5 servers per rack to reduce cooling issues.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdditionHosting View Post
    The datacenter that I am using seems great I have seen photos it seems pretty healthy apparently they only put like 5 servers per rack to reduce cooling issues.
    That's too low. How much power do they allow per rack?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wndml View Post
    I was just looking at the photos of racks by some hosting providers, and for some of them you can see thick layers of dust and palm prints on the hardware!

    How clean are datacenters really? Is it normal to see dust bunnies rolling around the floor and clogging cooling meshes and fans?
    We have boxes come out of our DC after 10 years of continuous operation without ANY evidence of dust on them.

    This is a key element of providing a data centre service, ensuring the environment is right for IT hardware involved a lot more than just the AC sign-wave and keeping the thermostat at 23C
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wndml View Post
    I was just looking at the photos of racks by some hosting providers, and for some of them you can see thick layers of dust and palm prints on the hardware!
    Are people actually that dumb to not cover up these things even if it's temporarily for photos? They coulda just used a kleenex tissue to wipe it down for the photo

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebudy View Post
    Are people actually that dumb to not cover up these things even if it's temporarily for photos? They coulda just used a kleenex tissue to wipe it down for the photo
    Not sure kleenex are much better, certainly not seen lint free kleenex in the UK
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by serverhouse View Post
    Not sure kleenex are much better, certainly not seen lint free kleenex in the UK
    At least it would take off a layer of dust so it's less noticeable in photos.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebudy View Post
    Are people actually that dumb to not cover up these things even if it's temporarily for photos? They coulda just used a kleenex tissue to wipe it down for the photo
    Apparently.

    It's not my intention to drag the said providers through the mud but this info is public and they're obviously proud of it or it wouldn't be displayed on their front page, so I'll link an example:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8984392...n/photostream/

    (there's much more dirt in other pics in the stream)

    And there are dust bunnies on the floor and cables on this neat OVH promo vid: http://youtu.be/Y47RM9zylFY

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wndml View Post
    Apparently.

    It's not my intention to drag the said providers through the mud but this info is public and they're obviously proud of it or it wouldn't be displayed on their front page, so I'll link an example:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8984392...n/photostream/

    (there's much more dirt in other pics in the stream)

    And there are dust bunnies on the floor and cables on this neat OVH promo vid: http://youtu.be/Y47RM9zylFY
    Maybe they should hire a PR consultant before posting things to the internet.

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  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonsite View Post
    Regardless of VolumeDrive, let's try to keep this thread on topic.
    True, that's why I didn't mention them by name.

    I "toured" LiquidWeb's through Google Streetview, the DC appears neat and clean. I wonder how clean are Hetzner racks, I'm their client. I read they're using the outside air for cooling? I imagine it is filtered, but I'd be curious to see. The videos don't show much detail, but it all appears neat and clean.

  20. #20
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    EDIT: I see you already posted about LiquidWeb.

    They don't have the sticky floor mats and other precautions, and their DC is right next to their work area, but I agree it looks quite neat and tidy. And the cabling is nice too!

    Here is another super clean one for you: http://www.phoenixnap.com/popups/pna...imediaTour.htm - even their industrial equipment is sparkling.
    Last edited by HackedServer; 12-09-2013 at 12:50 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by HackedServer View Post
    Here is another super clean one for you: http://www.phoenixnap.com/popups/pna...imediaTour.htm - even their industrial equipment is sparkling.
    Even this can be a rare thing! I always wonder when a data center may clean things up before photos. I'm sure they do, but hopefully they keep it fairly clean on a regular basis as well.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by HackedServer View Post
    Here is another super clean one for you: http://www.phoenixnap.com/popups/pna...imediaTour.htm - even their industrial equipment is sparkling.
    Haha, including the cyborg security guard That all looks nice, as it should for a high tech facility.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wndml View Post
    Haha, including the cyborg security guard That all looks nice, as it should for a high tech facility.
    There was a thread about their security guards (back in '11 wow),
    http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1076773
    Interesting read, especially if you like to see how DCs vary which I'm guessing you do.

  24. #24
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    VD's data center looks pretty dusty I agree, but those are also tower machines. In most data centers, people are using rack mount servers, which help reduce floating dust by being placed close together, and being cooled with hot or cold aisle containment. So the servers are close together and the air is only moving in one direction, so any dust gets pulled back into the CRACs. We also put blocking plates into cabinets that aren't full of servers, so that no air gets back into the cold side of the aisle.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasonsite View Post
    Even this can be a rare thing! I always wonder when a data center may clean things up before photos. I'm sure they do, but hopefully they keep it fairly clean on a regular basis as well.
    when i saw constant's infrastructure pics (http://www.constant.com/overview/datacenter/) i thought they had to be renderings and not real pics, the generators were so clean.

    until i toured, and happened to see a guy driving a floor-cleaning Zamboni around. you could eat off the floors there.

  26. #26
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    Dust free here.

    We did however have to clean up a small NOC that was filled with drywall dust. They somehow thought it was okay to do construction while the servers were in the room and running. We purchased some tiny 3M electronics vacuum and it proved to useless. It was fine for the "floating" dust but useless for the baked on stuff.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtimbers View Post

    until i toured, and happened to see a guy driving a floor-cleaning Zamboni around. you could eat off the floors there.
    Haha that's awesome!
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  28. #28
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    I think that most of them will be little dirty because the engineers will not clean them and other UN-authorized people will not be permitted always there for cleaning, so I think it is natural to see some palm prints etc..

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtimbers View Post
    when i saw constant's infrastructure pics (http://www.constant.com/overview/datacenter/) i thought they had to be renderings and not real pics, the generators were so clean.

    until i toured, and happened to see a guy driving a floor-cleaning Zamboni around. you could eat off the floors there.
    Hey! I'm hosted in that data center. No wonder my connection is so fast and I haven't had any downtime.

  30. #30
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtimbers View Post
    when i saw constant's infrastructure pics (http://www.constant.com/overview/datacenter/) i thought they had to be renderings and not real pics, the generators were so clean.

    until i toured, and happened to see a guy driving a floor-cleaning Zamboni around. you could eat off the floors there.
    You'll find this pretty common with facilities like dupont fabros..

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wndml View Post
    I was just looking at the photos of racks by some hosting providers, and for some of them you can see thick layers of dust and palm prints on the hardware!

    How clean are datacenters really? Is it normal to see dust bunnies rolling around the floor and clogging cooling meshes and fans?
    Not in the datacenters I know, at least when it comes to dust.
    I'd not expect anyone to clean glassy rack doors, that would not be sensible since it brings along far too much fluids in a place where there should be none.

    What I keep an eye on is if there's any stuff that is lose on the ground.
    Cardboard boxes, any kind of open cable, anything stuffed behind a rack - this should NOT be the case.
    If you see a place like that it means people don't clean up after they're done (so they're not professionals and have no audits) or they never get done - then it must be a mess

    Manual Fire extinguishers for emergencies that aren't hanging on a wall-mount.
    OR, if there's no hand-held CO^2 extinguishers around - smells of too much optimism.
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  33. #33
    Data centers should be extremely clean. Some of the things we do to provide a clean environment are use sticky floor mats, clean at least once a week (usually more)and do multiple deep cleans a year. Customers store their equipment in your data center so they can have an ideal environment, it is important for data centers to do the proper steps to ensure a clean, dust free environment.

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