The Advent of Micro Data Centers

Maintenance for the Edge Center

The advent of micro data centers (MDC),  or edge/fog centers, to meet the demand of IoT incorporates physical infrastructure (including racks), fire suppression, power, cooling, and remote management capabilities for real time processing, which consequently creates a need for ongoing maintenance of the center. 

With $50B in assets and trillions of IP-addressed devices driving massive amounts of data deployed over the next 5 years, trillions of dollars are impacted. 

Cloud and co-location providers realize the importance of keeping the environment clean as part of their 100% uptime SLA.

In comparison to IDF closets (3M in the US), which are unmanned and collect a high degree of dust as well as trade debris unless a regular service agreement is in place to "keep" the particulates to a minimum, the micro data center requires an comprehensive maintenance program for cooling, power units, and cleaning.

Gateway device:





With the infrastructure required to have 100% uptime, micro data centers will fall into the tier 3/4 category and will need to meet clean standards (ASHRAE TC.9 , ISO specifications).

The hurdles of a cleaning service program include: 

    • Access

    • Frequency

    • Abilities of service company  


Many sites will require an escort for the technicians, and may need to have service times after hours for retail and healthcare due to customer /patient traffic. Many sites (such as healthcare) require credentials to work in the facility, such as Reptrax for hospitals. Your cleaning vendors crew will need to take the test and keep up to date on their certification, at a cost.


IDF closets are cleaned once or twice ( at the most) annually. This may not be enough for micro data centers, due to the criticality of IT assets deployed. Consider a quarterly service cycle and have the  cleaning vendor provide data results of particulate count, cooling readings etc. just like your data center.


The cleaning vendor crew will need to be consistent, due to access credentials, as well as trained on the environmental assets to clean. Hyper-convergence infrastructure is more complex than a standard IDF closet. If unescorted within a hospital, campus etc., their background needs to give confidence that theft, etc. will not occur.

Contingency plan

Create a MOP with the cleaning vendor listing all available personnel during the cleaning service cycle.  Should the process create downtime,  what is the documented plan for your on call personnel identify the outage and get back online.  

About the author:

Bill Montgomery is Founder of Premier Solutions Co, a Fountain Valley-based IT Services Company.  Premier Solutions Co. has been providing Data Center maintenance ( DCM) since 1997 to many Fortune 2000 companies. visit for more information on the subject of IT power /cooling,  cleaning, infrastructure.