Physical network infrastrcture design question

25 pts.
Data center design
Data center operations
Concerning the physical network design in Data Centers which have quite a mix of high density blade centers, small 1-U servers, storage, mainframe, etc., I'd like to hear what standards are being followed. Are you using fiber fed switches to each rack, patch panels in each rack, cat5 or cat6 e, etc. Do you use your own infrastructure group for cabling or outsource?

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If you are redesigning a little at a time then I use internal sources for the cabling. but if you are doing a larger job all at once then it is better to get an outside source to do the cabling unless your internal source thinks they can handle the job. Does the internal source have the tools to test the cabling? I don’t mean just continuity testing. They need to do a full load test on the cable to show full compatibility with the cable standard being put in place. I would use Cat6 if these servers are going to run all gigabit but cat5e will work fine but is pushing the limits of the cable. See the difference here:

As far as layout, that depends on your setup. Do you have a core switch that the servers are connecting back to? If so then go fiber from there to a Gigabit switch in the rack and hook all servers to that. The link back to the core switch would need to be 10 Gigabit if the servers are high volume servers. It depends on how many servers you have too. You could patch panel them from the rack back to another patch panel by the core switch, then from there to the core switch. But that depends on how far they are from the core switch. And you would need Gigabit ports on the switch for each server.

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  • Penny
    Thanks Buddy, At the main Data Center we have 2 floors, about 2000 square feet each. At this time we are using Cat6 and fiber. We are using rack patch panels to another patch panel by the core switches. There are approx. 50 racks on each floor. What I'm trying to get away from is having to run so much cabling across the room and I'd really like to see the rack cable management much neater. Our infrastructure staff doesn't run cabling on the rest of campus and they DO in the Data Center so we are looking for standards and procedures as to not re-invent the wheel : ) I like the idea of using fiber fed switches to the rack. Thanks again for the info.
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