Swiss cabling specialist R&M, is bringing a new system to the market for the automatic control of networks. It is called R&MinteliPhy and can continuously monitor each and every connection in data centers or local data networks in buildings and at companies. A central server records the status of the cabling, also from a distance and at multiple sites it provides functions for the management, analysis and planning of cabling and network cabinets. R&M Product Manager Reinhard Burkert explains, “Automatic Infrastructure Management – called AIM – opens up a new way to manage networks reliably. R&M has developed the first systems that are easy to retrofit.”
Until now, many IT managers have made do with notepads, files or tables arduously created on PCs to document data for individual plug connections and network cabinets. Reinhard Burkert continues, “This manually managed infrastructure and cabling information is never up to date or complete. It always contains errors.” According to a study by the IT market research firm Watson & Fulton, manually managed data typically have an error rate of ten percent. In their survey, the consultants Frost & Sullivan found that 20 to 40 percent of ports in a network are forgotten over time. This may be because they are overlooked or their status is incorrectly recorded or for some other reason. R&M considers these ports dead, unused capital.
The manual management of infrastructure data no longer makes sense from a business administration standpoint. Reinhard Burkert explains, “The investment of personnel and time are simply too great. In addition, there is a responsibility to ensure a non-interruptible network. Error sources are difficult to detect when documentation is imprecise. International standards, safety regulations, legal requirements, service agreements and quality management all require network management that is totally reliable.”
R&M wants to help meet this objective with its new R&MinteliPhy system. It rests on two pillars the hardware for cabling monitoring and the management server. Data is recorded by means of RFID tags in plastic guards, which are simply clamped onto the patch cord. These RFID tags contain identification codes and data on the type of connector. Sensor bars with LEDs are snapped onto the patch panels.
They detect the RFID tags in a no-contact operation and communicate with units called analyzers, which are integrated in the network cabinet. With this approach, the system monitors every port and every patch cord in the network or data center. LEDs show the status of the connection.
The analyzers communicate with the R&MinteliPhy Manage Server. This program is installed on a local server or externally in the cloud. It continuously collects information about the state of the network and the individual connections. Data can be traced in real time with a PC or smart phone, allowing an incorrectly connected cable to be located within seconds, for example.
Reinhard Burkert says, “No special cables or new patch panels are needed to operate R&MinteliPhy. The system can be retrofitted on existing R&M network components with minimal effort.” Standardized and automated work procedures are introduced at the time of installation, as is automatically generated documentation that is always up-to-date. These features can drastically reduce investment and maintenance expenses for network infrastructure. “We are talking about enormous advances for the administration of large networks,” Product Manager Reinhard Burkert emphasizes.