Implementation Day

I’ve been meaning to write more on the topic of Data Protection, but I’ve been slammed with implementation of equipment we’ve purchased at my “day job”.    Its been several weeks of 12 hour days, but it has been fun.  We’re implementing a much overdue overhaul of our storage environments with new EMC and NetApp gear, backup infrastructure, and implementation of new segregated 16Gb FC SAN’s from Brocade.

On top of bringing all of this new storage infrastructure online and migrating the servers over with little to no impact to end users, we’re also making big changes to the way the datacenter has been built out in general.  New, larger cabinets from Great Lakes that accommodate power and cable management troughs inside the cabinet bring much needed tidiness to the datacenter.  The biggest change has been my personal pet project since joining the group last November.  We have finally been able to move away from the old home run out-of-spec patch cables to cassette based patch panels with OM3 spec infrastructure cabling with MTP connectors.

I’ve used Ortronics high density patch panels in the past, but this implementation I went with their 1U Ultra High Density (UHD) patch panels with the Momentum 6 cassettes.  Each 1U panel actually has 3 independent pull out shelves that provide 72 pairs of fiber per RU.  The UHD panel design is a big departure from lower density panels from Ortronics and other brands, and does a really good job of keeping things manageable as long as you run the patch cables with sufficient slack and use a judicious amount of velcro wraps to keep cables in smart bundles.

If you haven’t used MTP cables before, I can’t rave enough about them.  They are essentially high density trunk cables that break out in a 12 strand connector.  They can be disconnected and reconnected as needed, as opposed to standard trunk cables that break out into individual strands that must be polished and glued into the patch panel.  The obvious advantage here is quick and easy installation, but the ability to easily disconnect a patch panel and move it to a different cabinet is huge in a datacenter like ours that is in flux as we renovate cabinet by cabinet.   The increased cost of the cables are offset by lower install costs, and MTP will save you money in the long run if you ever have to move a panel.