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ASHRAE - 90568

Particulate and Gaseous Contamination in Datacom Environments

active, Most Current
Organization: ASHRAE
Publication Date: 1 January 2013
Status: active
Page Count: 134


Data center owners and operators focus much of their attention on the physical infrastructure related to electrical power, cooling, and humidity control. However, today's intricate and sensitive IT equipment and the related communications networks, also called datacom equipment or computer equipment throughout the book, require a certain level of environmental control of particulate and gaseous contaminations. Datacom equipment center environmental contaminations are often overlooked and, if left unrestrained, can degrade the reliability of mission-critical IT and datacom equipment.

Environment-related IT and datacom equipment failures generally require three necessary conditions to be satisfied: (1) environment is contaminated with corrosive particles and/or gases, (2) the relative humidity is high, and (3) the hardware, by design or by manufacturing processes, is susceptible to failure due to corrosive particles and/or gases. Removal of any of these three necessary conditions generally eliminates the corrosion mechanisms. An exception is the corrosion of silver, which can occur at lowhumidity levels. Temperature is another factor that affects corrosion. The first necessary condition of contaminated environment is satisfied especially in the Asia-Pacific region (except Australia), which has experienced a proliferation of IT and datacom equipment centers with the ever-rising levels of pollution associated with industrial development that relies heavily on fossil fuels for its growing energy needs. The second necessary condition is satisfied by the continuous expansion of the temperature-humidity envelope to improve performance and reduce cost. Every design change, however minor and thoroughly qualified, has the possibility of exposing hardware to corrosion susceptibility. The biggest design change in recent years resulted from the requirement to comply with the European Union directive 2002/95/ EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS 2003). The directive, commonly known as RoHS, was implemented in July 2006. It restricts the use of six hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The restriction on the use of lead metal, used mostly in lead-tin solder, has had the most dramatic impact on IT equipment reliability. It has taken time and effort to reduce the negative impact of the change to lead-free solder alloys. Given that IT equipment designers will keep pushing the technology envelope, which will sometimes make the hardware susceptible to the corrosive particles and gases in the environment, it is incumbent on the datacom equipment center owners to protect their IT and datacom equipment by taking reasonable actions to reduce the concentrations of corrosive particles and gases.

To maintain a high level of IT equipment reliability, it is important to viewcontamination in a holistic way. It should be acknowledged that the datacom equipment center is a dynamic environment where maintenance operations, infrastructure upgrades, and IT equipment change activities occur on a regular basis. Airborne contaminants harmful to sensitive electronic devices can be introduced into the operating environment in many ways during these and other activities. The fundamental focus areas that necessitate examination start with the outdoor air pollutants surrounding the facility. Outdoor air that enters the building, as a result of free-air cooling or pressurization of the datacom equipment center, or air exchanges from leaks in the facility envelope or human occupancy, must be filtered and possibly conditioned. Contamination from construction and, maintenance operations within the building's environmental envelope and from the data center infrastructure equipment itself must be considered. Data center workers also contaminate the datacom equipment center from hair, lint on clothing, and outdoor contaminants tracked in on footwear. With proper planning and controls, contamination and its negative effects can be minimized.

Datacom managers and operators should include environmental contamination monitoring, prevention, and control as a part of the standard operating procedure. The association between contamination and hardware failures should not be overlooked. Occasionally, the absence of contamination controls results from costcutting actions or from lack of appreciation of the detrimental effects of contamination. Particulate and gaseous contamination can cause intermittent equipment glitches or unplanned shutdowns of critical systems, resulting in significant business and financial losses. Examples of contamination events and their effects on hardware reliability are provided throughout the book.

The intent of this publication is to provide information that is essential to the monitoring, prevention, and control of particulate and gaseous contamination within datacom facilities. Understanding the critical parameters outlined in this publication will provide equipment manufacturers and facilities operations personnel a common set of guidelines for contamination monitoring, prevention, and control that can enhance datacom equipment reliability. The book does not cover issues related to contamination and filtration of open water systems, such as condenser water systems, used in datacom environments.

The intended audience for this publication includes

• datacom facility operation managers,

• datacom facility architects and engineers who require insight on datacom environmental controls for gaseous and particulate contamination,

• datacom facility support infrastructure service providers,

• datacom facility planners, and

• datacom equipment manufacturers.

Document History

January 1, 2013
Particulate and Gaseous Contamination in Datacom Environments
Introduction Data center owners and operators focus much of their attention on the physical infrastructure related to electrical power, cooling, and humidity control. However, today’s intricate and...