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Connecting B5G and x450


Userlevel 2
I'm working on a solution to better cable my data center cabinets.

Currently: The prior admin ran cabling from the servers to a patch panel at the top of each rack, which then was cabled across the racks to the core. The "patch panel" was just a male to male adapter with marking and created a lot of cabling across the cabinets (1:1 cables). The issue is it takes up a lot of space, runs cabling through racks and creates additional points of failure.

Proposed: At the top of each rack I'd like to setup a X450 with two 10GE ports lagged to my S4 Core. Each x450 doesn't have the density to cover all the ports needs in each cabinet. I'd like to use B5G's for the additional ports. I was thinking to use two stacked B5G's with at least a 2 port lag (2gb) across the stack (1 to each individual B5G). I would then run the server cabling to the top of the rack and run just two fiber links across the racks to the S4 core.

Other considerations: I'm using all equipment we currently have on hand and do not have budget for anything other than adding the 10gb SFP+ ports to my S4 core. And even then...

So my question is does this setup make sense at all? I could increase the lags to 4 from the B5G's to the x450 so I'd have a 4gb connection up to the x450 (verticle), which has a 20gb lag to the S4 (horizontal). Removes the 20-30 CAT5e cables running through the cabinets horizontally as well.

Currently all servers in each rack have a 1gb connection to the S4 but many do not need dedicated 1gb bandwidth.

Guess I'm just looking for a few opinions before I spend several days pulling and re-running cables etc.

Thoughts?

4 replies

Userlevel 2
Unless you're struggling with port density on your S4 core, have proper patch panels put in and have the cabling between cabinets properly managed. You should save money with this approach and end up with a better product. This is the standard way to connect a small data center.

Adding switches to each rack will not decrease your points of failure, in fact I think it would have the opposite effect. You're also increasing your managment presence with that approach.
Userlevel 2
Terren Crider wrote:

Unless you're struggling with port density on your S4 core, have proper patch panels put in and have the cabling between cabinets properly managed. You should save money with this approach and end up with a better product. This is the standard way to connect a small data center.

Adding switches to each rack will not decrease your points of failure, in fact I think it would have the opposite effect. You're also increasing your managment presence with that approach.

Thanks for your feedback.

Actually we are almost maxed on the S4 and we need more ports. Forgot about that aspect.

When you say proper patch panels, could you elaborate? I've seen so many poorly done cabinets that at times it's hard to know what's best. LOL
Userlevel 2
Terren Crider wrote:

Unless you're struggling with port density on your S4 core, have proper patch panels put in and have the cabling between cabinets properly managed. You should save money with this approach and end up with a better product. This is the standard way to connect a small data center.

Adding switches to each rack will not decrease your points of failure, in fact I think it would have the opposite effect. You're also increasing your managment presence with that approach.

In my NOC, I've got several racks with servers, and a rack that has 2 S4s LAG'd together and running VRRP.

Each server rack has one or two 48 port patch panels at the top. CAT 6 is punched down on the back of the panel and the bundle of cable runs along cable trays above the racks to another patch panel in the S4 rack. The cables are patched in kind (matching number for number) on that panel.

All in all, I think I have about 12 patch panels in my S4 rack. Each server is dual NIC'd and has a connection to both S4s. So it works out like this:

Server 1 in rack 1 is patched to port 1 on the panel. This is connected to the rack 1 panel in the S4 rack. Port 1 is patched to S4.

All that not withstanding, if you need more ports you have a different problem. Another core switch would be my answer to that problem. Or, if you have room for option modules on your S4 blades or could get more port dense blades that would be preferrable.
Userlevel 2
Terren Crider wrote:

Unless you're struggling with port density on your S4 core, have proper patch panels put in and have the cabling between cabinets properly managed. You should save money with this approach and end up with a better product. This is the standard way to connect a small data center.

Adding switches to each rack will not decrease your points of failure, in fact I think it would have the opposite effect. You're also increasing your managment presence with that approach.

Thanks for the details, that helps. I'm familiar with what you are describing which is helpful.

We have only room for one more option module on the S4.

Physically we have extremely limited space. Placing patch panels in the cabinet with the S4 might be impossible. However your description is very helpful.

This will definitely make me re-think what we had planned and might actually tip us off to a better design overall.

Thanks a bunch for the brainstorming.

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