29 Oct 2007

29 Oct 2007

Server Cabinet Organization Tips

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Category: best practices, Server Cabinet Organization

Just in time for Halloween, check out this classic server room cabling nightmare at Tech Republic. Scary stuff.

Good data center design is a combination of high-level conceptual thinking and strategic planning, plus close attention to detail. Obviously, things like the cooling system and support infrastructure are critical to maintaining an always-available data center, but smaller things like well organized server cabinets can also contribute to the overall efficiency of a data center or computer room. That being said, I thought I’d share a few of our guidelines and best practices for organizing your cabinets.

In no particular order:

1. Place heavier equipment on the bottom, lighter equipment towards the top

2. Use blanking plates to fill equipment gaps to prevent hot air from re-circulating back to the front

3. Use a cabinet deep enough to accommodate cable organization and airflow in the rear of the cabinet

4. Use perforated front and rear doors when using the room for air distribution

5. Make sure doors can be locked for security

6. PTS prefers using a patch panel in each cabinet for data distribution. We typically install it in the top rear U’s, but are experimenting with vertical rear channel patch cable distribution

7. PTS prefers using vertical power strips in a rear channel of the cabinet with short power cords for server-to-power-strip distribution

8. While they are convenient, do not use cable management arms that fold the cables on the back of the server as they impede outlet airflow of the server

9. Don’t use roof fans without front-to-rear baffling. They suck as much cold air from the front as they do hot air from the rear.

10. Monitor air inlet temperature ¾ of the way up the front of the cabinet

11. Use U-numbered vertical rails to make mounting equipment easier

12. Have a cabinet numbering convention and floor layout map

13. Use color-coded cabling for different services

14. Separate power and network cabling distribution on opposite sides of the cabinet

15. PTS often uses the tops of the cabinet to facilitate cabinet-to-cabinet power and data cable distribution

As you can see, the little things do make a difference. And by instituting some or all of these, you’ll be one step closer to 24-7 availability.

Comments (3)

  1. Hasim INAL on 21st Oct 2008

    If you have to use cabinet roof fans, you also can block cold air on the cold aisle with blocking panels using from top front of one cabinet to opposite one.

  2. Anonymous on 18th Jan 2010

    For bundling and tying cable looms I use TyGrip(TM) which is a velcro tape on a roll that can be cut to length as required: it is also easy to release when adding further cables etc. Also, avoid using cable ties as these will rpaidly become brittle when exposed to heat and snap.

  3. Anonymous on 16th Nov 2011

    sorry if im repeating…

    1.) test your cables and make sure its standard A or B before putting on switch to panel connection, before fastening them out

    2.) remember warm air goes up and cold air goes down.

    3.) do not put aircon on top, warm air + aircon = moist or water, water + electornic = catastrophe

    4.) color code your cables, blue = going to patch panel, yellow patch to switch, red to servers, and another color for switch cascade connections

    5.) put your UPSes on separate cabinets if you have plenty to spare, UPS breaks faster than any other electrinics, make this cabinet very accessible and keep it far away from your core in case of emergency, its a good idea to use wheeled cabinet on them.

    6.) dont be a newbie in cabling, make sure you can see all the lights on switches and you cabling does not cover this lights in anyway, i would trade nice cable position with good switch lights positioning every time. this is a common mistake on 48 ports switches.

    7.) Have a dedicated room for server cabinets, this room must not be accessible unless physical interactions are needed. room can be glass walled and switch lights and other pilot light facing the glass wall so there is no need to enter the room just for monitorings sake.

    8.) install an emergency aircon at your server rooms. self explinatory.

    9.) know your cabinets priorities… self contained (internal airconditioned) for harse environment… sound proof for those noisy servers, simple mesh for just protection with good server room temperature… dont forget portability like wheels if your server cabinets move from one place to another for project based works.

    10.) check those cd-drive clearance, hot swap drives accessibility… if your server breaks down you must be able to have access to those parts without taking them out from their cabinets. note that some cabinets have removable sides and doors. they can help rather than taking the server or other devices our just for spare parts replacements.

    11.) network diagrams, switch port and patch panel terminations… hung them at the back of the server door and keep it update. self explinatory.

    12.) wifi wimax noobs note… dont put them inside the server cabinets. should be self explinatory but just for your sake, they interfere with your signals.

    13.) keep utp cables on one side and power cables on another

    14.) please have a fire extinguisher near ups cabinet… and please use the one that does not feed on eletrical fire.

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