Cisco 6509/6513 cable management...

Do any of our fellow nanog members have experience with cable management on
6509/6513 cisco switches? We're upgrading infrastructure in some of our
facilities,.. and until it came to cable management, the switches seemed to
be a great idea... 8 48port blades.. pose a challenge.. or a problem..

Pictures are welcomed... off-list contact would be great.


courtesy of Richard Steenbergen:


And, of course, the easy way:

Bill Herrin

The biggest things with 6500s, or any high-density configuration for that matter, are:
1. Using racks/cabinets that have ample space for your vertical and horizontal cabling. If you don't have this, things can get ugly in a hurry. Make sure the kit you choose has plenty of wire management channel space left over even after the racks are fully populated. Having
to tear overstuffed wire management channels apart to back-pull a bad cable
or jumper at 3 AM is no fun.
2. Emphasizing the importance of following established cabling standards to the people who will be touching this equipment. Having visual aids, i.e. "Here are some pictures of the quality of work we expect", usually go a lot farther to drive this point home than handing someone a 20-page cabling standards document with no pictures.
3. Dont forget about your inter-rack/overhead wiring channels/trays. I've seen a few places that had things neatly dressed in the racks, but the overhead channels were a complete mess... assumingly because they were hidden from view :). If your overhead distribution has separate channels/lanes for power/copper/fiber, even better.
4. Labeling and documentation.
5. See 4.


I have no affiliation with them nor do I even have any - but they do look nice. They claim to not block blade swaps or fan tray removal.

If you notice about half the pics/links posted - folks have ALL cabling leaving the 6500 to one side. If you don't do this, you must disconnect cables to get the fan tray out. The folks fanning to both sides are either ignorant or overly optimistic (no pun intended WRT your email address) :slight_smile:

A similar way would be MRJ21 cables and patch panels or fan out ends,
but Cisco doesn't make any line cards with it.


Maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way, but it seems to be that
that would be a huge problem when you need to change out a cable or
move something. Do the benefits outweigh the headaches with this kind
of setup?

Also in line with this, make sure the cables are bundled per-card,
leaving a service loop big enough to be able to pull the line card out
all the way without disconnecting the cables. This allows you to swap
a line card and then move the cables one-by-one to the new card
without losing track of where each cable connects.

I can't speak for others, but I find it's rarely necessary to move a
physical cable. If I need to "move" something I do it virtually in the


Maybe I'm thinking about this the wrong way, but it seems to be that
that would be a huge problem when you need to change out a cable or
move something. Do the benefits outweigh the headaches with this kind
of setup?

Keeping the 'unseen' copper/fiber bundles neatly organized can actually make those moves easier. If you have to replace a jumper, sure it means taking some extra time to undo and re-do the velcro tape loops as you go, but if done properly, it shouldn't add much extra time.

The argument could also be made that a properly run and dressed cabling job would need to be touched less frequently, and by extension, is less prone to physical failures that would require changing out a cable.


Justin really hit in on the head with points 4 and 5. You can have the the most organized cabling in the work and lack of labeling and documentation can kill you in a second. A long time ago I was introduced to the rule of 8s. 80% of network outages are caused by cable failure, 80% of the time to repair is finding the cable, and for a mid to large organization, it costs 80K per hour of downtime.

We took this to heart and borrowed an idea from Sun. Every cable in our DC has two labels per end. One label for the near end and one for the far. This way you always know where you came from and where you are going. It takes a lot of time to setup, but it is worth every penny,

Dylan Ebner, Network Engineer
Consulting Radiologists, Ltd.