Problems of IT equipment failure in data center without identifiable cause
Gaseous contamination could be one of the possible causes of the problem. When the minutest layer of corrosion, due to airborne contaminants, builds up on the circuit surfaces of electronic systems at Data Centers, Server Rooms, Control Rooms, it aggravates electrical resistance and decrements equipment performance, and possibly lead to equipment failure if the problem is getting severe. The data centers locate at heavy traffic area are more prone to this kind of problem. Particularly, for the sake of energy saving, there is growing use of air-side economizers for free cooling. Outdoor air used for ventilation, pressurization and/or cooling could be the primary source of airborne contaminants even the data centers are not located in regions without major air quality concerns. Air used for any of these purposes should be cleaned before being introduced into the data center.
However, for an existing data center, it is often not possible to have extra space to accommodate an additional chemical filtration system nor the existing HVAC system supplying ventilation air can be modified to accept chemical filters. Therefore, the only option available is to replace the existing particulate filters installed in the CRAC units located inside the data center and the filters at fresh air intake with combined particulate/chemical filters (molecular filter).
Before committing to upgrading all of the CRAC units serving the data center, the owners might consider installing Atmospheric Corrosivity Monitor (ACM) to detect the corrosion potential to diagnosis the problem. However, it might not be necessary or justifiable in Hong Kong environment of which the atmospheric corrosion potential is not high.
The figure below shows the measurement results of an actual case happened at the data center of a telecom company.
Reactivity monitoring performed with an ACM for several days prior to the installation of the new filters indicated an ISA Class G1 copper severity rate but a mid-to-high Class G2 rate for silver. After installation of the filters, the silver reactivity rate immediately fell almost 90%. The results proved that molecular filters could relieve airborne contamination problem in data center and reduce the chance of IT equipment failure thereby caused.
Nanofil molecular filters utilize adsorption technique to remove molecules, gases, vapors, and odors from the air, which are typically 1,000 to 10,000 times smaller than the most penetrating particles that pass HEPA and ULPA filters. Basically, Nanofil molecular filter use high quality activated carbon net as the active ingredient, and they are tested according to ISO 10121-1:2014 (Test method for assessing the performance of gas-phase air cleaning media and devices for general ventilation) and DIN 53438-3 (Testing of combustible materials – response to ignition by a small flame-surface ignition). Activated carbon has an incredibly large surface area per unit volume, and a network of submicroscopic pores where adsorption takes place. In addition, there is an additional nanofiber membrane layer with exceptionally high surface area to volume ratio that can achieve a higher fractional efficiency without burden on the pressure drop. In addition, Nanofil Mini-pleated molecular filters feature high anti-bacterial/viral efficacy that avoid biological contamination.
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