The Importance of Planning
Planning is important in order to go through with the required cabling activity. You may have to either install wiring in a new data center or replace the older wiring in an older data center looking for network improvements. You will need to go through the basics of the transmission media which is used for cabling. The upgrading of an existing center will require you to first analyze and understand the current cabling scheme, in order to replace it with a better infrastructure.
The documentation of the network topologies is important and it can be done using a tool such as Microsoft Visio. This document needs to include and describe all the physical components of the network. It should describe the different cables used to connect equipment racks and also note down the number of used cables as well as the porting schemes employed when connecting them. This documentation should include important parameters such as cabling distances, and should also mark down any problems and concerns that are due to appear during a cabling project.
There needs to be a plan that contains the details of using both the optical fiber and copper transmission medium. An ideal network topology ensures that it uses all the available options and brings about flexibility in the design. An arrangement of network patching will also need to be developed in order to describe the mechanism of communication between the different devices within the data center.
Structured Cabling Design Approach
The structured cabling approach is necessary for making cable connections and understanding how the cables will be identified and added to the network in the future. The system needs to cover all aspects of the cabling, which ensures there is no need for reactive deployments. The use of a structured system design is essential to later perform diagnostics and ensure reliable connections.
A structured approach starts with the creation of a Main Distribution Area (MDA) which can support a lower tier of Horizontal Distribution Areas (HDAs). Racks that allow for cable management also need to be installed within the system. The MDA and the HDAs need to be designed in order to accommodate future loads, as they contain the physical cabling within the cabling layouts. The MDA contains all the connections that connect the different sections (HDAs) of the data center to the core equipment. Each HAD on the other hand, allows individual Equipment Distribution Areas (EDAs) to connect together. Each EDA will accommodate network servers and storage facilities using patch panels.
Figure 1: The Top View of a Data Center with Different Distribution Areas
The planning starts from designing the layout of the individual equipments which form the lowest tier of devices in a data center. Horizontal cabling scheme is ideal for connecting EDAs to their respective HAD. The flexibility in terms of connectivity is implemented by creating a diverse cabling system, which is able to run both the copper-based Ethernet and the fiber-based Fiber Channel. It is important to implement the support of the current and future port needs. You need to always plan for future expansion and leave room for the future ports and cables. This saves a lot of trouble during a future growth of the center.
Figure 2: Logic Diagram for Cabling between an HDA and Different EDAs
There are different challenges that appear during different cabling projects. The knowledge of the industry standards of TIA-942 and TIA/EIA-568 is crucial in understanding the cabling structures. The individual components are all quite important and take part in creating the complete cabling infrastructure. Here is a guide for cabling:
- Start by selecting the network topology that includes all the required components.
- Now identify the distribution points in the cabling network and also note down their physical locations. This is essential for identifying the cabling components in each of the distribution areas.
- A logical model of cabling should be created and then matched with the physical cabling installed in the data center. You should leave space for the required ports and cabling. The required quantities include leaving room for future growth of the network.
- Hire a Teledata Technologies and work with them in order to properly survey the data center and note down the physical locations for distributing the main cables. The survey should ideally start with the MDA and consequently move on to the individual EDAs. According to the TIA-942, it is essential to have one main distribution area.
Figure 3: A Horizontal Distribution Area
Teledata Technologies and Networx will work with you through the entire process of creating a structed cabling plan for your data center either onsite or at one of our Data Centers.
Check out the previous blog on Cabling a Data Center here.