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+ - Ask Slashdot: Server room toolbox? 2

Submitted by
jandersen
jandersen writes "I am the system manager in charge of a smallish server room (~50 servers, most in racks), and I am going to buy a set of tools; but first I want to hear what other people think would be a good idea.

Certainly a range of good quality screwdrivers — slotted, Phillips, Pozidriv, Torx (here for the whole range of strange screwdriver standards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_screw_drives). But what else? Tape measure? Spirit level (for aligning the racks)? Any meters or cable testers? A wood lathe? I can probably get away with a budget of a few hundred GBP, but there ought to be some mileage in that."
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Ask Slashdot: Server room toolbox?

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  • by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Wednesday November 28, 2012 @08:45AM (#42116185)

    Figure out what you want to be able to fix, and what you don't want to be able to fix, and what you want to be able to identify as a fault. That list of priorities should determine what capabilities you need and will influence which tools you should get.

    You'll need a scissors. I like the Wiss 175E5 - designed specifically for cutting things like telephone wire (like Cat5/Cat6).

    A crimper for 8P8C ("RJ45") plugs is probably a good idea. The supply of plugs (and boots, if you use them) appropriate to your common cabling is a good idea too. I expect you will never use these - purchased patch cables are less expensive. I suspect that having these means you won't need them - like an insurance policy. A printout of the pinout instructions should be kept with the crimper and ends, on the off chance that the network will be down when you're using the tool, and you won't be able to look it up online.

    If there are cables going to punch-down terminations, an appropriate punch-down tool. If it's a 66 block (or similar), bridge clips.

    Triple up on the #2 Phillips screwdrivers. They seem to be used for everything.

    If you're using cable ties rather than velcro, seriously consider an installation tool. Do not get a twist-to-cut; you need one with adjustable tension and auto-cut. Remember it is possible to damage cable by overtensioning wire ties, and there is a section of the Category 5 standard that covers how tight you're supposed to tie bundles. (Twist-to-cut tie guns are too easy for an occasional user to overtension the ties. Tools that automatically cut the end when the preset tension has been reached are much harder to mess up.)

    A general purpose meter (VOM, DMM, etc) is great, if (and only if) you know how to use it.

    A tone-tracing set has saved me hassle numerous times. (Tempo 701K)

    If you deal with telephone (POTS), a butt-set (and knowing how to use it) is indispensible. You'll also need a breakout adapter. If you're only dealing with IP or digital phones, a buttset is less useful.

    If you've got fiber optic stuff, a fiber cable tester and knowing how to read it and what the acceptable levels are is useful. A termination kit is less useful - you're probably not going to reterminate your own fiber; you're probably going to call in a contractor to pull a new run - but you may want to pre-determine that your run is bad.

    Yes, I have all that stuff.

  • ...you can make a clue bat with it.

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