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111

In no particular order here are some suggestions that have been helpful to me over the years- Can any of the equipment in those racks be eliminated, upgraded or consolidated? It's hard to tell what's there, but in my experience these kinds of messes tend to be aggravated by gear that should have been pulled out years ago. Once you've got some idea of the ...


108

Please call a cabling contractor in to spend a day or two onsite to "dress" your cables. I used to spend time dealing with this type of work on my own, but realize that cabling contractors are faster and more organized. A good cabling contractor is better at this than you are! They will have the right resources to tag, test, get custom lengths, dress ...


49

A co-worker and I recently cleaned up a mess that was pretty bad (I might post pictures later if I get some time) and I wholeheartedly disagree with the contractor approach. You will learn significantly more about the system itself and what deficiencies it has if you do the work yourself. Also when you make a mistake, as you or any other mortal is likely ...


42

My sympathies to you. I was tasked with a similar problem for a number of cabinets, equally as horrendous. The approach I took was as follows: Use a spread sheet to make a list of which port is connected to which port on which piece of equipment (arduous manual process of cable tracking). Try to use a spread sheet cell to represent a port, and order ...


42

Use cables as close to the correct length as possible. Spare cable should be coiled away from the concentrator - so spare power cable gets coiled next to the machine, not the powerstrip, and spare network cable next to the machine, not the hub. Don't be stingy with cable ties, be they zip ties or velcro pulls. When in doubt, use an extra, and don't ...


30

Here's what I do Label each cable I have a brother P-Touch labeler that I use. Each cable gets a label on both ends. This is because if I unplug something from a switch, I want to know where to plug it back into, and vice versa on the server end. There are two methods that you can use to label your cables with a generic labeler. You can run the label ...


29

Color coding, shorter cables, and zap straps help. Probably most important - label both ends of each cable as to where the other end goes. -added- Keep a couple of long, brightly colored (ie. really ugly) cables handy somewhere, for when you need a temporary cable. They will look out of place and help you remember to replace them with properly labeled ...


22

I've actually seen worse! I suggest you start documenting for rigth now, (per patch port <-> switch port). Start planning the logical placement of your infrastructure and clients on your switch(es): Infrastructure (router/switches/servers) (switch A: ports 1-20) Clients (Switch B: ports 20-40)... (Also, might want to keep VLAN memberships somewhat ...


19

Switches need to be reverse mounted (ie, their ports should face the same way that the server ports do, toward the back of the rack). Also, maybe you can get some use from this: http://www.standalone-sysadmin.com/blog/2008/06/howto-racks-and-rackmounting/


18

It is probably not place at the bottom accidentally. Typically the UPS is the heaviest thing in the rack. Meaning it is easiest to install it at the bottom where you don't have to lift it up. One might argue, that putting the heaviest things at the bottom should also make it more stable. If it was top-heavy, and not bolted down, then there is the remote ...


18

Always, always, always take the time to strip out those cables you aren't using anymore. Pull it all the way out of the rack/patch panel, coil it up and put it away (or throw it away, as appropriate). And when you're getting rid of dodgy cables. Cut off one or both ends. They will come back and haunt you if you don't.


18

Coming from a webhosting env. We dealt with hundreds of servers some of which were always moving based on contract changes. I don't care for them and prefer velcro instead. IMO, if you're going to pull a server from a rack to do something inside the case it should be off. Hot swappable drives are all accessible from the front. It was one more thing I ...


17

This is a patch panel: From Wikipedia: A patch panel or patch bay is a panel, typically rackmounted, that houses cable connections. One typically shorter patch cable will plug into the front side, whereas the back holds the connection of a much longer and more permanent cable. The assembly of hardware is arranged so that a number ...


16

Because typically, networking gear goes into its own racks, and servers go into their own racks. The network rack will often have patch panels in it, also on the front, so that the cables all just go into cable management - on the side of the racks and/or across the front of the racks.


16

All these answers are incorrect because they omit the critical first step: Define the project. Before you can use any of these ideas (many of which are very good), you need to be able to answer the following questions with absolute certainty What systems you are touching-- when and for how long can they go down? Which departments will be hit and when will ...


15

If you cannot (for whatever reason; it's usually that the company doesn't want to spend the money) get a contractor: Schedule a weekend outage. Nothing will be guaranteed to work during this time. If you can do full shutdowns, so much the better. Get the boss to agree to comp your food, drink, and time. Beforehand, map each cable run, source and ...


14

I like to use 1U front and rear cable management above and below my patch panels. This mostly applies to 2-post installs... As for the cabling bundle, it should be secured zip-tied and routed appropriately... However, a 4-post example from my past... Size the run, bundle with slack, secure along the side of cabinet...


14

It will take some time, but the results will be worth it... Step 1: Document the mess so you know what is connected to every switch port and patch panel (Switch, port, patch, VLAN). Step 2: Start with one switch and clear the deck: configure a port on another switch with the appropriate VLAN move the patch to the newly-configured switch port verify ...


13

You're better off using a tone generator/probe kit. It's going to be quicker in the long run and less prone to incorrect results. I would suggest using a different wiring contractor next time and specifiying that you need them to label the ports at the jack and the patch panel.


13

Be aware that this is going to take HOURS UPON HOURS to get straightened out. It is long, tedious work. My suggestion for the process in the server room .. 1- build a structure for how plugs are identified. Label as necessary to make it clear. 2- install some cable management on the rack. If you can't get or find premade ones, use cable ties, make them ...


12

Horizontal PDUs are a mess -- In my experience there's nothing that can be done to make these neat: You can bundle your cables neatly down the side of your rack, but when you get to the PDU they fan out into a rat's nest. For vertical ("Zero-U") PDUs you can acquire custom-length power cables (they're available from various suppliers, usually in the same ...


11

splattne has covered what a patch panel is, and why it's different to a switch. To answer the last part of your question: the reason that host network connections don't go direct to switches is generally to do with ease of management. For example, desk locations on an office floor can be cabled back to a wiring closet patch panel which is labeled with the ...


11

If you can get a contractor to take care of it as ewwhite suggests, then let them figure it out. Otherwise: I'd start by identifying exactly where everything is and where it goes. I'd suggest keeping an inventory (simple spreadsheet should work to start) of each device and it's connections, VLANs, source port, destination port, IPs, and any ...


11

So there are a few things in play here. Model/make of rack? Photos? Perhaps your rack isn't deep enough to accommodate everything... I'm assuming you're not using HP racks. APC, maybe? Either way, see if there's some flexibility in where you can place your vertical rails on the enclosure. If there's some fore-aft slack, that could be a solution. Pro-tip... ...


10

I saw this because of Matt's blog post, I responded to that, but here are some highlights. Keep power cables as far from ethernet cables as possible This is dependent on your site, but the worst cabling disasters I've dealt with are when people slavishly run power cables and ethernet cables up and down the sides of the rack. It seems like a great idea in ...


10

The problem is one extra word in this sentence: It seems like a nice idea to ensure that you have enough cable slack to be able to pull a running server out of a rack without worrying about accidentally unplugging a cable, but how many times is this really done? Take the word "running" out of the sentence, and you'll see the light. Cable management arms ...


9

There are a lot of things that prevent a direct answer to this question and should be considered before doing this: Fire codes in your area Regulatory requirements on your datacenter Warranty coverage by your UPS vendor Length of the extension and proper load calculation to prevent fire hazards Personally I would HIGHLY recommend either of the following: ...


9

Wow is all I can say. Here are my suggestions for all it's worth: Don't look to tackle this in a specific time frame. With a mess like this there's no need to put undue pressure on yourself to have it cleaned up by X date. Map out and document all of the physical connections (port x on device X connects to port x on device y, etc.). Map out the network ...


8

I am amazed no one else has already said this: Yes document, record, spreadsheet etc etc but photo photo photo and more photos. They won't help you put it back together, but they will save you going insane when you inevitably have to problem solve. Plus when it all goes wrong they will serve as a reminder why never to do it again! :) I also like the ...


8

Be consistent!!!! I don't care what colors you use for what, but always use the same ones. I don't care if the vertical run between units is on the right or the left, but always put it on the same side. I think you get the idea. If it doesn't look neat, it isn't. Pick some pattern, some system and follow it. A touch of OCD doesn't hurt. (apology in ...



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