Key Considerations for ToR Switch Management

Key Considerations for ToR Switch Management

Top-of-Rack (ToR) network switches very rarely fail but are prone to causing downtime when they do - one failed switch can take an entire rack offline. While affordability and small footprint make ToR switches ideal for most modern data centers, their low total cost of ownership is at risk of being offset by the high cost of downtime. Maximize the value of your switches by maintaining them with the following factors in mind:

Key Considerations for Proper ToR Switch Management | Infographic

Temperature

Problem

ToR switches are mounted at the top, and often the rear, of racks, where temperatures are highest.

Solution

Position sensors at the top and rear of the racks to track temperature and identify hotspots immediately.


Airflow Orientation

Problem

Technicians often mount switches backward to keep connectors at the rear, which inhibits front-to-back airflow. As a result, switch fans will draw in the warm air expelled from servers, which collects at the rear of the rack.

Solution

Install add-on hardware such as Geist SwitchAir® in front of switches to redirect airflow orientation from front to back. Technicians can maintain preferred switch orientation without impeding front-to-back airflow and containment.


Cable Management

Problem

ToR switches introduce a significant number of network cables within each cabinet, increasing the possibility of airflow blockages and decreasing airflow efficiency.

Solution

Use a cable management kit to keep cords orderly and maintain front-to-back airflow, keeping ToR switches from overheating while increasing energy efficiency through improved airflow.


As a final tip, data center managers can also install active containment above each rack to better facilitate the expulsion of exhaust. This will help keep warm air rising into the return plenum, reducing the likelihood that it will hover around ToR switches.

Keep these pointers top of mind, and your ToR switches will lead to RIO in no time at all

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