Friday, November 13, 2009
Planning racks and cabling using Visio
For years, HP has been offering on visiocafe.com Visio stencils that help plan not only the racking and dispotition of your servers, but their cabling too. Everything, from blade servers, to SANs, to power distribution units is available. The drawings can be made quickly in a matter of minutes and every component uses the same scale. I can compare the stencils to a bunch of Lego blocks.
By preparing myself in advance using these stencils, I've been able to greatly reduce the the time it takes me to perform physical installations and evaluate precisely how many cables are needed before going on site. This is especially useful when dealing with unmanned data centers where things need to be done right on a unique visit. If you're not familiar with Visio, it is easy to learn, and I can assure you that you'll save time in the long run.
I also use the stencils when drawing maps of my environment, especially network-centric ones. By using the "real" device images instead of white boxes, I end up with maps that are readily understandable by IT staff and they look great!