Clean Your Data Center for 2014

2014 is almost upon us. Now would be a great time to clean your data center and reorganize tasks you’ve been putting off. That way, you, and your data center, can make a fresh start when 2014 rolls around.


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 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 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)


  • 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.

If you’d like to learn more about cable management or any of the suggestions we’ve mentioned in this blog, call us toll free at 866-207-6631 or email We’d be more than happy to help.

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