Browse Prior Art Database

A Method of Visual Partitioning Cable Identification and Diagnostics (Cable Lightpath)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000126976D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Aug-16
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Aug-16
Document File: 2 page(s) / 27K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

On scalable systems such as the x445 and the x446, multiple nodes(chassis) and remote expansion enclosures can be cabled together to form a large scaled partition of merged resources. In a rack environment cabling of multiple chassis together results in a tangled web of critical scalability cables. Additionally, certain partition configurations can be cabled in multiple configurations to obtain enhanced performance or RAS capabilities. Examples of enhanced cabling schemes are double barrel mode cabling for high performance partitions and redundant cabling schemes to support cable failovers. In such an environment, proper cabling and cable error isolation is extremely difficult. What is needed is a mechanism to easily, visually identify a faulty cable, signal to the user that all cables are connected properly at each end, and identify that specific cables are incorrectly connected in unique wiring configuration.

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A Method of Visual Partitioning Cable Identification and Diagnostics (Cable Lightpath)

     We propose the concept of "Cable Lightpath". This invention would utilize a light diffracting sheath as well as light emitter sources on the external scalability ports, scalability port chassis frame, cables, or sheath which are capable of emitting various colors, blinking distinctive patterns, or both. These emitters would be controlled via a system management processor or programmable processor or device. Using such a cabling sheath and hardware controlled emitter set, system management and diagnostic software can visually flag a failing cable for replacement with specific color codes or blink sequences, visually display that individual cables in the matrix have a current make or break condition with specific colors or blink sequences, and flag cables within the matrix that are incorrectly cabled by emitting specific color codes or blink sequences.

     Current scalability cable ports on the chassis are partially visually obstructed due to design requirements related to being able to properly provide physical support at the port/connector pair for the heavy cables. Additionally, the scalability cables themselves are fairly rigid and generic in that unique cables are not required for each port or connection which makes visual differentiation by the user difficult during the complex cabling setup. There is simply no current method of visually determining whether a cable is properly connected at both ends, 100% properly cabled in the topology, or simply defective.

     Our invention works by incorporating light emitters into the chassis, port, connector, cable, or conducting cable sheath and also includes a transparent light conducting sheath (which may also include an integral cowling over the cable connectors). The sheath can either be by itself partially diffusive (lightly glows the emitted color for entire length), incorporate a light...