The world’s daily demands on data center facilities require monitoring and maintenance 24/7, 365 days. Not only for the buildings and the equipment required for building operation, along with the deafening sound of the hundreds to thousands of servers, switches, and other electronic equipment, but the fibers connecting the data centers do as well.
A data center is not just an enormous building taking up space in someone’s backyard, they are the home of our daily routine. If you are using a smartphone, tablet, computer, or have an internet-connected device, you are utilizing data center networking to do so.
San Jose, CA is referred to as Silicon Valley. Ashburn, VA is referred to as Data Center Alley. Nearly three-quarters of internet traffic in the world flows through the fiber in Ashburn. Chances are if you utilize the cloud, that information is stored in a data center in Loudoun County, VA.
Since the fibers are the backbone of the data centers, they are carefully monitored to ensure that the capacity and quality are met to keep up with demands and expansion.
This begins with planning to surveying and CAD [Computer Aided Drafting] drawings then to permitting. That is when you will see the crews along the side of the roads installing the planned fibers. The fiber techs then test each fiber placed in the data racks. Once the fibers have been verified to meet or exceed quality standards, they will be connected to the proper equipment throughout the data center or from building to building.
Another group monitors all the connections and labeling from building to building. They ensure that the capacity and availability of the dark fibers are kept to a certain growth level and that any abandoned lit fibers are reclaimed. They are responsible for making sure that the labeling is correct on each OSP [Outside Plant] cable and FTP [Fiber Termination Panel].
It is important that there is an identifying label on the racks, FTP, and OSP cables. It is critical the labeling has the proper information on it.
Tracking millions of connections binding the data centers together is a very tedious task and requires attention to all details. Ensuring there are ample fibers for growth and that each corresponding rack from building to building has the proper information on it helps us perform a more efficient task daily. The information gathered, compiled, and provided by them is used to help resolve issues, needs, planning, and performance.
From fiber quality and connection availability to facility management, many skilled personnel are involved in keeping all aspects of the data centers operational to an optimal level. The constant monitoring and maintenance ensure that everyone stays connected around the world.
Written by Brian Blanton, DC Audit Research & Development, Express-Tek