Organizing IT: Managing Your Cables from Scratch

Organizing IT: Managing Your Cables from Scratch

Posted by Rackmount Solutions on Dec 19th 2019

Even when you have an existing data center, take time to get back to basics. Ask yourself whether your cable management design is working efficiently, and whether any changes are in order.

Back to Basics for a More Efficient Data Center

Back to basics:

Develop an action plan. Whether you are just getting started or already have an established cable management system, reviewing the steps in the following section can help to ensure that your cable management system provides you with maximum efficiency.

Creating a cable management system:

What exactly does an efficient cable management system include?

In a system that works, you have cables running properly through storage and server device racks; you have properly fastened all cables; cables are labeled; and finally, you keep your system working smoothly by documenting how you have installed everything.


Always Clean Your Data Center

CLEAN UP THE CABLES:

When things get very busy, it’s easy to patch cabling together quickly and worry about labeling and organizing it later. Now might be a great time to:

  • Install horizontal or vertical cable managers in server racks and enclosures: There are a number of inexpensive cable management products available that keep cables organized and free from the twists and knots that impact network performance or even result in broken cables. Ranging in price from around $5 to less than $40, cable managers can include a wide variety of clips, harnesses, hangers and organizer panels. Bottom line, it won’t take a lot of cash to get server rack or enclosure cables cleaned up.
  • Install patch panels and cable organizers like the Neat-Patch system to organize device to device and server rack to server rack cabling: Anyone who has had to troubleshoot server rack cabling that wasn’t well organized knows that the task can be time consuming and frustrating. Patch panels and cable organizers like the Neat-Patch system eliminate cable spaghetti and also make it easier to do adds, moves, and changes in the future. Priced at under $200 for a 48 port system (including cables in the color of your choice), a patch panel or Neat-Patch system can be an inexpensive way to reduce downtime while getting maximum efficiency from your network.
  • Label all cables, or check the accuracy of current cable labels: If the cables in your server racks and enclosures aren’t labeled, do it now! There are tons of options, from laser labels and fiber tags to using the good old DYMO or Brother label printer. If your cables are already labeled, spend some time every day checking the accuracy of those labels. By checking just a server rack or two every day, you’ll quickly work your way through the data center – and assure the accuracy of all cable labels (at least until next year!).

CLEAN WITH HEPA FILTERED VACUUMS:

Clean all floors and around equipment with HEPA-filtered vacuums: It may seem to be a little thing, but accumulated dust and debris can contaminate data center airflow and cause clogged circuitry, risk from fire, accidental fire suppressant discharge and a number of health problems. That’s why taking the time to do a little vacuuming (even if you do have a cleaning contractor) can be a big benefit. The best vacuums for the job have a HEPA exhaust filter that retains 99.97% or 0.3 microns to prevent dust from becoming airborne.

CLEAN UNDER THE RAISED FLOOR:

Clean under the raised floor plenum: This is NOT a one person job. It’s cramped and all sorts of cables and other debris are everywhere – and if you touch the wrong thing, it could result in an outage. However, if this area in the data center isn’t cleaned, the air conditioning will have a tough time moving the air, cooling won’t reach the equipment, and you’ll be paying a lot for air conditioning that doesn’t cool anything.

  • Since this is a big task we recommend:

  • Clean an easy area first

  • Never remove more than two adjacent floor tiles at a time (and leave four in place before removing the next two)

  • Mark all wires (blue for dead, red for critical, yellow for caution, green for o.k. to unplug)

  • Schedule down time for “red” cables before cleaning

  • Use a HEPA vacuum (like the one described above)

  • Finally, consider migrating all cables to an overhead (cable ladders) configuration (the air will go through them better and access to them will be easier)


CLEANING UP FOR SUMMER HAS REAL ADVANTAGES:

  • Simplify adds, moves and changes

  • Reduce downtime

  • Make troubleshooting faster and easier

  • Minimize business disruption

It can also make your data center look like a showpiece that you and your company can be proud of.

Are you looking for contractors or installer in your area? If so, Rackmount Solutions is pleased to connect you with a professional, experienced service provider.

Rackmount Solutions offers a database of information about contractors and installers.

On the United States map, click a star, and read more about service providers in that geographic area. The following information about the available installers will be displayed:

  • the company’s name

  • address

  • contact information

  • service hours

  • certifications

  • experience

  • languages spoken

  • area served

insurance

On the Web page, you can also read a brief description of each company and its services. Many of these providers are highly experienced and hold multiple specialty certifications.

Conduct your own research also as you seek out the contractors or installers that meets your needs.

If you are a contractor or installer and would like to be included on our service provider list, contact us at sales@rackmountsolutions.net.


6 Tips on Improving Your Cable Infrastructure

Tip #1 Produce and Maintain a Cable Management Plan:

A cable management plan that is well planned, organized and executed can make deployment fast, easy and scalable during periods of installation and maintenance. But it goes beyond up-time, keeping a data center organized is most important when customers and prospects come to visit. An orderly data center is a good reflection on everyone associated with the site.

Tip #2: Stay Current with the Latest Technologies & Trends:

If you want to simplify the process of making changes and additions in your data center, you need to have a flexible and scalable cabling infrastructure in place. But in order to do so, you should stay on top of the latest cabling trends and technologies.

What are the trends? New technologies require less cable density on the backside of equipment, and increase the use of fiber-optic solutions.

Other trends include:

The use of UL-Listed multi-circuit branch circuit power whips to conduit that runs above and under floors. Matching branch circuit power whip face-plate and box colors with conduit colo is making power cable management an easier task.

The use of elevated mounting positions and integrated mounting hardware for branch circuit power whip receptacles, which protects against possible under floor water and enables better airflow and improved CRAC unit efficiency.

The addition of supplemental labels onto branch circuit power whip receptacle boxes, along with elevated mounting positions. This makes identifying and isolating power feeds much faster and simpler.

Tip #3: Choose the Right Cable Vendor:

Choose a vendor that knows their market, and is wanting to establish a long term relationship with your data center manager and your company. They will be able to help you avoid missteps which could cost you money. The right vendor is more important than one with the lowest price.

Make sure you agree with their guidelines: Discuss their guidelines and make sure they fit with your data center. Document the guidelines so your team is familiar with them before they install add-on business.

Tip #4: Plan for Growth:

Space is valuable, so make sure your cabling solutions save this valuable commodity. Here are some steps that could help you accommodate growth:

  • Install infrastructure that can handle a higher capacity.

  • Use a bigger conduit than you currently need.

  • Allow for extra room in a tray.

  • Make sure you have physical access to everything.

Tip #5: Implement Successful Cabling Strategies

  • Use separate racks and pathways for each cable type.

  • Allow room in your plan for cable management, access and bend radius requirements.

  • Improve security by limiting human error.

  • Anticipate N+2 technologies when investing in backbone cabling: OM4 for fiber runs can address today’s 10GbE requirements and tomorrow’s 40GbE and 100GbE speeds.

  • Choose cabling solutions that are feature-rich and future-proof, yet not proprietary as to limit your sourcing options.

  • Look for cabling solutions that are interchangeable and fully backward-compatible.

Tip #6: Simplify Additions & Changes

Make all labeling consistent, and document these guidelines to prevent future confusion.

Use cable seal grommets that provide flexibility when lifting panels and adding or changing out cables.

Make sure that cables fit your application and aren’t too long.

Use a color-code system to establish different cable types and cable redundancies managed through separate cable pathways or trays

To view our cable management systems go to:http://www.rackmountsolutions.net/Rack_Cable_Management.asp


Server Rack Airflow Management


Cable management and airflow management go hand in hand. By properly maintaining your cables you can increase proper airflow and help raise the life of your equipment. The most basic way to manage your cables is by cutting to an appropriate length. Having 10 feet of extra cable dangle can pull on the connection, reduce airflow, and require complete vertical managers to organize. We often recommend the Neat Patch cable manager as a midway solution. With the Neat Patch your cables are tucked away within your server rack while promoting bend radius compliance. This also helps you navigate and trace your cables quickly which can in turn reduce down time.