Fresh Year, Fresh Start, Fresh Server Room

Deborah Petty By Deborah Petty, CEO, Rackmount Solutions, Inc.

As the calendar turns to a new year, it’s time to think about organizing your server room. Where do you start? The task can be overwhelming, but not if you follow the steps we’ve mapped out for you here.

Why is server room organization important?

Keeping the server room organized is a critical priority:

  • Less stress and better use of time: When everything is in its proper place, finding connections and performing maintenance is quicker and easier. That means fewer headaches and less wasted time.
  • Money savings: Keeping the area organized allows your cables, cords and other equipment to stay in good condition and last longer because there is less wear and tear on them. Cooling is more efficient and costs less. Also, setting up the equipment properly means less money wasted as a result of equipment overheating and becoming damaged. When equipment is secured, it is better protected from theft.
  • Safety and health: Orderly arrangement of the server room helps to alleviate overheating of equipment, which can create fire hazards. An area that is neat and where cables are secure can prevent accidents and injuries from happening as well. When cables are neatly organized, you can more efficiently clean and dust, so health is better protected.

Principles for keeping your server room in order

When managing your server room, follow a few key practices:

  • Allow yourself plenty of time to assure a top-notch outcome. Organize the area during a time that is less busy so as to not interfere with regular work or introduce major inconveniences.
  • Place heavier and hotter equipment, as well as highly loaded servers, UPSs and storage, on the bottoms of cabinets. KVM switches go in the middle. Network gear goes either in the middle or at the top, depending on issues such as cable configuration. Lightly loaded servers and storage go in the tops of cabinets.1
  • Make sure you clearly and legibly label all items. Cables should be labeled on both ends. This habit helps not only you, but also any others who will be working in the area. Color-coding is also an excellent practice for keeping things in order.
  • Recheck your server room frequently to assess temperature, air flow and equipment status.

Tackling the job with a plan and a list

Use a checklist to help ensure success.

1. Be sure you have enough accessories on hand. These include vertical or horizontal cable-management, screws of varying sizes, cable ties, cable hangers, shelves (in appropriate sizes and designs), and wire minders.

2. Select appropriate racks, and consolidate equipment if possible. As needed, customize aspects of the design, such as shelving, to meet your needs.

  • Consolidate as much of your equipment as you can to simplify access. Consider air flow and heat production/cooling when deciding where to place individual items.
  • Plan your equipment layout before you install or move pieces — and include in your plan some room for additions or changes that will happen either soon or down the road.

3. Create a system to manage wires and cables.

  • You can choose a vertical or horizontal arrangement within your rack, depending on what is most efficient, or external management. Ladder racks can prove extremely helpful. Ties are key accessories to keep your wires and cables from becoming disorganized and difficult to find. Remember to label everything thoroughly and legibly and label both ends of each cable.

Enjoy the sense of accomplishment as your server room transforms into an organized and efficient spot. What a great way to start the year!

What would YOU do? Send your best practices for server organization to newsletter@rackmountsolutions.net. We might just share your ideas in the next issue of Rackmount Solutions.

1Perry, Christian. Tips for Taming Cabinet Chaos: Server Cabinet Organization Is Essential for an Efficient Data Center. Processor 31(8), 2009. Accessed at http://www.processor.com.

Other blogs by Deborah Petty:

Striving to be Super

Low Price or Low Cost

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