"Rust Never Sleeps" in the Data Center

"Rust Never Sleeps" in the Data Center

Our service crews have identified rust ( Ferric Oxide) in data centers over time as we’ve cleaned over  10,000 data centers.

During the sub floor cleaning and inspection, we frequently see the affects of rust corrosives on information technology equipment (ITE) and the raised floor structure of stringers and pedestals . The cause of the presence of ferric oxide is important to determine, as once the remediation process is complete, we want to stop its return . The CRAC unit is the first place to inspect via your maintenance provider.



  • Water leaks not addressed correctly or timely

  • Too much water on floor from cleaning over time can "seep" into the slots between raised floor tiles

  • CRAC units require service; 70% of rust corrosives are located within the CRAC immediate perimeter

  • Clogged CRAC condensation pumps and lines

  • CRAC humidifiers not serviced regularly


  • Rust cycles into server inlet, blocking hot air from existing rear of server and server heat sink if applicable.

  • Can adhere to server components, greatly shortening the life cycle, slowing performance and raising internal temperatures.

  • Causes degradation of sealant on plenum floor: flaking, which becomes airborne.

  • Pedestal base erosion reduces structure integrity and results in a decreased weight load.

Server cabinets fully populated can weigh as much as 2000 lbs; just imagine the floor giving way due to structure failure. 


  • Removal of rust build up via remediation: coat rusted area with an oil paint to eliminate its return.

  • Replace raised floor structure components affected by the corrosion

  • CRAC Maintenance performed on a regular basis

  • Conduct semi-annual sub floor clean and maintenance with reporting documentation on its condition.

  • Have servers , perforated tiles and interior of cabinets cleaned.

Note:  Should a maintenance shutdown cause temperatures to increase more rapidly than ASHRAE recommends, this is a good indication that a professional cooling assessment is needed.

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 www.premiersolutionsco.com for more information on the subject of data center maintenance