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Cable Management at colocation facility

Posted on 2013-11-08
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I've just started working at a small Data Center and need to put together a list of all wiring completed.
We have multiple rooms, multiple tenants and multiple patch panels.

What I was left was an ugly spreadsheet that has no "flow" to it.

I'm looking for a software solution (as cheap, if not free) to make it easier to follow the cable from point A-B and also to be able to see what ports are open on the patch panels for new wiring needs.
I really don't need to document what physical equipment it is connected to, just the route from 1 cable end to the other.

Thanks
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Question by:miltonk
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Expert Comment

by:tsaico
ID: 39633861
It isn't free or cheap, but I use MS Visio for my diagrams.
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Expert Comment

by:MPonto
ID: 39633920
Diagram Designer is what we use.
here is a link to the user manual
http://meesoft.logicnet.dk/DiagramDesigner/Help/DiagramDesignUserManual.pdf
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Expert Comment

by:MPonto
ID: 39633926
you might also try
http://www.edrawsoft.com/
not free but very good
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Author Comment

by:miltonk
ID: 39633987
I'm not looking for a graphic representation of things at a high level overview but a down and dirty way to see point a-b.

Something where i can click on a port of a patch panel and it would tell me all the segments getting it from end to end.

We have 2 room with Customers Racks.  1 room has a dedicated patch panel wired to each Rack.  All of those patch panels then get patched over to 3 other 96 port panels that are wired  into the other room.  In the other room, we make a patch cord from the customers Rack and bring it into a port on those 96port panels.
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Expert Comment

by:Akinsd
ID: 39634976
Looks like you need Network configuration tools rather than schematics. Some of these tools allow you to print out automatically generated schematics also.

With that said, I think what you need in order to click and view configurations (not for patch panels but for actual connected devices) in your topology is something like Cisco Network Assistant, or Configuration Tool.

I hope that's what you asked
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dannlh earned 1500 total points
ID: 39637846
I feel your pain! Here's what I ended up doing:

1) Buy yourself a bunch of self-laminating laser printer cable labels.
2) Create labels for both ends of every cable something like AAA AAB AAC (and remember to print a pair of each for the cable) Fairly easy to do in a spreadsheet and then mailmerge it to labels.
3) Label all of your cables with the pairs so when you pick up a cable it has the same name at both ends     AAA------------AAA
4) Optional: buy different color cables for different clients or at least buy other colors for critical infrastructure

Here's the documentation part:
5) Creat a spreadsheet with all of the patch panel pairs listed on one page... but... make sure you list two empty columns next to each port number. Here's why... every patch panel should have a mated pair to it at the remote end so to track both ends of the pair use one description with two columns.

If you color-code the cables you can color-code the spreadsheet too showing the color of the cable with its name. If you like you can create a third column for comments such as something like "BBC to Widget, Inc.'s Switch"

The nice thing is that once the cables are labeled you can just do a FIND of the patch cable leters, e.g. Find: AAA,  in the spreadsheet to find both ends of the cable in a rack. AND you can be sure you have followed the right cable through a rack by finding the name at each end!

Look at the attached spreadsheet for an example.

Dan
Coloc-panel-example.xlsx
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Expert Comment

by:eeRoot
ID: 39640289
There is a freeware tool called "Dia" that can create basic 2D diagrams.  It is a nice free alternative to MS Visio. - https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Dia/Screenshots
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