With the move to a new organization comes some adjustment and occasionally some surprises. While my last employer was very rigid and bureaucratic, my new employer is extremely flexible, deplores ‘process for the sake of process’ and is extremely fast paced. There are pros and cons to everything in life although I’m not going to talk about my employers today.
Instead let’s talk about patching in the closet, sometimes referred to as the ICR (Intermediate Communications Room) but more often referred to as the IDF (Intermediate Distribution Frame). There are a few different mindsets when it comes to patching the data jack to the network switch. Some organizations, including my new employer, believe in 100% patching to eliminate the need for any local technician to patch ports. Some organizations believe in running lots of cabling, and only patching what’s needed at that point in time. In July 2012 I showed off some of the closets that I personally built and others that I inherited in a post titled, Wiring Closets – Done Right!
Here’s a recently constructed IDF with a stack of Cisco 3850X switches and 6″ patch cables. It looks pretty clean doesn’t it? Although, you can see that the 6″ patch cable doesn’t allow too many options when patching the data jack. You essentially need to connect the data jack to the switch port either directly above or below the patch panel.
I would probably personally choose a 1′ patch cable to allow a little more freedom and slack. There are no free rack units in that layout so replacing a failed switch will require the engineer to label some if not all of the ports, remove the cables, remove the failed switch and reverse the process. In previous switch stack deployments I had left 1 open RU below every switch so a technician could place a new switch in the rack (put the switch in from the rear if necessary then install the ears) and then just move the patch cables to the new switch.
There are pros and cons to each approach, it really depends on the organization and what makes sense for them and how they do business.
How to you patch your closets?
Are you still using chassis based switches?