Data center protection crucial for India’s tech driven growth

It has been observed that Airborne Molecular Contamination and atmospheric particulates such as smoke and suspended dust in the air pose a serious threat to data centres

The digital transformation of industries across the globe is giving impetus to data centres. Even India is an enthusiastic participant in this transformation, and invariably seeks services of data centres in this tech-driven growth of the country. From big conglomerates to medium enterprises and even small businesses are betting high on big data and data analytics for easing various functions like computation, data storage, networking, or any business applications.

Data centres play a crucial role in the storage of critical and sensitive information via cloud-based services. As a result, the large data centres are categorized under the mission-critical initiative as it caters to a wide range of sectors – banking, telecom, large firms, consultancies sectors, etc. Owing to this, the Indian data centre market is expected to reach US $20 billion investment by 2025 as per the recent story by CBRE.

Currently, the data centre stock portrays a 600+ MW capacity that exceeds 9 million square feet, and the capacity is only expected to double by 2024 where more than 400 MW is under construction across the country. But just the construction of data centres will not suffice the purpose. Looking at the dependency of various industries on data centres, it is more important to construct a resilient facility to ensure the efficiency of the operations. For which proper attention must be paid to recognize the potential threat to the centres. This requires manual intervention to closely lookout for any looming danger to the facility.

It has been observed that Airborne Molecular Contamination and atmospheric particulates such as smoke and suspended dust in the air pose a serious threat to data centres. Airborne Molecular Contamination occurs as a result of chemical contamination triggered by vapor gases such as sulphur, oxides of nitrogen, chlorine, ammonia, etc. It has a corrosive effect on the system which gets intensified in miniaturized electronics by increasing the probability of micro-corrosion/and-corrosion if harmful gases are not controlled. The already existing problem further gets compounded when high relative humidity comes in contact with the gases to form a corrosive element on the electronic circuits. It gives rise to faulty operation, reliability issues and meddles with the longevity of sensitive electronic process control equipment in industrial control rooms, besides data centres.

But before venturing to find the solution, it is important to find the cause first to eliminate the problem from the root. And it has come to light that harmful environments are the major reason for corrosion in data centres. The infiltrating outdoor particulates and gaseous contaminants are the major contributors to a bad environment. The situation is even worse in facilities located near landfill sites, sewerage/drains, high-density traffic, process industries, etc. They are the major source for disseminating highly corrosive gases like SO2, H2S, NO2, etc. that penetrate the data centres or server rooms through air-conditioning systems.

All the factors together are responsible for corrosion that eventually results in equipment malfunctioning. It can give rise to frequent cases of data centre breakdown which can defer the country’s tech-driven growth. Corrosion incurs a heavy loss to the business by giving rise to substandard processes, additional maintenance, costly repairs, and unplanned downtime. The problem is further compounded as the OEMs have discontinued offering annual maintenance contracts for expensive cards.

Hence, it is highly recommended to install DataCenter Air Purifier (DAP) and advanced Gas Phase Filtration systems for quality air solutions. It inhibits contamination in the data centres and server rooms by simply directing contaminant-laden air streams through a gas adsorbent full of neutralizing chemicals. The mechanism filters out the corrosive gases for protecting the microcircuitry of PCBs.

Here, it is important to note that media testing is essential in controlling corrosion in data centres. It has corrosion coupons for detecting the influx of gases and at the same time carries out the identification of corrosion in the system. There is ACM – Atmospheric Corrosivity Monitor as well to not just identify the corrosive gases but also specify the percentage in which it is available. It categorizes corrosivity into G1, G2, G3, G4, etc. levels depending on the criticality of the gases. India on the path to project promising data centre growth comes with strong media testing and lab services that conduct predictive maintenance to control the corrosion menace in data centres.

Considering that data centres are crucial in the digital ecosystem, it is high time that businesses focus on establishing a strong infrastructure. And seeking quality air solutions is the way forward in contributing to the resilience of the industry.

Author: Vijay Chaudhry, President, Bry-Air

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