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Re: Data Center Wiring Standards

  • From: Frank Coluccio
  • Date: Sat Sep 09 01:10:28 2006

I would add to the recommendations already stated by Mark and John the
folllowing: Depending on the dimensions of the colo in question and the length of
the cabling runs you plan to install, take note of the distance limitations of
STP for DS1 signals and the in-house coaxial connections for DS3 signals and
higher, which are (were) governed by ANSI/Bellcore, the last time I looked.
Fiber, likewise, must be coordinated with network element interfaces (GBICs, ST,
etc.) and here again distance is a major consideration. The latter may become an
issue in large structures, or in the event that you plan to run media between
buildings, or if you plan to interconnect with service providers at the f-o level
(Layer1).

For your optical media and connection hardware (patch panels, raceways, etc.),
have a long hard talk with at least two reputable fiber optic cable suppliers
(e.g., Corning, CommScope, Sumitomo, etc.) and develop an understanding about the
limitations and advantages of the various s-m and m-m options you have available
to you, per the types of solutions you need to implement and the distances they
dictate. Incoming fiber from the street (dark fiber providers, included) will be
single-mode, primarily, but the preponderance of your in-house cabling between
switches, routers and servers, if fiber distances are indicated, will be
multi-mode, requiring a different patch bay selection. 

Where distances permit (<100 meter channels) UTP should suffice for Ethernet
speeds up to 10Gb/sec now, with 10Gb/sec (10GBASE-T) ratified only recently (I'm
quite certain), but I suggest reading the following article from Cabling
Installation & Maintenance Magazine, just the same. 

http://tinyurl.com/mrack

Note, Cat5e and vanilla Cat6 will not suffice (perhaps a Cat6A will, not sure at
this stage, but do your homework before purchasing anyone's Cat7)  for 10GbE (it
may work, but your hardware vendors will not honor warranties when problems
arise), so be prepared to make some long range planning decisions in coming to
terms with a cabling plant that's going to last you a while. HTH.

Frank A. Coluccio
DTI Consulting Inc.
212-587-8150 Office
347-526-6788 Mobile

On Fri Sep  8 23:31 , John L Lee  sent:

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>Rick,
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>The organization and standards you are looking for are:
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>BICSI  -  http://www.bicsi.org/ and TIA/EIA 568 et al for structured
>cabling design for low voltage distribution.
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>The BICSI organization has training and certification for RCDD
>Registered Communications Distribution Designer
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>A BICSI article that is on there web site about data center design is
>http://www.bicsi.org/Content/Files/PDF/link2006/Kacperski.pdf.
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>TIA/EIA 568(ab) how ever many they are up to discuss structured cabling
>design for UTP/STP/fiber/coax including patch cables single and multi
>pair UTP/STP/fiber  patch panels,  HVAC control, fire system control
>and security systems.
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>John (ISDN) Lee 
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>Rick Kunkel wrote:
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>  Heya folks,
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>I hope this is on-topic.  I read the charter, and it falls somewhere along
>the fuzzy border I think...
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>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.
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>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.
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>Sounds bonkers I think, doesn't it?
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>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.
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>Does that sound more correct?
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>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.
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>Any standards?  Best practices?  Suggestions?  Resources, in the form of
>books, web pages, RFCs, or white papers?
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>Thanks!
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>Rick Kunkel
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