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patch panel risks and best practice

Posted on 2014-02-03
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Can I ask what from a laymans risk perspective (management level not tech), what exactly a patch panel does in terms of a data centre? What risks there are if the patch panel isnt set up properly / managed properly? using you expertese what exactly would you look for in terms of config of patch panel/management of patch panel to mitigate any risks associated with such hardware?
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Question by:pma111
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jhyiesla earned 250 total points
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In a data center you almost need a patch panel of some kind. Basically there are two kinds. One is the cable coming into a 110 block where you make your connections between the wall field and the switch ports. While most people don't go that direction, it is a little less bulky and cleaner than the standard Ethernet patch panel.

Ethernet ones are easier to maintain from a change standpoint as all you have to do is plug and unplug to make a change.  The downsides to this is that to do it well, you really have to plan out your routing of the cables otherwise it looks like a mess and it's hard to find the open switch ports as the switches fill up. Also, if you have a lot of cables, even if it's laid out neatly, finding one in the middle of a bundle of 30-50 cables can some times be problematic. I still think that they are better than the older 110 block connectors.

Something you can do to help you keep track of things is to use colored cables for different things. For example, use gray for computers coming into the room to the switch, yellow for servers, blue for printers, etc. It's not critical, but it does help.
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by:Infamus
Infamus earned 250 total points
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I think you will find this answer to your question, very simply explained.

http://serverfault.com/questions/42899/what-is-a-patch-panel
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by:pma111
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so theres not really any risks associated with them, or not much an admin can get wrong?
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by:jhyiesla
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Not really.  Sure a port can fail and people can plug in the wrong things, but that can happen anywhere and, as I said up front, in a data center it's hard to do without a patch panel. Sure, you can bring in your feeds and terminate them directly into a switch, but the patch panel gives you more flexibility.
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