Reasons for Re-Cabling Your Data Center Part #1

Reasons for Re-Cabling Your Data Center Part #1

In the first of a multi part post we will be exploring the key reasons data center managers should consider and how to implement a comprehensive approach when re-cabling their data centers.

Re-cabling the optical infrastructure in your data center is a daunting task. There are so many factors to think about, and that is just dealing with the physical cabling! There are other factors that must be negotiated. Typically this job will involve some amount of downtime for the data center. That adds on a lot of planning, politicking and action items. Best practice tells us to start at the beginning and move forward from there.

T he "beginning" is examining WHY this may need to be done in the first plac e. If this is k ept in mind, the goals of the project can be met and it really shouldn???t hurt that bad???

One of the major reasons the upgrade is needed is the rapid demand for more and more enterprise storage. What started with a few servers and possibly a mainframe a decade ago has now looks like a junkyard of hardware from various manufacturers that are tied together with an assortment of point to point fiber jumpers that an archeologist would have trouble separating.

Don???t take it too personally; most of us didn???t see this amount of growth coming. Enterprise storage has grown 30% year over year for the past 5 years! It???s not finished either; it is projected to grow at the same rate for the next 5 years as well! To handle all these storage needs, a cabling infrastructure must be modular and scalable. Running jumpers from point to point (directly connecting from one piece of hardware to another via duplex fiber optic patch cord) will simply not work.

Another reason is global IP traffic. This is expected to quadruple in the next four years. Video is one of the key factors here. People are visual, and video is so effective for so many business drivers (not to mention those funny or cute videos) that there is little chance of this demand shrinking. An optical infrastructure will need to handle the massive bandwidth required. Think of plumbing for this example. The typical fiber infrastructure will have a hundreds of ???small pipes??? running in every direction. These have come from years of smaller hardware upgrades where the old cabling could not be disturbed in fear of causing an outage. This has been the vicious cycle of the data center fiber optical infrastructure.



There are other issues that are prevalent as well.  Unreliable cabling is a big culprit for ???random??? downtime??? These always tend to happen at the worst times. Fiber optic assemblies may all look very similar, but there are so many shortcuts that can be taking the manufacturing process that degrade the quality of the cable, yet are completely unseen to the naked eye???. Like ticking time bombs, just waiting to be unplugged and then plugged back in and. SNAP, broken fiber at 2PM on a Saturday right before your daughter???s birthday party???

 

There are more reasons, but these are the major and most common ones. The next topic to address will be what to think about when planning for this job.