Thursday, 9 September 2010

Labelling those NIC’s

Tracing cables in a busy rack is a nightmare. Many people who share my switchport labelling OCD will always label up the port on the switch in a format such as “Link to MyServer01” and this is good. However it seems it’s not such common practise to label up where on the server the connection goes to, and then at the server end, where the connection goes to.


Most server’s today have PCI slots labelled in numerical form, and anyone with common sense will count the NIC’s from left to right. With the huge uptake of virtualisation, servers are now packed with NIC’s, Therefore my plea starts today, let’s start labelling server NIC ports in the same way we label switch ports.


The image below is a screenshot from one of the servers i look after. There are two quad port NIC’s installed in PCI slots one and two. Therefore I have adopted the naming convention “Slot X – NIC X – Link to Switchname giX-X” then on the switch side its reversed, the port is labelled as “link to MyServer01 NIC x\x . Implementing this method of labelling does take a bit of extra time and effort to keep up to date, but it will make yours and others life’s supporting the network so much easier. You can now tell exactly where a link goes from either the server or the switch end. I also add to the server NIC label what the NIC is used for eg “Slot X – NIC X – Link to switchname gix-x – Hyper-V Host Management” it’s a long label but your find it very useful!

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