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Dominick Fair

Chief Technology Officer

Why cable management is so important

wsi imageoptim Managed IT Spaghetti Cable Madness

Cable Management for your business is so important. Are you wondering why your cable rack looks like spaghetti madness? Cable/Cord spaghetti isn’t only extremely hard on your dignity and your eyes, a cable mess can actually hinder your ability to troubleshoot vital IT issues. Problems ranging from connectivity issues at their desk, specific internet issues, and more, will allow pinpointing the problem an impossible task.  Without proper labeling and organized cables, it could cost you more than just a headache. Tracing a line into cable mess wastes precious time that your company could be using for productivity.

So.. Why is Proper Cable Management so Important?

You never want to run into a serious network problem within your business’ infrastructure. The following are a few common problems:

Interference in your signal and crosstalk may be due to improper organization of cables, Data & Power.

Power cables should be isolated from data cables on the opposite sides of the rack in order to reduce the possibility of electromagnetic interference (EMI). Data and power cables too close to each other in parallel groups or in loops may cause an EMI to induct. EMI can also cause errors in data transmission over these cords/cables.

Routed cables should not hinder access from Rack-mounted components. 

Access to Network Components, Servers, and anything else housed within an enclosure is critical. Due to the high-density of cabling in these enclosures, it is vital to plan ahead and organize cabling so that it does not block components, racks or rails. Be careful of Fiber optic cables as there are additional challenges because of the cable’s fragile nature. Cable ties are typically used to secure fiber optic cables. Try not to route fiber optic cable around corners within the enclosure, as they may break.

Restriction of Cooling and Airflow from unorganized cables/cords

Cables should not organized in such a way that they restrict airflow from components inside your network’s enclosure. Obstructed air movement due to blocked vents and fans can result in component’s overheating, possible shutdown, and equipment damage.

Server Cabinets: Cable Management

There are two basic types of equipment enclosures in Data centers: server cabinets and network cabinets. Below is information regarding cable management in server cabinets and the following part will explain management in network cabinets.

Server cabinets are mostly active equipment such as: blade chassis or stackable servers. The first part of properly organizing a cable for the enclosure is to determine the capacity needed for cabling. Calculate the number and the type of connections per server. Afterwards, find the total number of servers that is needed in the enclosure, housed in the cabinet and determine where the cable needs to be run/routed.

Server Cabinets: Special Cabling Requirements

Server cabinets will most likely have the patching for the devices in the rear-facing portion of the cabinet, along with power. This will require management of both network and power cables. The copper connections and fiber connections are provided from one vertical enclosure, while power connections are addressed form another enclosure.

There will also be a mounting area where there will be vertical mounted power strips for use. When power and network cables have to cross from one side of the cabinet to the other, horizontal cable managers can be used to provide distinct paths. The ability to enclose these connections in the vertical patching space assures that cables are organized in such a way that they do not block airflow from exhaust fans on the rear of the servers.

Network Cabinets: Cable Management

Network cabinets will store your network switches and patch panels. Network cabinets have the most cabling in the data center, making patch cable management more important and requiring both horizontal and vertical management.

Network Cabinets: Cabling Requirements

Typically, the majority of the patching connections are forward facing from the cabinet. For both in row switching and top of rack switching, the set back side rails have a horizontal cable manager allow patching within the cabinet and down the row.

In addition, the cabinets would be set-up/configured in a manner using rack mount patch panels and cable managers. Alongside that, there would be vertically mounted cable managers in order for patch cables to be properly organized from the top of the rack’s patch panels to the bottom of the rack’s switches.

Cable Management: Tips and Advice

Proper Planning is Vital.

As previously mentioned, the first step is to determine the amount of cabling and connections required. Your business’ IT guy should decide where the cables need to be routed within the cabinet. Doing this will allow you to select the proper cable management components that are vital for properly securing your connection and wires. It is important to also accurately establish the amount of cabling and connections needed ahead of the project so that you can will greatly improve the chance of a successful installation.

Your company is scaling and so should your IT.

Your data center environment will more than likely grow. Planning ahead for projected instances is crucial Installing additional cabinets, servers and network components should be taken into consideration even as you are installing your first cabinets. Doing this will ultimately make it much easier to install additional racks and components in the future. We all know what spaghetti madness looks like and that is something your business doesn’t need.

Information Technology (IT) shouldn’t be a cost. It’s an investment.

Dominick Fair

Chief Technology Officer

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