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How Rack Cable Management Can Improve Your Data Center

How Rack Cable Management Can Improve Your Data Center
For many data center managers or other IT professionals, one of the most difficult tasks is making sure all the cables are kept in proper order.  This includes power cables, network cables, and in some cases, keyboard or mouse cables.  This is especially difficult with rack mounted servers because there are typically going to be multiple computers or servers in close proximity.  In this situation, however, proper rack cable management is absolutely essential.  Without it, you will need to trace out every cable in the rack anytime there is a potential that one has gone bad.  This, of course, can be very time consuming and difficult.
Fortunately, there are many excellent products that can help make cable management in rack environments much faster, easier and more effective.  Whether you handle running cables for a massive corporate data center or you are the IT guy for a small business that has just one server rack, learning more about cable management can be very helpful.
When running cables in a server rack you will undoubtedly have to run them both vertically and horizontally.  This is important because you never want to just let the cables run up or down diagonally.  The best practice for this type of thing is to run all cables horizontally from the server directly to a vertical cable management duct, which will hold the cables snugly and safely.  This duct provides plenty of room for all the cables, while also helping to ensure they don’t get pinched or cut while people are working on them.
Vertical cable ducts have openings to allow cables to come out wherever they are needed.  In most cases, however, the cables will go up or down to a point where they reach the top or bottom of the rack.  At this point, they often need to go horizontally to reach the users, telco equipment, or other racks. Here you can use any number of horizontal cable management devices that function similarly to the vertical options.
Tagging Your Cables
Another important part of rack cable management is making sure to tag (or label) the cables properly.  There are many options available for this type of work.  You can choose wrap around tags, which go around each cable and have the label sticking out for easy visibility.  You can also choose shrink wrap tags that will essentially become one with the cable.
No matter the type of cable tag you choose, however, you need to make sure you are labeling every cable as you go.  Anytime a new server is added to the rack the cables should be labeled as they go in.  This will help ensure you always know where each cable is going when you need to know.
Finally, making sure to label not only both ends of the cables, but also several areas along the middle can be very helpful.  Many companies have cables that run long distances (often under the floors) so having labels every 10-12 feet can be very helpful in tracking down problem areas should they occur.
Planning Planning Planning
In addition to having all the right rack cable management equipment, the next most important thing you can do is make sure you always plan everything out before adding any new cabling.  Making sure you have color coded cables, cables that are the proper length, and planning out all other decisions ahead of time will help ensure you don’t make mistakes.  It will also help to ensure the any cable management activities you perform go as quickly and easily as possible.
So, start thinking about your rack cable management today, and implement your plan properly to get the best possible results.






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