The Super Internet (Wall of Ethernet Cable)

I’m not sure what causes this as I’ve never admin’ed a data center or ISP before… but for those of you out there that have or have been in a server-farm-room, do they honestly get like this some times? How is this shit even manageable?

(Click to enlarge)

Super Internet - Wall of Ethernet Cable

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About Riyad Kalla

Software development, video games, writing, reading and anything shiny. I ultimately just want to provide a resource that helps people and if I can't do that, then at least make them laugh.

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21 Responses to “The Super Internet (Wall of Ethernet Cable)”

  1. tdod November 15, 2007 at 9:24 am #

    Ah! Now my crappy ISP service at home suddenly makes sense. I think this picture is of my local Comcast center. This must be why they told me I should expect 48 hours if I wanted to provision a new modem.

  2. Jens November 15, 2007 at 10:05 am #

    makes you wanna take just *one* out and see how long it takes someone to notice. it would either be critical and the world explode, or it would ruin some exec’s intranet lunch menu access and just cause annoyance.

  3. Riyad Kalla November 15, 2007 at 10:14 am #

    Haha. Running down the isle with nail clippers, clipping random ones.

    Poor system admin :(

  4. Robert November 15, 2007 at 3:42 pm #

    …wow! That looks like a raised floor (where the cables are supposed to go). –maybe they have a rodent problem down there and had to run the cables up above (this can happen!)??

  5. LKM-1 acitp,mcse April 7, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    If i was a network/server engineer for that company,i would probably kill anyone who says that there seems to be problem somewhere in the farm…it would be easier.

  6. Riyad Kalla April 7, 2008 at 5:08 pm #

    Haha, probably true. You could just wrap the body up in all the cables and hide it.

    • Tausney February 28, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      Ha. I’m picturing Superman III, the bit where the woman gets pulled into the machine.

      • Riyad Kalla March 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

        That scene scared the hell out of me as a kid. I thought computers would eat me.

  7. jay January 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    the raised floor is because water runs under it to keep it cool, yes there water cooled eachof those wires is a connection point for each house and that size of grid would be only for a town with about 20,000 houses, but they dont get any bigger than that, if a town had 100,000 houses it would have just 5 of them, and yes that whay they tell you it takes 48 hours to connect your service because they have to go to that grid and literly plug you in, same as dissconnecting you its not a touch of a button like most think…..but on a plus note all those wires are like a huge book and they all in order if you sniped one with a (nail clippers) the computer would see that a connection has been lost on a wire and will tell you even which wire it was 3 min job to find and fix, look really messey but in fact a 10 year old could work out and tell you what wire has been cut ..
    sorry for the long reply dont even know how long this post has been here just board at home and knew som ans haha

    • Riyad Kalla January 9, 2011 at 12:14 am #

      Jay, I appreciate the reply. I’ve never had to maintain that many machines in a location before, it looks impossible to manage but your comment clarified a few things for me ;)

  8. jay January 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    oh and the wire are all on the out side and not under the floor because they would over heat thats why there visable

    • MrSUPERUSER February 12, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      Good one Jay, how many thousand watts do you think pumps through each ethernet cable that might cause them to heat up at all.
      Consider this… diverting the cables to run under the floor would more than double each cable length, but more importantly maintenance procedures are simpler without having to open up floor panels to access channels. Exposed cables are also easier for detection of physical faults and cable damage.
      These cables would be run no differently regardless of your water theory.
      If I understand your description correctly – how would water under the floor help cooling, all it would do is create a hazard and raise the humidity.

  9. Rennat January 9, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    A network cable is unplugged, have fun.

    • MrSUPERUSER February 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

      They’re not running Network Connection Wizard on XP home edition over there Rennat, don’t worry

  10. DaveF January 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    They’re simple to manage because they’re color-coded.

    I don’t know how you missed that.

  11. LorneMcK November 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Color-coded… Yellow = “Misc”

  12. ExOperationsManager January 12, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    MrSUPERUSER has it right. Raised flooring was to allow major bus cabling as well as electricity supplies to run between machines. Ethernet cables don’t get hot, but hiding them under the floor would make maintenance impossible. Now personally I think this set up is a bit extreme, but I have seen some pretty impressive rats nests. If they know what they are doing they have a coded clip on each end which identifies the cable. But these days I think they would more likely have optical cable patch panels which makes it all a lot less bulky

  13. HolyCat45Batman October 23, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Believe it or not, this was the network patch panel in the 25th Floor Datacenter at the 3 World Financial Center headquarters of Lehman Brothers.

  14. PhoenixIgnition October 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    I am a network engineer. I have been to several server farms and this setup is rather cluttered. But, even in the worst rats nests of cabling out there, it is quite easy to find a “broken” ethernet cable. First of all, most devices have LEDs that light up when a proper connection has been made by a cable. If you have a blinking light at one end and not the other, there is a problem. As far as finding the proper ends of the cable, there is something called a toner probe. Basically, you connect it to one end of the cable and it generates a tone through the cable to the other end, which can be picked up, cable found.

    As far as the raised floors go, they are for cooling. This cooling can occur with air or liquid. With liquid cooling water is not actually flowing openly under the floor. The water, or other cooling liquid, is circulated through a cooling system that is mounted to heat producing computer components(mainly processors). The system works like a cars cooling system. Cool liquid is fed to the computer components and the hot is goes away from the component via a series of cooling tubes. These tubes then go to a radiator, which cools the liquid again.

    More than likely, the raised floors are used for cooling by air. The hot air in the server clusters is drawn down into the floors by fans, then cooled by an air conditioner, then the cool air is recirculated above the floor. Now, the servers are set up in what are called “hot and cold isles”. This means that all of the hot exhaust from the cooling system of the servers is pointed in one direction, while the cool side of the servers are facing the opposite direction. The hot isles are where the air is drawn under the floor for cooling. The cold isles are usually protected from hot air by shrouding.

    Besides all of that, it looks as though there is some conformity in the majority of the cable structure, then once the network grew there wasn’t as much attention to detail when it came to keeping the cables in line.

    Hope this helps as well.

    • PhoenixIgnition October 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      There is another form of toner probe also, where a tone generator is placed at one end of the cable and a wand of sorts can be waved over the cables to narrow down which cable the tone is generated on.

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