The Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA) has published a white paper entitled ‘Navigating the Pros and Cons of Structured Cabling Versus Top of Rack in the Data Centre’, which it offers as a guide for data centre professionals and IT managers considering infrastructure topology. The white paper examines the many factors to consider when evaluating top of rack (ToR) and structured cabling configurations, including impact on total management; scalability and upgrades; interoperability; equipment, maintenance and cabling costs; port utilization; power consumption and cooling requirements.
According to the CCCA, there is no single cabling configuration suitable for every data centre and so it recommends that CIOs, data centre professionals and IT managers examine the pros and cons of each solution based on their specific needs. Considerations listed include bandwidth demand and scalability, server virtualization, high-performance switching capabilities and higher densities. The paper goes on to suggest that today’s data centre cabling configuration choices are also impacted by the need to lower power consumption and ensure efficient cooling of critical equipment, as well as by budget constraints and management structure.
According to the CCCA paper, the choice of cabling system has a major impact on cost. Contained in the document is a price comparison that demonstrates a cost differential between the two topologies of over $2million, based upon set up and three years of operation of an exemplar 39-cabinet data centre.
“The pace at which data centre hardware and space configuration changes is daunting. The CCCA recognised both a need and an opportunity to help data centre cabling decision makers by providing the latest studies, options and expert views from the industry’s leading cable and connectivity manufacturers,” states executive director Frank Peri. “As with our other working groups, the goal of the CCCA data centre committee is to add our voice to the development of industry codes, standards and other important resources. This white paper is the first of many planned contributions.”
Supporting the white paper, Bob Carlson of the Siemon Company and chair of the CCCA data centre committee explains, “The global data centre environment is dynamic and challenging for those designing the cabling network. Cabling system design and topology choices have a significant impact on server and port utilization, operating efficiencies and even energy consumption. The new committee strives to provide information and insights that are relevant globally to assist design professionals and end users to make well-informed cabling decisions.”
The CCCA is comprised of leading manufacturers, distributors and material suppliers who are committed to serve as a major resource for well-researched, fact-based information on the technologies and issues vital to the structured cabling industry.