6 Tips on Improving Your Cable Infrastructure

Laura Viars for blog By Laura Viars, Account Manager, Rackmount Solutions, Inc.

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.

Laura Viars, Account Manager at Rackmount Solutions says “There is no clear-cut recommendation for using copper over fiber, or vice versa. Each one has its purpose, and the average data center will use a blend of the two.” She continues, “as storage and bandwidth needs increase, however, managers might look to fiber cabling as a viable option for preparing areas of the network for future growth and technologies.”

Density seems to be the most notable trend occurring in data center cabling. As the diameters of cables are shrinking, patch panels are becoming more compact. Doing more in a smaller footprint is good for airflow management and maximizing rack space.

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

Other articles by Laura Viars:

Lots of Cables?  There’s a Rack for You!


Cooling Your Data Center

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