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Help me rewire my serverroom

Posted on 2009-05-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a small server room I manage at my company. It's been about 2 years since we've been at this new location, and I am bringing in a new rack. It's always been a pain kind when it came to the cabling. We don't have rack mountable UPS  units. We use simple small business UPS units. So I have 1 or 2 servers connected to each of these UPS's. Right now we have 2 42U Dell Racks. 1 is dedicated to the servers, while the other is dedicated to the network switches and patch panel. Originally I thought hey I could install the switch in the rack itself, but then because the main switch acted kind of like the hub, it just semed easier to have a dedicated rack for network items.

Now I am looking at purchasing another 42U rack. what is the best way to run my cables? How do you plan for the number of cables per server, cat5 that is. I dont use the tie locks but just the dell server cable management arm that installs on the back of the server.

Any help pictures GREATLY appreciated.
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Question by:shankshank
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14 Comments
 
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by:yegs2000
yegs2000 earned 50 total points
ID: 24300066
Well if the racks are going to be right aside of each other, you can just run them down arms/pipes that go into the racks. I have seen company's do this and then if there aren't too many cables you can just zip-tie them to the corner of the rack.

A lot of companies just use conduits and pipes to clean everything up. Depends on the amount of cabling you have though. Wire-tying is an option if there aren't too many.

-Yegs
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by:
ngravatt earned 450 total points
ID: 24316473
also, you can use custom cables instead of the standard length ones.  For each connection from server to switch, run your cable and cut it to the correct length.  This will prevent you from having too much extra cable.

Another way to make it look pretty is using the horizontal cable management stuff from panduit.  Put a 1 or 2 U horizontal cable management between each switch and vertical cable management on the sides.

see this picture
http://www.neatpatch.com/Upload%20800/Maxed%20Out%20Cycle.jpg

it is better to use velco than zip-ties, since they can be reused when you add another cable.

in all the server rooms i have worked in, we usually had separate network and server racks. network racks would sometimes have a patch panel that cross connects to the server racks, but that might be overkill for a smaller server room.  You could use a cable tray mounted to the ceiling to run the wires between racks:

http://www.electralink.com/content/includes/gallery/OverheadCableTray_BMC_BIG.jpg


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by:shankshank
ID: 24317667
Thanks fo rthe input guys

Right now I'm thinking of putting the 3 racks right next to each other. Floor standing UPS units inside the rack on the ground. POwer run on the left directly into various UPS. Ethernet and KVM on right. I think I will get diff size ethernet cables also to fit the need of length.
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by:shankshank
ID: 24317672
i have a similar unit like the neath pathc, but it got out of hand with all the different wiring i have done over the last 2 years
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by:shankshank
ID: 24357661
how about the switch situation. Should this main switch sit in the rack with the mostservers, or a dedicated rack.
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Expert Comment

by:ngravatt
ID: 24357728
if you do not have a patch panel at the top of your server rack, then i would suggest mounting the switch, with the switch ports facing the back, at the top of your server rack.

this way, you will only need one cross-over cable to go from the 'server switch' to your main switch (core)


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by:shankshank
ID: 24357787
well see thats the thing.
 i  have a cisco asa5505 and a dell powerconnect 6204, hp procurve for SAN and 4 del powerconnect lower series.

Right now the servers are in one rack, and the network devices are in another. yes, cables run frmo the rack, over the top, down into other rack, and then into switches. Now the 6204 is for servers. The low end powerconnects are for the workstations which are right under the patch panel.

So A I can mount the powerconnect on the top of the rack with the servers,  then one cable going ot the network rack which has the cisco device

but im not sure
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by:shankshank
ID: 24359024
what kind of velcro can someone shoot me some links
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by:ngravatt
ID: 24359367
you need a big ol bundle like this:
http://www.cabletiesandmore.com/WireWrap.php

just cut a piece off and wrap it around the wires.

really, you just want to reduce cost and wire clutter by mounting the switches as close to the patch panel or servers as possible.  Each setup is going to be different, so you will have to do what works best.

just remember to account for scalability.  if the server room grows, you may want to leave a 1U spot for a future switch or patch panel.
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by:shankshank
ID: 24359453
do u wire the whole rack for future growth or add cat5s as u need it?
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by:ngravatt
ID: 24360476
that all comes back down to money.  see how much it would cost, and if you can afford it then do it.
You just want to be prepared.  You are going to have so many ports per rack, depending on the hardware that you use.  Using 2 and 3 U dell and HP servers will take up a lot of rackspace and you are not going to possibly use more than 48 ports.
but, if you are using blade servers or VM and stuff i dont know about, those servers are now coming with thier own switches in the back.
 
look at this setup:
http://www.jbjsystems.com/Projects/cheskin.htm
this is not planning for growth
second one down, the put in blanks for future servers:
http://www.raisedaccessfloors.com/rack-cooling-blanking-panels.htm
this is a home job, good, but not for business:
http://www.campbellassociates.ca/blog/content/binary/P1300026%20(Custom).JPG
he has no wire management horizontal or vertical
at the top, he should mount his PDU on the back of the rack and put horizontal WM below it.
below his WM put a switch and then below
on one side put Vertical wire mgmnt and set the 'arms' on the back of your servers to lead to the side you put it on.
kind of like this:
http://www.fogcreek.com/images/slideshow/a21.jpg
but this guy needed horizontal WM between his switches.
here is a network rack with horizontal wire management between the patch panels:
http://pictures.directnews.co.uk/liveimages/Server_1186_19059793_0_0_7026843_300.jpg
check out the top left of the picture labled 'Problem', this is what you want the top back of your server rack to look like:
http://www.neatpatch.com/Panduit.htm
neatpatch is a good idea, but you have to custom cut you cables to the exact lenght.  in my opion, this is not logical for a growing company.
you want to use 2U Horizontal Wire Mangament and 6 to 8 inch vertical wiremangement on the sides (with doors) for you extra wire.
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by:shankshank
ID: 24364784
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by:ngravatt
ID: 24369741
you are going to have to take all the wires out and re-run them.
the yellow wires just need to be tied off to the side or top or somewhere.

i would suggest between the two racks, the server and network rack, you could install some vertical wire management with doors.  attach it to both racks and you can leave the extra cable in the wire management:
http://www.wire-managers.com/catalog/panduit-vertical-wire-managers.htm

inside each of the racks, you can install PDUs and have only one power cord coming down to your UPSs.
http://www.intellesale.com/-category/118--/power-distribution-unit.html

the network rack could use one or two more horizontal wire management pieces to make it look better.
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by:shankshank
ID: 24369791
The yellow wires run to the patch panel, so I dont think I can do anything with those. Most I can do is just lock them tighter in place with locks.
The white cables at the bottom will def be re run, That goes to my main switch, which I may move into the server rack.

I have PDUs now, that drop down from the ceiling into the raccks. But then from those PDUs I run the UPSes to them. I have multiple UPS units so I cant feed one PDU off of a UPS. Well I can but only 2 servers would go into the PDU. Those PDUs are also special lock plugs.

Now I do have some DELL PDUs that are for the rack, but it appears those came with only lock type cables, I woul d have to find non lock cables and then plug those PDUs into the UPSes.

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