Video: Cabling A Rack at SoftLayer

Good cable management is essential to maintaining order in a data center. What does this process look like? The data center team at SoftLayer provides a closer look. “Each of the network switches we use in a rack has at least 48 ports,” writes Kevin Hazard at the SoftLayer blog. “Now consider that each rack has two public network switches, two private network switches and one out-of-band management network switch that need to be connected to every SoftLayer server in the rack. That’s 240 pre-measured network cables that need to be labeled and routed to specific heights in each rack … without getting tangled and knotted up (see: behind your TV or under your computer desk). The cabling process is so precise that if a single cable is out of place, the zip-tie on an entire bundle will be cut, and the process is started from scratch.” Here’s a video of the rack cabling process, which runs about 4 minutes.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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  1. Pierce

    Thats a pretty amazing video, I don't know if I would have the patience to do that much cabeling for even one rack. But what I don't understand is the requirement for Public/Private setups and then a subsequent managment layer. I thought the point of modern day switches was the ability to configure them into a multitude of setups requiring one switch per rack? Heck what about one switch core per "unit" of servers? Maybe I am awfully naive into thinking this... But then I do read here, how critical it is to have the minimal amount of switches and cables to reduce PUE and less switches/cables means better air flow. What about using cable ties I thought that was a nono too as that was percieved to "choke" the cable and over bend it at each cable tie thus reducing bandwidth. Don't get me wrong, respect for the ability to install that much cabeling that nicely.

  2. john

    cray. sure does take some time

  3. Daniel Golding

    These guys are real pros. They put thought into minimizing cable runs to reduce capex. Pierce - you can't "choke" a cable. With fiber, you can exceed the bend radius, and it doesn't work. Otherwise, you're fine.

  4. Erik

    ty-wraps... tight bend radius... so many guys, and some stood around... speed was a bit slow too especially since they now have to go back, cut ties, and redo with velcro. pretty good, but could've been better.

  5. Call me a sad old trainspotter, but I love videos like this a lot of clients don't really know what they're buying. an fair enough they don't have to.... but the ones that are interested this could really be illuminating