designing server rack - connection concept

mikesteven used Ask the Experts™

question, I have two server racks with isolated network and if I need to be able to connect from each other's network, what would be the best solution?

Just use patch cables and connect one network to the other? or should allocate a patch panel? What's the best practice?
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I have seen multiple installation where a simple path cable is used, provided it does not make the installation look messy in any way.
A short patch cable bridging the cabinets might be the best solution.

Although keeping with how your network is currently designed, allocating a patch might keep things nice and consistent.
If the racks are close enough to each other that you can use a pre-made and tested patch cable, I'd do that.  If not, it would be best to put in patch panels, so the cables can be tested and there is capacity for easy future growth.
Are you talking about 2 different domains? And you're trying to interconnect the 2 networks together?
Do the networks in those cabinets tie back into a central location like an aggregation or core switch?  If so, that is likely the best place to make the connection.  You'll avoid possible network loops while gaining a place to control access between the cabinets.  As long as you don't have an administrative need to provide firewalling between those two networks, a patch cable or cable/panel combination are perfectly acceptable.  See below.

If they don't reach the same location, patch panels are are a tidy solution but the do eat up space in the rack.  If you've got it, flaunt it.  I don't, so there are no patch panels in my cabinets.  Every server and blade chassis ties into a top-of-rack switching stack that then ties back towards the core.

There's no shame in directly connecting the two networks like rabbid_dog has mentioned.  Just make sure that you label each end of that cable with something meaningful to your environment... something that let's people know that the cable leaves the cabinet and where it goes.  You might make a label like "Cab A/sw 12/port 4" for the side of the cable in cabinet B and then in the side terminating in cabinet A, "Cab B/sw 04/port 32".

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