Server Room

Work is coming along nicely with the Server Room, we’ve now removed the last Cisco switch from our infrastructure and the HP 5400R series switch is deployed replacing the 2530 that was in its place; over time we’ll be bringing more fibre from our edge switches into this room as well hence the number of SFP+ ports on the 5400R. The entire front of the cabinet is now populated with hardware or a blanking panel as well (panels available from Comms Express) to keep things looking tidy. I wish there were a little more that I could do with the cables coming into the 5400R however with a very narrow rack there’s not much that can be done.

Some interesting things have come out of both Rucks and PaloAlto recently in that they offer Hyper-V compatible VMs for their services which could free up a further 3U of space and remove a further 4-6 cables out of the picture.

WP_20151112_10_34_28_RawAs part of an ongoing project to improve the room today we’ve been installing a set of rails for a pair of Dell PowerEdge T430 servers. You may have noticed the ‘T’ in the T430 to indicate they are tower servers but Dell provides a 5U rack conversion kit which is pretty easy to install.

One small question came up while putting the rails in – ‘Where do I mount the rails in relation to the 5U of space in the rack?’ to answer that question the bottom of the rails go at the bottom of the 5Us of space. Hopefully the image to the right illustrates this better!

A typical issue for administrators of small server rooms (perhaps only one or two racks) is keeping cables tidy between servers (which have their network ports on the back) and network switches (which have their network ports on the front).

One way of reducing this problem is to have a patch panel at the front of the cabinet and a patch panel at the rear; this way your patch leads can be significantly shorter as well as making it easier to trace cables. In my implementation of this design the final 6 ports of the rear patch panel are dedicated to the KVM (which uses a USB/VGA to network cable adapter) to further simplify the cabling.

The photos and Visio drawing below show how things are organised now and how they will be in the not so distant future with up to 4Us of space allowed for a network switch directly above the front server patch panel.