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Re: Data Center Wiring Standards

  • From: Bill Sehmel
  • Date: Fri Sep 08 21:54:40 2006

Rick Kunkel wrote:
Heya folks,

I hope this is on-topic. I read the charter, and it falls somewhere along
the fuzzy border I think...

Can anyone tell me the standard way to deal with patch panels, racks, and
switches in a data center used for colocation? I've a sneaking suspicion
that we're doing it in a fairly non-scalable way. (I am not responsible
for the current method, and I think I'm glad to say that.) Strangely
enough, I can find like NO resources on this. I've spent the better part
of two hours looking.

Right now, we have a rack filled with nothing but patch panels. We have
some switches in another rack, and colocation customers scattered around
other racks. When a new customer comes in, we run a long wire from their
computer(s) and/or other device(s) to the patch panel. Then, from the
appropriate block connectors on the back of the panel, we run another wire
that terminates in a RJ-45 to plug into the switch.

Sounds bonkers I think, doesn't it?

My thoughts go like this: We put a patch panel in each rack. Each of
these patch panels is permanently (more or less) wired to a patch panel in
our main patch cabinet. So, essentially what you've got is a main patch
cabinet with a patch panel that corresponds to a patch panel in each other
cabinet. Making connection is cinchy and only requires 3-6 foot
off-the-shelf cables.

Does that sound more correct?

I talked to someone else in the office here, and they believe that they've
seen it done with a switch in each cabinet, although they couldn't
remember is there was a patch panel as well. If you're running 802.1q
trunks between a bunch of switches (no patch-panels needed), I can see
that working too, I suppose.

Any standards? Best practices? Suggestions? Resources, in the form of
books, web pages, RFCs, or white papers?


Rick Kunkel

Ideally from each core router would go to a two distribution-a switch (Cat 4900 or something similar), from both dist-a switch then go to two bigger distribution (dist-b) switches (cat 6500 etc) Then from each 6500 go to there own patch panels. Then from the two patch panels run a cables to access level (2900's etc) switches in each rack / shelf. This way you have full redundancy in each shelf for your co-located / dedicated customers.

My .02 cents

-Bill Sehmel


Bill Sehmel - -- 1-703-288-3081
Systems Administrator, HopOne Internet Corp. DCA2 NOC
Bandwidth & full range of carrier/web host colo + networking
services: ASN 14361

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