One current project in the datashed is to re-do most of the cabling, and adopt TIA-606-B labeling standards throughout. The original cabling was homemade from solid-core Cat5e, and a number of other mismatched cables had crept into the setup. Also, there was no rhyme or reason to the order in which cables were connected to the switch, so multiple cables originating from the same server would be scattered randomly among the 48 ports of the switch, making VLAN changes and other network maintenance tasks difficult.
The new cables are premade Cat6a cables, blue for regular data and green for machines on the management VLAN, and left-to-right on the switch represents left-to-right, top-to-bottom in the rack, for each grouping (blue and green) of cables.
The TIA-606-B standard dictates a consistent approach for labeling network cables. Here is an example of TIA-606-B label text:
I’ll break this down:
- 1DCA represents the floor and building, in this case “1st floor, data center A”
- C02 represents the location within 1DCA (C02 for Cabinet 2). TIA-606-B suggests using grid coordinates denoted by raised floor tiles for this part, but allows for custom nomenclature in data centers where grid coordinates aren’t feasible: I have only four racks (C01, C02, C03, and C04) in my facility, and no raised floors.
- 36 represents the location at which the equipment is installed within the rack, as numbers of rack units from the floor (i.e. the lowest position in the rack is 1, and the number increases as you move towards the ceiling). Note that in cases where a piece of equipment occupies more than a single rack unit, the number is the uppermost rack position in which the equipment resides.
- 1 represents the port number on the equipment.
So, 1DCA.C02-36:1 represents the first port in the top-of-rack switch in cabinet 2 in the first floor of data center A.
I plan to label each network cable in the facility with the TIA-606-B designation of the equipment at its opposite end, with the exception of trunks that connect top-of-rack switches to the core, or this building to the main house, which will be labeled at each end with the identifiers of both ends. I believe this approach to be compliant.
I have ordered a Brady BMP-21 label printer in order to complete this project, which is capable of producing self-laminating wraparound labels perfect for this use case.
The below pictures are of 1DCA.C02 (formerly CAB 02) after having its cables replaced and neatly bundled.