Datacenter Cabling

15 pts.
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Cabling
Data center network cabling
I'm looking to refurb our aging datacenter (approx 1000U) and am looking at our cabling. Our finances are limited so budget is our main concern. Basicly we are at the point of having 25 racks layed out in a 5x5 grid with all aircon and power in place but now need to run our network cables. What is the best practice regarding networking? Do we put a patch panel in each rack, a matching patch panel in a comms rack and our switches in the comms rack. Do we run our network cables underfloor or overhead (our power is underfloor). For cost reduction can we just run direct from our servers into our switches? Can we even put a switch in each rack? What physical setup do most people use and what are the pro's and con's of each method? Thanks for any pointers

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You can pretty much use any of the methods that you posted. It all depends on costs and how much configuration you want to do.

In all of this I’m assuming that you don’t have any redundancy in the network switches. If you want everything fully redundant pretty much double all the switch and port counts.

If you put a switch in each rack you will need to purchase 25 small switches plus a couple of large switches. This makes the cableing easier, but it does limit you as you only have a single physical network available in each rack. If you have a seperate physical DMZ then you will have to have all the DMZ machines in the same racks. Adding more ports to a rack is easy, as you just need to drop in another network switch.

If you use patch pannels you have a lot of flexability as to your physical switches as you have a few high end switches running everything. However if you need to add more ports to a rack it’s harder as you now need to put another patch pannel in place. From what I’ve seen this is usually the prefered method as it’s a much cleaner look, and the power requirements are less (a couple of large switches will take less power than 25 smaller switches, especially since you still have the large switches running the small switches).

If your AC is running under the floor you should put at little as possible under there. The more cables there are under the floor the more stuff is getting in the way of the airflow. I would get some cable trays and mount them above the racks for the network cables.

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  • GordonCopestake
    Thanks for the pointers Mrdenny, we are thinking of using Dell 6248 switches (48 port gigabit) and having 2 stacks of 12 then on the server side have a NIC fault tolerant team with one cable going to each of the 2 stacks. This is enough capacity for now but we will look to add 2 other stacks in the future with a CX4 uplink between the 4 stacks. If we go this way we have to have the switches all together in 1 or 2 comms racks.
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  • Rlm2173
    Gordon, Here is another options. Here is your setup A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 In your 5x5 layout, one row of cabinets will look like this If you in stall a 24 port or 48 port port patch panel in A1, A2, A4 & A5, all of these will go to A3 The cabling will look like this A1 24port to A3 A2 24port to A3 A4 24port to A3 A5 24port to A3 Your switches for row A will go in A3 Host in A1 will connect to the patch panel in A1, this will be picked up in A3 and connected to the swt. Same for A2, A4, and A5. Host in A3 will simply connect to the switch. Pro - you will not end up with a lot of unused swt ports. Cons - Getting the cable count for each cabinet right. Additional cabling should be installed between A3 to C3 B3 to C3 D3 to C3 E3 to C3 The swts in A3,B3,D3,E3 should be trunked to the swts in C3. If you use L2 and L3 swts, bay C3 should be the L3 swts. You only need two L3 swts to be able to setup HSRP for your L3. Each swt that connects back to swts in C3 should have one link to sw-C3#1 and one link to sw-C3#2. Thus if a link goes down, spanning tree will bring up the other link. Hope this helps. rlm2173
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