Data Center Wiring Standards

Rick Kunkel kunkel at
Sat Sep 9 00:36:09 UTC 2006

Heya folks,

I hope this is on-topic.  I read the charter, and it falls somewhere along
the fuzzy border I think...

Can anyone tell me the standard way to deal with patch panels, racks, and
switches in a data center used for colocation?  I've a sneaking suspicion
that we're doing it in a fairly non-scalable way.  (I am not responsible
for the current method, and I think I'm glad to say that.)  Strangely
enough, I can find like NO resources on this.  I've spent the better part
of two hours looking.

Right now, we have a rack filled with nothing but patch panels.  We have
some switches in another rack, and colocation customers scattered around
other racks.  When a new customer comes in, we run a long wire from their
computer(s) and/or other device(s) to the patch panel.  Then, from the
appropriate block connectors on the back of the panel, we run another wire
that terminates in a RJ-45 to plug into the switch.

Sounds bonkers I think, doesn't it?

My thoughts go like this:  We put a patch panel in each rack.  Each of
these patch panels is permanently (more or less) wired to a patch panel in
our main patch cabinet.  So, essentially what you've got is a main patch
cabinet with a patch panel that corresponds to a patch panel in each other
cabinet.  Making connection is cinchy and only requires 3-6 foot
off-the-shelf cables.

Does that sound more correct?

I talked to someone else in the office here, and they believe that they've
seen it done with a switch in each cabinet, although they couldn't
remember is there was a patch panel as well.  If you're running 802.1q
trunks between a bunch of switches (no patch-panels needed), I can see
that working too, I suppose.

Any standards?  Best practices?  Suggestions?  Resources, in the form of
books, web pages, RFCs, or white papers?


Rick Kunkel

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