‘Racking a switch upside down?’

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Credit: Wikimedia

The frequenter of Reddit’s section devoted to networking had an unusual question for his professional peers:

“Anyone ever had to rack a switch upside down? Our data center uses these garbage PDUs that are blocking the QSFP ports on a 1U 9k switch. Any reason besides it’s f*****g stupid that I shouldn't rack it upside down? Like something technical?”

Cue the wise guys:

“Be careful, the packets might fall out!”

“The real problem comes from managed switches that have any sort of security setups. A managed switch puts unwanted frames in the bit bucket for disposal, but if it's upside down the bits will spill out of the bucket and clog the switch's cooling fans.”

“It'll work great, you just have to use rollover cables for all connections or the bits will come out upside down.”

Etc., etc.

As for more serious replies, the clear consensus was that an upside-down switch was unlikely to cause significant problems. However, there were words of caution.

“Potentially weight of heatsinks pulling on their tethers (particularly nylon ones) could be an issue. Back to front / side to side airflow potentially as well.”

But sometimes you have to do what you have to do, as we learned here in 2014 from a photo tweeted out by Michael Perone, co-founder of Barracuda Networks.

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And racking a switch upside down seems downright normal when compared with other improvisations.

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Finally, there was one last word of caution for the upside-down solution: “Technically, you will look like an idiot.”

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