Patch Panel Management
Cable Management with web based interface.
Welcome, in this Device42 data center management software video, we’ll introduce you to the powerful Patch Panel Cable Management features of Device42.
Let’s begin by viewing a completed patch panel layout view
Patch Panel Layout Overview
We’ll start with a view of the patch panel connectivity page. In this view, we see a model of a patch panel with six modules installed in it. Here you can see each module has 12 ports.
If we hover over any port, we can see its connectivity details. On the left side of our screen, we see port one in “Module A” is connected to DCMO5, which is connected to the “Main Fiber Panel”, then another patch panel port, and terminated to “Demo device 01” – showing all of the port connections.
We can also hover over a device and see all of its connections. For example, this device, DCMO5, has 5 connections.
If we turn on the edit mode, we can document new connections between a port and device using familiar drag and drop functionality. We can then create a port label and select “OK” or skip the labeling step.
Now that we have seen how patch panel visualization can make our patch panel management easier and clearer, let’s explore the details of how we create new patch panel cabling records.
Add a patch Pane – Create a template
In Device42 software, nearly all functionality is template based – and so is documenting a new patch panel. To start, we’ll see how to create a patch panel template, also called a “model”.
Here we can create a singular panel (such as a 24 or 48 port panel) or modular panel configuration, similar to the six-module patch panel model we viewed a few moments ago.
For this demonstration, we’ll select a singular panel type.
We’ll name this a 24-port model and we can optionally choose an image and manufacturer for displaying in the rack diagram. In the port type field we can define what types of ports are in the panel. In this case RJ45 Ethernet ports.
And we have 24 ports in the panel and 12 ports in a row.
Paired ports can be used to track single strands for a fiber connection.
We’ll save this patch panel model.
Now that we created our model or template, let’s create an actual patch panel record, based on that model.
Creating a Patch Panel
We’ll select “Devices”, “Assets” then select “Add Asset”.
Let’s name the asset “Test42 – panel” and well make this asset type a patch panel. Then we’ll choose the patch panel model we just created. – the “24 port” model.
If we scroll down and select “Save and continue editing” we see that Device42 has created all of the ports based on the model we selected, allowing us to begin documenting their connections. Here you can see the 24 ports that were just created.
We can also select several options, such as the starting port number, or if your back connection ends on a switch instead of a patch panel, we make that adjustment here.
Now let’s talk about documenting patch panel connections.
Panel Connectivity Methods – Using a Form
With the patch panel created, there are multiple ways to document the connections to the panel, including forms, drag and drop, and bulk operations. We’ll start with using forms.
Here we can see the input form for the patch panel. Each port can have a label, and we can choose from multiple connection points including; circuits, devices, patch panel port, switch port or TAP port. We’ll connect port 1 to a device.
If we click on the look-up icon, we can select from a list of devices on our network.
We can also choose a switch port connection and the lookup will show us a list of available switch ports.
Here we can input a label for the remote end of the cable; this could be the device side or the switch port side. The “label2” field is for single strand cables.
The MAC address field will be editable for device connectivity and we can specify down to the NIC port level and choose which MAC address the patch panel is connected to.
We can also select the back connection and we’ll see how to create bulk connections later in this video.
That illustrates connectivity defined through a form. Now, lets refresh what we saw earlier about defining patch panel connectivity using drag and drop.
Connections: Drag and Drop
But before we actually use drag and drop to document patch panel connections, we need to mount the patch panel we just created to a rack.
On the asset page we were just working in, we’ll search our rack list, select “RA100” input the patch panel U size (two), and we’ll let Device42 tell us the next available U position in the rack, in this case “8”.
Well save our input and then view the Patch panel layout diagram we saw earlier in our video.
After turning on the “Edit” capability, we can make patch panel connections by simply using a familiar drag and drop functionality that we saw earlier in this video.
Now lets move to the third option for creating bulk patch panel connectivity – using Excel imports.
Bulk Connections: Excel Imports
Excel gives us a lot of flexibility when it comes to documenting bulk connections.
Once again, we’ll go back to our assets list, search for “Test42” panel, and select the panel we created earlier in our demo.
After we have selected the panel or panels, we indicate the action we wish to take. In this case, we’ll select “ Do a re-importable export for Patch Panel Ports in selected assets”
This will provide us with a ready-to-go Excel spreadsheet that can be used for bulk connection imports. This sheet has all the fields necessary including the connected to device, switch and switch port, and patch panel port connection fields.
Once this sheet is completed offline, we can select our patch panel in the asset view, then select “Import/Exports” in the “Tools” menu, then select our saved Excel import file and complete the bulk import.
Now that we have addressed the three connectivity modes for the front of the patch panel, let’s take a look at how we handle bulk back panel connectivity.
Bulk Connections: Back Panels
To make bulk back connectivity, under “Tools” then “Templates and Bulk Operations” we’ll select “Panel Back Connectivity”. From the “Patch Panel back connectivity in bulk” screen we’ll select the patch panel we created in our demo (Test42) … and then choose to connect it to the “main-fiber-panel”.
Then we’ll specify the port numbers, in this case 1 to 12, we’ll connect to module C-3 and then we’ll identify the starting C-3 port number, number one, and then click continue.
And the back connectivity has now been added between the two panels we selected.
Using the hyperlink, we can go back to the “Main-Fiber-Panel” and select “View Patch Panel Layout”. In the patch panel layout view, if we mouse over panel C-3 we see that we now have documented back connectivity between panel “C-3” and “Test42”.
For example, we can see port 1 is connected to port 1 and port 12 is connected to port 12 – verifying we have made the back connectivity in bulk.
That wraps this brief introduction of the patch panel cable management capabilities found in Device42 software.
We hope you will contact us to learn more about how Device42 can transform the management of your IT Infrastructure.
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