U.S. Congress hears about the perils of tangled cabling

Feb. 11, 2011
Deputy Commissioner of the Social Security Administration decries an underfloor-cabling rat's nest.

In a statement delivered to a committee within the United States Congress, Deputy Commission of Systems for the Social Security Administration Kelly Croft explained the perils of tangled cables beneath the raised floor of the SSA's National Computer Center (NCC) - its data center.

The testimony was delivered to the Committee on House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, as well as the Committee on House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management.

In the testimony, after explaining that the SSA may soon be unable to obtain replacement parts for its custom-made uninterruptible power supply, Croft said, "We face even more fundamental problems at the NCC, such as tangled and overcrowded telecommunications and electrical cables underneath the data center floor. Tangled cables can block the underfloor airlfow that cools our servers, and we cannot work on the cables safely without shutting down the affected systems.

"Similarly," Croft noted, "troubleshooting problems is difficult when we cannot isolate cable pairs easily to determine whether problems exist in the cables or in the IT equipment. There is also an elevated risk of data corruption, because electromagnetic interference from the electrical wires that are located too close to the telecommunications wires can distort data transmission."

Croft laid out the Social Security Administration's plans for a new data center, which it will call the National Support Center.

Read Deputy Commissioner Croft's full statement here.

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