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Switches placement in Rack with Raised flooring and Patch Panels

Posted on 2009-04-27
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Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I am setting up a new server room with raised floor. The network cables are running up from the access hole in the floor to my 42U rack. I am planning to terminate them into a 2 x 48 ports patch panels with cable management modules.
From the patch panels, these ports will be patches into my 3 x 48 ports switches.

What would be the best practice layout of my rack? I am thinking sandwiching patch panels in the middle with switches at the lowest U of the rack. Does this make sense?

----------------------------------
|                                            |
|                                            |
|Switch (Core)                     |
|Switch                                 |
|Cable Management Module |
|Patch Panel 1                      |
|Patch Panel 2                      |
|Cable Management Module |
|Switch                                |
----------------------------------
Raised Floor
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Question by:frukeus
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7 Comments
 
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by:nodisco
nodisco earned 400 total points
ID: 24239731
How many U are your cable management switches?  A 48 port switch is a lot of cables and a common mistake is not to allow enough cable management.  Result = tracing cables is virtually impossible!

Go for as much cable management as you can.  Assuming you have cable runs either side of your rack (like vertical cable mgmt) I would put in:

Patch Panel
Patch Panel
2U cable management
switch
2U cable management
switch
2U cable management
switch
1U cable management

This way you can have the top 24 ports of the 48 using the 1U of cable management directly overhead and the bottom 24 using the 1U below etc etc.

It makes for easy managment.

cheers
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Expert Comment

by:nodisco
ID: 24239733
Edit

<<How many U are your cable management switches?  >>
should be
How many U are your cable management modules?
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Author Comment

by:frukeus
ID: 24239928
I have not decided on my cable management modules. Maybe we should consider 4 x 24 ports patch panel with 1U cable management modules?

Also, do I place the equipment block at the top of the rack thus having to run the length of the cables up through the rack? Perhaps I can place the Patch Panels+Switches+Cable Management at the rack bottom so that I save plenty of vertical space- since the cables come up from the floor.
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Expert Comment

by:nodisco
ID: 24240214
Its up to you really.  In all the setups I have seen, the patch panels have been at the top of the racks and the switches below.  The main reason for this would be that the majority of the equipment is at eye level or at an easy working level - having to check switch ports/chase cables when they are all secured a couple of feet off the ground would be a bit awkward.  As would removing other equipment.

Another reason to have the patch panels at the top and the switches below is that you have the switches as "free" as possible - not down on the ground - so that they can circulate air properly with their fans and not overheat.

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Accepted Solution

by:
dannlh earned 1600 total points
ID: 24243598
Lightest equipment always goes to the top of the rack. Or in other words... patch panels and wire minders for the panels. Heaviest equipment goes to the bottom... Roughly in this order:

Panels
WireMinders
(additonal panels / wire minders)
Switches
Servers
UPS

This is to keep the rack from getting top-heavy and becoming a danger to the IT staff and others.

Diameter of a cable is about 1/4". Area is pi*r^2. This gives an area of about .05"sq per cable, or ... 2.35"sq for 48 cables. Rounding up that about 2.5"sq. Since a 1RU wireminder is usually about 2"sq in the race area a single horizontal wireminder will not hold all 48 cables. Therefore you need to have either two wireminders (One above and one below your 48 port panel) or a larger 2RU wireminder.

Vertical management needs to be accomplished with either side vertical minder loops, or side vertical minder tray. Now... that being said...

How often do you plan to change this layout? If it is not often, forgo the horizontal wireminders, use short patch cables (3') and bundle them in groups of 6 or 12 with velcro strapping. Easy to trace, easy to remove. With that few connections, it doesn't matter that they are not running in a raceway. ( Trust me, I have 2600 runs going to a set of patch panels at my last office. -that- needs wireminders. )

The idea is to keep the cabling neat and easy to manage. Use the same length cable for all the patch interconnects. (e.g. 3' or whatever works for your layout) And color-code the patchs  as necessary. (Yellow, workstations, Red Servers, Blue Communications  ... whatever you like)

Also buy yourself a roll of self-laminating labels with a sharpie marker and label your patch cables!!!
e.g.  http://www.buyheatshrink.com/dymo-label-writer/rhino-101-label-dispenser.htm  Why? Because people will eventually forget that you accidentally disconnected the server, but there'll be he!! to pay on the day that you do it.

If you're going to use wireminders, then as NODISCO shows in his example, I would extend that and put a 1U above the top panel, and a 2U between the two panels. Otherwise that example is typical of most installations.

dh
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Author Comment

by:frukeus
ID: 24247965
I have around 110 points that needs to be terminated into the patch panels. Would you suggest 5 x 24 ports patch panels or 3 x 48 ports? I don't think we will be messing around much with the cables after installing them, just want to make tracing possible.
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Assisted Solution

by:dannlh
dannlh earned 1600 total points
ID: 24252355
That's your own preference. Personally, for a small installation like this, I would look at which was less expensive and if something is on sale (from a reliable manufacturer) I would purchase that. For each 24 port you would need 1 RU management. For a 48 I would use 2RU management between, and start with a 1 RU above and at the bottom of the set. I like to go left and right from center with my patches to the sides of the rack. Helps make tracing easier.

Remember to put management around your switches too.

If you're only doing 110 points, you might consider purchasing enough switch gear to activate all the ports immediately. (Managed) Then disable the ports that are not in use in switch management.  

dh
CablesCleanedUp.jpg
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