Cabling out a new floor for power and data

Posted on 2006-05-19
Last Modified: 2010-03-19
Hi All

Got a meeting with the client next week want to check out the practical considerations from the trenches.

Client is a 24/7 business.

Server room is downstairs.  Have one main APC UPS backed up by a generator.  It powers the servers and the most important workstations in the place which are on the next floor up.  The existing switches are unmanaged dlink gear with gig links to the servers. There are also small personal UPS'es on most of the other workstations.

The administration area including payroll is moving/expanding into a new floor.  They're looking at being there for the next 5 years minimum. So I guess for a starter I have to look at:

- Getting UPS power to the new area
- wall points do I go for doubles or triples
- what size cabinet and type of switch
- gig copper or fibre links to the switch
- do I go with a managed switch/recommendations
- how do I figure out where the existing switches are if any (might be cabled straight back)

Lot of Qs more than happy to split into separate areas and more points.

Haven't done this before - really appreciate input and war stories.
Question by:ausadmin
    LVL 5

    Assisted Solution

    Hope this doesnt become a "war story" for you to tell :S



    UPS usually comes in two types. The centralized and the localized (dont actuall know the english words for im dutch :/ ). Usually their current layout design (electrical installation sceme) defines their perfered setup. Interpeting you story they mainly use "local" UPS`s with a "Central generator". So getting the power there is mainly up designing the electrical installation sceme or extending it in you case. Next define wich systems are most critical and extend their power security with a local UPS if needed.


    I do hope you mean the wall sockets for that matter. And is a bit hard to explain. In holland i know we have an rulebook (NEN) that defines how many workspaces a room of "# square meters" has. Looking at one workstation one usually has LAN - TELEPHONE - "Possibly an additional modem for wired transactions +1" wich adds up to 4 sockets per workspace. Dont know if america has such a rule book, should ask a "american" expert on this.

    Cabinet - Switch

    This mainly depends on how much space you think you need (doh and prob not what you mean). The cabinet comes in U (units) of space where the avarage single server consumes 2/3U (if your not using blades). Depending on what "capacity" is needed to be moved/extended its hard to state how much rackspace you`ll be needing. Even less, the switch must be able to handle a XX trafic over its backplane to support the XX servers . XX bandwith with a XX% continues use. example

    Prediction =

    5 Servers x 1000Mbit being used continuesly for 60%

    5x1K / 100 x 60 (minimal traffic that needs to be supported by the backplane of the witch + access to cover peaks)

    Coper / Fiber.

    Usually the distance between the "backbone" and the remote switch defines this, i thought the rule was < 96.4Mtrs coper | > 96.4mtrs Fiber, correct me if im wrong...

    Managed / Unmanaged.

    If i predict the scope of their network hynarchy i would certainly advice managed. Not only to fine tune their switches but also to make sure that for instance a "ghostcast broadcast" wont drop their network connectivity. And to be able to locate broken equipment (Auto mdix  problems, accesive broadcasting, duplex errors etc etc) This will mainly enable you to act pro-active wich might be rather important for 24-7 companies.

    how do I figure out where the existing switches are if any

    Dont quite get this question, if you worry about spanning-tree (looping within networks) that should also be a reason to get managed switches. True that most use spanning-tree by default. But still just ask them to provide a infra architecture / design of the current network or alter your service level to the information they supply. If you are indeed leading this extention of this network without actually knowing its design, this prop will become a war story. Its something you "must" know to to this right.

    Anywayz, Good Luck

    Regards Chris

    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    First off, what's the budget? How long is the run between the MDF and IDFs? are you going to have IDFs or is everything going to be home-run? What APC UPS is in the server room? Do you need redundancy/failover? How are you monitoring all this stuff?

    If the budget can support it, I would get Cisco Catalyst switches. Copper gig runs if they're close together and fibre if you're running a long distance. Are they running through the trench? I thought you said it's a downstairs/upstairs config.

    Run at least 2 ethernet runs to each box (if not 3 or 4).

    UPS power should not be an issue. Have smaller UPSes in the IDFs and since the users already have personal UPSes on their workstations, they're covered.

    Answer the questions I asked above and I can give you more options.
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    I think you need a contractor and an electrician.  You should be considering raised flooring at this point as well.  You need a consultant on the physical contract first, I believe, before you pick out any equipment, cables, cabinets, etc..  That's because everything will change when the construction permit is approved, which I believe you are also going to need.

    You say you have a generator:  now, is that diesel, as in a motor like an automobile motor driven generator, or are you talking about an electrical backup to some grid other than the one your on, business or residential grid?  If it's a business inside of someone house, like a lot of businesses are in Europe, you would probably still need permits because your basically putting in industrial appliances in a business inside of an house and this affects your residential neighbors.

    And if you're going to run inside of walls, why limit to 2 or 3 wires?  Put a bundle in each to accomodate switches and the like, 8, 12, 24.  Use conduits, even inside the walls.  This will make "pulling" a lot easier in future.

    An UPS or Uninterruptible Power Source or Supply is not a generator.  A generator is a motor reversed wired as a source driven by some mechanical or other means; waterfall, fuel burning motor, etc..  UPS to the power company works on a serial comm connection that senses the grid going down a few milliseconds before it's realised at your end and gives your UPS time to switch to some other source of electricity.  In industrial settings, this is always some form of motor/generator set, like a diesel engine and an alternator [alternators have more than one phase, but can have only one or two, and this solely depends on the armature/stator configuration].  If you misuse the term generator here, it's only going to confuse professionals and tradesmen as to what you are actually using.

    There's a lot more to this, but basically, you haven't planned this construction at all.  You haven't even mentioned chillers [a little more hefty than simple air conditioners], which means you've bypassed thinking about what your basic problem is going to be once setup, climate control for the servers and all other equipment, and the people, in these network centers and conrol rooms.

    The oldest war story is the one about the guy who just went ahead and built it without consulting anyone else, later on, he realizes that if he had just sat down with someone and drew this whole thing out by hand, he wouldn't now be trying to figure out how to win even the smallest battle, let alone the war.

    And don't draw it on a computer; they're totally unreliable, paper, my friend, is crash proof!  It doesn't get page faults, blue screens of death, file not found, nor reboot.  It just works and is always there to look at.

    Go to stage one first, planning, and get some help, it shouldn't cost all that much.

    Author Comment

    Thanks guys that's a great help.  I'll up the points.

    Business is transport industry - its 24/7 but not that  big. 50 users in this building.  Roughly 30 more at 3 other sites.  The issue is I'm trying to future proof them at the lowest cost.  I'll talk to the building supervisor and the electrician for a start and get back to you.  I'll also measure out the cable runs.  Thanks again.
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    Good start!

    Author Comment

    Well having talked to those gents on the switching side
    I've decided to put two small cabinets on the 1st story
    - front area has their main dispatch area so I want high speed uplinks there.  Rear area has the bulk of the users.  At the moment the main two servers have 2 gig feeds into a 100 mbps switch.  I can leave them there and speed up access by moving users over to another switch.  Probably drop a small gig switch into the main rack for the servers.  Since I've decided on the cabinet locations I can let the cabling guys quote and sort out my switching options later.  Thanks all.
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    Very professional job ausadmin, good work.

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