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TIA Data Centre Standard on the Way

Blueprint detailing design and upgrading specifica tions to be published next year

November 1, 2004  

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A new standard that will detail how data centres should be designed and how they should operate is expected to ready for publication by no later than next June.

TIA/EIA-942 is viewed as a major breakthrough for the Telecommunications Industry Association in that that it provides specifications for data centre telecommunications, cabling, pathways and spaces.

Speaking at the BICSI Canada Con-ference in Ottawa in November (see p. 22 for a full report), Herbert Congdon, global fiber products manager for AMP NetConnect Systems at Tyco Electronics, zeroed in on the impact it would have during a three-hour workshop on recent LAN standards activity.

“We wanted to develop a tool to effectively communicate requirements for a data centre,” said Congdon, who chairs several TIA subcommittees. “As the document evolved it became clear that not only was it a good design tool, but also a good tool for evaluating.

“The standard deals primarily with telecommunications, but about half the content deals with other facility requirements.”

The need for such a blueprint was borne out in a position paper released by The Siemon Company earlier this year.

“The data centre should be able to respond to growth as well as advances in equipment, standards and bandwidth demands, while remaining manageable and reliable,” said company vice president John Siemon.

“At the heart of every data-carrying network is a cabling system. Companies today are focusing more attention on their cabling systems from the data centre, to the office, to the factory floor in order to prevent downtime and maximize their network investment.

The infrastructure design, he said. should accommodate for growth and redundancy since the risk of downtime due to infrastructure changes is not an acceptable risk.” With SANs (Storage Area Networks), NAS (Network Attached Storage), and business applications now running over IP, the capacity and performance of legacy cabling systems may now be in question, Siemon added.

“Companies are realizing and accepting the need for higher bandwidth cabling systems and are investing in 1 GB and even 10 GB for the current and future needs of their data centres. Further, minimally compliant solutions may not provide necessary stability due to lack of headroom or performance margin, which can cause downtime or increased slowness resulting in lost productivity.”

Panduit Corp., which like Siemon is represented on the committee, says that because virtually every organization that creates, shares or stores significant amounts of data has a data centre, it has been “figuratively removed” from the back room and placed in the forefront of how a company does business.

“In the data centre, a good cabling infrastructure should be invisible to IT professionals,” Panduit says. “It may be physically visible, but once it is installed, they rarely stop to think about it because it is functioning as intended: transmitting data at optimum speeds, keeping cables organized and protected, identifying cables and ports, and allowing easy MAC’s.”

There was a total of nine workshops during the four-day conference. Other topics included Building the Future: Integrated IBS/BAS, Media Conversion Today, WLAN Standards and Solutions, and Stop, Look, and Listen: Before Writing an RFQ.