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Wiring Server Racks

Posted on 2004-08-25
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hello,
I've been asked to layout a "Best Design" for our wiring situation in our server racks.  The datacenter is already in use and this is a 24/7 environment with downtime schedules tough to come by.  With that said, I will only get 1 shot at completing the design and work.  What I'm looking for are some suggestions, things to keep in mind, and hopefully document stencils that I could use for the proposal.  

The 2 datacenters are drastically different at this time.  
The first uses cat walks for wires and all direct cable runs for Cat5 and Fiber.  This server room is an absolute mess.  There are many cables hanging that are no longer in use, intertwined with active cables.  The fiber is grouped together, but is not distinctly segregated from the rest of the cables nor is it properly protected.  Power cables are run aside other cables and some cable management is used.  This room is more of an issue since the only way I can foresee improving it is to completely re-wire it.

The second is fairly new and has raised floors with cable trays.  It has 11 rows of racks ranging from 4-8 racks per row.  Each rack has a patch panel near the base and has individual power distribution per rack.  The power is located toward the bottom, front of the rack.  

Keys:
a)      most of the servers have redundant power
b)      every server has at least 1 cat 5 network cable, 1 KVM dongle connected to cat 5, and 1 power cable
c)      some servers have 2 network cables, 1 kvm dongle and cat 5 cable to it, 1-2 power cables, and at least 1 fiber connection.


So any good suggestions or things you’ve done in the past to make for a clean rack would be a great help.  Also, any ideas about how to keep it clean after the installation would be great as well.

Thank you in advance.

--Bill
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Question by:KrowtenTech
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6 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11899583
Hi just a few. Before the servers are in install all wiring. I would run doubles of all cat 5 and Fiber or it fiber is to expensive to run doubles you can ditch that one but definetly cat 5. Go to Electrical supply buy a few rolls of numbers number everything keep a log of all numbers. I would guess you know the radius on fiber bends keep well within spec. Just be neet and keep detailed logs of everything fronts of patch panels also number them and the extra cables also. Might sound like alot but in the end when something goes wrong its an easy fix. Hope this was the info you were looking for. 1 more thing if you can afford to run spare fiber do it. It gets brittle over time and heat vibration ETC a spare cable for each rack could be a lifesaver after all is installed.
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:Dynamic1
ID: 11899592
1 more thing when bundling wires together use the velcro straps instead of ty wraps. They are easier on the wires and come a problem or addition very easy to take off or put on.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:mcp_jon
ID: 11902988
My suggestion is that you pass all eletric cables in one side of the Rack back panel, and the Data cables in the other side. This will reduce the "spaghetti Effect" widely. I have all my racks built like that !

Be sure to label all cables properly, for future reference, and will allow to reduce the "Fetch for cable" experience !

Wisely think the best way, based on this two proposals.

If you need any help, just say !
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LVL 8

Accepted Solution

by:
MarkDozier earned 375 total points
ID: 11910239
My opinions are:
Clean out the eatra cables first. I see this as having benifits. First it lets you know how messy things really are and it gets some clutter out of the way. It will also start giving you ideals for the "best" layout.

I dsagree that doubles of cat5 are needed but aboiut 5 - 10% "Ready Spares" are a good ideal. Not having experince with fiber I will not make suggestions on that.
I suggest Viso for the software to layout the network drawing.
I also suggest you having a tester like a Fluke Net Tool for the Cat5. I am  not famiilar enough with fiber testers to make any suggesstions there.
With 2 poeple you can make a lot of correct connections very quickly using good communications.
Proper labeling can not be over stressed.
I also really like MCP's ideal of power on the left cabling on the right.

Devolope a step-by-step process for this project. This will clealify the process foe you and letting others have a chop at it never hurts. And may help make various points clear to everyone..

Great communications are a key element and can not be over stressed..


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Author Comment

by:KrowtenTech
ID: 11911663
MCP_jon
I had thought about running power on one-side and other cables on the other side, but I haven't any idea how I would be able to do that while still using the server cable management rails.  Would there need to be extra, extra slack on the side furthest away from the begining of the rail?

Hope I said that correctly.
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:mcp_jon
ID: 11952121
We don't use the Server cable management rails, as they use to much space, and you can get yourself harmed if you do some mistake.
This way, we pas all power cables on the outer side of the Rack Support Frame, but within the Rack Shell, and the Network on the other side.

This is how we do it, namelly myself, because Í am the one who puts the Rack ready to use !

Best Regards !
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