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Lets say I have a forward facing switch, but all the server's NICs are rear facing. What is the proper way to get the CAT cables from the front to the rear of the rack in a way that doesn't open an air-flow hole(s)?

A patch panel seems like overkill to me, but let me know if I am wrong...

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

You'll probably want a brush strip. It sits below the switch and you feed the cables through it to the back of your servers.

Brush Strip

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Like that.

enter image description here

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+1 for the beautiful cable pr0n. – voretaq7 Oct 23 '11 at 21:35

Lets say I have a forward facing switch, but all the server's NICs are rear facing.

Install the switch in reverse. At the bottom, so it does not suck in the hot air from the servers. This is what I did - keeps your life a lot easier.

NO idea why people are not smart enough to also build back facing switches.

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Probably because you have no eyes in the rear. One likes to see that flashy LEDs. Okay, as I write this I notice that it would be a good idea to have the ports in the rear and the LEDs on the front. Currently going to patent office... – mailq Oct 23 '11 at 19:52
The new Juniper EX3300 switches have a reverse airflow version. It's a shame its basically just an L2 switch though. It will do L3, but doesn't support dynamic routing protocols. Also the stacking protocol is only 10Gb instead of 32Gb like the EX4200 >:O – SpacemanSpiff Oct 23 '11 at 19:59
The intake vents are usually on the back of a switch so they are even designed to be installed ports to rear. – JamesRyan Sep 25 '15 at 16:26

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