Posted by: BrentSheets
Contests, Data Center Contest Entries, DataCenter, ITKE
We’re gathering stories and photos for a cool contest sponsored by American Power Conversion (APC). First place in our Data Center Contest wins a Nintendo Wii game system. And we’re giving away twenty (20) copies of System Specifications and Project Manual for Data Centers (a $250 value!) to members just for entering the contest with a valid entry. Enjoy the contest entry below — and feel free to comment.
Tom, Data Center Specialist, submitted this entry:
I took a job at this company that was based out of Paris, France. We were located in Fort Worth, TX. I get there and one of my responsibilities was to “Maintain the Data Center.” My second day there (the first day was strictly orientation) I was shown the “data center”… a closet with one Server Rack, a wiring rack and seven large Compaq Proliant 1600 Servers, sitting on two wooden crates which were filled with cardboard.
My UPS power came from four APC 1400 UPS devices. Now attached to these four UPS devices were three servers, one was a test server, one was a remote RAS box that allowed the Italian team to monitor their software, and the other was on the Checkpoint firewall. If a power surge occurred, everything dropped except those value pieces of equipment but no one would work.
Now the best was the wiring rack. First of all, nothing had ever been removed. So if they removed a data cable from a server, they left the other end connected. Also, we have 400 cables for a 200-employee operation. Each server was able to have two network links, and could be paired, but they only had one link each. So the remaining 189 cables were just there for decoration, I believe. Oh and by the way, no cable was labeled, so we have to hunt and find where everything was connected. Also, there was only a Layer 2 Switch in place so no real routing could be accomplishing (VLANs, etc).
The first thing I did was attach the proper mission critical servers to the UPS devices. I was unable to get all the devices on the UPS devices, but I was able to keep the overall main network devices and main storage on backup power. Then I started to map out the data cables. I would trace each cable to its connection point and label it (both on the cables ends – yes, each end was labeled) as well as creating a master wiring grid in VISIO. I removed over 189 cables that were not being used. But it was still in bad shape and most of the cables were 50 ft in length for a 6 ft connection point.
It took me three months to convince leadership that we have to renovate the so-called data center. I ordered a used Server Rack (for $50.00 dollars) to provide a real home for the seven servers that were resting on the wooden crates. I also ordered a 20KVA UPS Array (APC) to accommodate the true power consumption in the room, as well as removed several older servers that served limited purpose by consolidating them to two servers (removed four). I also had to rewire the wiring rack since, as you would need the “Indiana Jones” outfit to cut through the wiring to see anything. Since budget was limited I had to remake the cables from the existing cables. We had two day (one weekend) to accomplish the full job.
When we finished we had two server racks full loaded with proper labeling on the server devices, as well as the cables being labeled. I bonded the NICs for each server and ran dual pair network cables back to the switch. I upgraded the switch from an Extreme Alpine switch to a Cisco 4500 Switch with proper Layer 3 switching. I even labeled the ports in the switch so we could identify each connection from anywhere. We had all the devices connected to the new centralized UPS device that gave us a 45-minute window to have a proper shutdown if a power outage would occur. From the revamp we had better overall network operation (better packet routing and VLANs help the network congestion), better backup power solution – even though it was not as I desired, but budget was tight, and everything was labeled so we could find everything in a timely manner.
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