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Old 12-20-2010, 07:05 PM   #1
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Server rack directly on basement floor


Is it ok to bolt a server rack right to the concrete floor or should I have another surface? I'm worried about moisture, and it rusting out. Is it something I should worry about? I don't have lot of moisture coming out of the floor, but since cement is porous, there will always be a bit of moisture and I'm concerned of the long term effects.

Should I lay ceramic tiles or something, then the rack? Or maybe just a piece of vapor barrier? The bolts will penetrate whatever surface I do put though. The floor is over a foot thick so the bolts wont be hitting past the cement.

Could I just line the metal part that will contact the cement with like WD-40 or something and be good to go as far as rust goes?
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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I'd think a moisture barrier is a good idea, yes.
Some plastic visqueen between or similar.
I think if you bolt it down, the tile would crack up if you tried that route.

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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How much area contacts cement? if it's just feet, I'd use some cut out scraps of vinyl siding.

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:49 PM   #4
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It's basically a big rectangular area, maybe 1-2 inches all around.

It's the rack on the right:




I'm wondering if I can just spray the bottom with a good layer of WD-40 (or a better product?), and be good?

My furnace and hot water tank are directly on the cement, and while I don't really see any signs of rust on the tank, I do see some a bit inside the furnace, though that may be due to the condensate pipe that was leaking at one point.

I'm also thinking of putting some PT lumber. Could place some 1x6 planks or something.
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:04 PM   #5
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Heck, just cut some strips of siding. If you don't have any, look around for any type of sheet plastic.
You just want to put a barrier betwixt the two is all. I wouldn't trust just WD-40 though.
Cool rack, post pics when yer done?

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Old 12-20-2010, 09:16 PM   #6
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Unless the floor needs to be finished I would just bolt it down.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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I will probably put ceramic tile at some point.

I was thinking further about the PT lumber, since wood shrinks/expands slightly, it would maybe cause some issues in the future if I put it on that. I already have about 500lbs of equipment to put on there, so best to just have it straight on the cement I think and just use a VB so most of the metal wont be contacting directly. Given the metal is painted that probably helps a lot too and I'm sure this is something the manufacturer has in mind. At a tech forum someone told me the VB may trap moisture, but if I only put it where the metal is touching the floor I'm sure moisture can just go around fine and not build up. Not like I have a ton of moisture anyway.
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:25 AM   #8
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if you are worried about moisture on the bottom of the rack, you should be worried about moisture on/in the equipment itself.

I'd get a dehumidifier. with a drain tube so you don't have to worry about emptying it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:28 AM   #9
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Hi Red Squirrel:

First, take a piece of plastic about 4' square and put it on the concrete floor. After a few days, pick it up and see if the floor is wet underneath. If it is damp or wet, prepare to isolate your cage as much as you can from the floor. If it is really wet, isolate your power supply and run your cabling through the ceiling.

You're in London, Ontario. You have a fault line running through Mount Brydges (I think that's where it is.) I'd be more concerned about seismic activity. Trucks going past the building will set up sympathetic shock waves. They really wrack havoc with hard drive heads. I've lost a few that way.

Humidity can be a problem, but then, if you're putting in that many servers, you're probably putting in humidity control as well.

Use some sort of gasket between the floor and the metal (house gasket, vinyl siding etc.) Use Ramset fasteners or lag bolts in lead anchors to anchor the cage to the floor. The Ramset are OK but dip the bolts in epoxy before driving them in. That's to keep the moisture away from the lag bolt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
It's basically a big rectangular area, maybe 1-2 inches all around.

It's the rack on the right:




I'm wondering if I can just spray the bottom with a good layer of WD-40 (or a better product?), and be good?
Nope. It just makes a mess.

Quote:
My furnace and hot water tank are directly on the cement, and while I don't really see any signs of rust on the tank, I do see some a bit inside the furnace, though that may be due to the condensate pipe that was leaking at one point.

I'm also thinking of putting some PT lumber. Could place some 1x6 planks or something.
The pressure treated wood will serve the same function as the gasket except it won't last as long. (we're talking years here)

I hope the server stack is isolated from any water source. Busted pipes = busted servers.

I might suggest that if this is your home, you consider a wooden cage suspended from your ceiling joists. I had several server stacks just dropped on the floor. I had one server stack mounted on car springs, another mounted on a suspended floor (for seismic activity) and none performed as well as the one at home that hung from my ceiling. My cables were always neat, up off the floor and I seldom had cabling problems from piles of cables getting kicked or move accidentally.
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbo View Post
if you are worried about moisture on the bottom of the rack, you should be worried about moisture on/in the equipment itself.

I'd get a dehumidifier. with a drain tube so you don't have to worry about emptying it.
I'm not too worried about equipment that is not in direct contact with the floor as the air itself is not humid. I do have a dehumidifier I run in the summer for about 3 months, rest is dry. If I run it now it will not pickup a single drop.

I'm more concerned of the effects of metal directly on the floor for many years. I will look when I go at home depot to see what they have as far as "gaskets", when I go shopping for the anchor bolts. I'm probably worrying for nothing though. Racks are screwed in floors all the time and don't have issues. Cars are subjected to 100x more moisture not to mention salt, and the frame and other major metal components can last for years.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:06 PM   #11
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This is it, installed. Still have more equipment to put on, mind you.



I ended up going with something completely different for moisture barrier. I found this "weather proof" tape at HD, I just taped the whole bottom. Should do the trick, I say. I assume this stuff is meant for outside where rain may be present, so if it's made to resist water, it should more then do against the little moisture that might come out of the floor. I only taped the part of the rack that touches, not the center hole, so the floor can still breathe, and moisture should not get trapped, if there actually is enough for that. (I doubt it). This is precautionary more then anything.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:14 PM   #12
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I'd get a humidity monitor for the basement if you do not have one
Winter here my basement can still be 55%+ in winter
In the Spring thru fall it can climb to 70%+ without a dehumidifier
Moist air will play havoc with computers & electronics
Of course my house from Spring thru fall can be 70%+ a lot of the time, especially last March...wettest on record



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Old 12-23-2010, 09:09 PM   #13
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Actually yeah not a bad idea, will probably get a humidity monitor and thermostat so I can monitor the server room. Something that can interface with a PC and plot a graph would be pretty cool too.
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:17 PM   #14
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what you should do is get the APC UPS that can monitor humidity and temp. You could also purchase an environmetal PDU (power dist. unit) that has the ability to monitor those as well, with the correct adapters. That is typically a cheaper option if you already have a UPS.

just out of curiosity, why do you have a 42u 4 post rack at home and what kind of storage device is that with 14 drives?

Last edited by diybrad; 12-26-2010 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:30 PM   #15
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I will probably get some kind of monitoring system at some point. Servers and such is more or less a hobby of mine, but lot of that stuff is actually used for productivity such as email, file storage and so on. The storage device is a SAN enclosure. It is old and obsolete, but still looks pretty cool, and still works somewhat, so I managed to score it. I have 4 of them total:



I installed the fiber switch today, and powered all of it on just to see it run, lots of blinky lights, like a Christmas tree. I have to take down my main server to install the fiber card before I can do anything with it though. The tricky part is I need to get into the server's bios to configure it, but I have no KVM down there. So it will have to wait till I can get one. They run at about 1k for the rackmount ones with monitor keyboard and mouse. Yeah, this is an expensive hobby. LOL

I also noticed I need to get more washers, the bolts are sticking out slightly so its not actually firm to the ground.

Last edited by Red Squirrel; 12-26-2010 at 09:32 PM.
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