Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Chicago Install Day 1

Boy would I like to go to bed...

We got off to a bit of a late start and arrive in Chicago around noon. Had some time to kill before our Level3 badge session, so we spent a few minutes at 710 North Lakeshore Drive talking to Jake Sallee about colo requirements. It looks like the old racks that are in our space haven't been removed yet, but they should go any day. He's going to get me the exact number of usable RU in their 23" 2-post racks. They do use 1RU of space for a 48-strand LC bulk cable to their fiber aggregation area, so we need to plan on that.

Went over to Level3 to get building badges for 600 W. Chicago. Longtime readers will remember that we were told Level3 supplies building badges to get us through the lobby at 600 W. Chicago, so that's what we asked for. There was a bit of confusion on what we were really wanting and the badges weren't ready. They apparently take 24 hours to activate. So, while we could theoretically get into the Level3 suite in the building, we won't make it past the lobby security to get to the suite. Level3 was able to give me a single building ID to use as a temporary pass until the permanent ones are activated.

I said "theoretically" get into the suite because the Level3 site requires badge-specific access PIN numbers on the colo area keypad. A palm scan is needed at 111 N. Canal and a user-defined PIN is needed at 600 W. Chicago. Unfortunately, no one gave us those PINs. The POP tech that was at 600 W Chicago generated them and tried getting them into the system, but he had to go before we could verify. So we were left keeping one man inside the POP to open the door until the Level3 techs over at 111 N. Canal could get the badge reader to start accepting our new PINs. Of course, the area outside the colo area is lead-lined, so our phones were useless. Had to go out to the loading dock, which meant a lot of back and forth when they wanted us to try something. Eventually Level3 discovered that the badge reader wasn't communicating with their system properly and they were sending a tech out. No worries, we can continue to work inside.

The power run was completed and the Level3 electricians did an excellent job terminating the feeds into our Sentry controllers. They weren't powered on at the BDFB, like we requested since the POP manager wants to see our internal rack wiring first. Every POP is a bit different in that regard. It's fairly rare that we're told that a review of our wiring is needed in advance of power install. I'm sure he'll scowl at the all-black battery and return cables that Jay brought along, but we'll have to cross that bridge tomorrow. (All black cable is much easier to transport since you don't have to worry so much about lengths of each and running out of one before the other- yes, it DOES happen!)

We got the Juniper T640 racked up with a bit of trouble. In the old Qwest POPS, we were fortunate enough that the 2-post rack hole spacing aligned perfectly with the hole spacing on the T640 ears when the T640 was resting in the bottom of the rack on the kickplate. Not so with the Level3 racks, unfortunately. It has to be raised about 2 inches off the bottom plate. Even with two men lifting and one screwing the holes in, we couldn't manage it. We tried a cantilever made of various tools, but nothing could hold the 300lb router with enough consistency to get the screws in. Fortunately, this was the loaner from the North Carolina ITEC. Even more forunate; they had the forethought to keep and ship the rack-mountable tray that the T640 can sit in. Once we saw that, we found our solution. So, the T640 sits 1RU off the bottom kick-plate. Unfortunate for us, we don't have our original trays in the deployed T640s, so we'll probably need to get an order in with Juniper right away. I need to check whether or not the Juniper loaner router that's at Nysernet has the tray.

We got the two Infineras racked up. Then re-racked when we realized we installed them backwards. Forgot that we're maintaining a hot and cold aisle. Fortunately, we hadn't done anything with the chassis yet.

The two fiber jumpers to the metro dark fiber weren't dangling in the Infinera rack, as we were expecting. Both of those jumpers get us to the I2 metro fiber between 600 W. Chicago and 710 NLSD. Eventually those will be used for the Infinera metro ring, but in the short term they'll be used to interconnect to MREN for the I2MM connectivity and to the legacy Abilene router in Qwest space. So, it's critically important that we get those up before we leave. If we don't, we won't have a way to get into the box to manage it. (this assumes that the POTS line cross-connect isn't there, which may not actually be a good assumption)

Hopefully we can finish up the physical install work tomorrow. I think it can be done. The config will take a bit more time, since I'm generating them on the fly.

BTW, Jay found something REALLY cool at Graybar that we're just now using. On the scale of useful POP tools, this goes right up there with the little yellow carts we use to move equipment around. He found a small plastic cylinder that dispenses very thin strips of labels with the numbers 0 through 8 on them. We're using those at both ends of a particular power cable to distinguish between them when they get laced together. In the old days, we used a magic marker. Ah, the future. It's so bright it might keep me awake tonight.....Nah. Off to bed for an early start at 8AM. Hopefully they have the badge PIN access worked out.

BTW, I left the camera in our car, so I don't have pictures. I PROMISE to get those out tomorrow since I know you're all on the edge of your seat.

EDIT: I've created a gallery of images from the install: Chicago Install Photos