Data Center Cabling Strategies

Cable Management Guide: Data Center Cabling Strategies

They can be a source of efficiency and performance enhancement. Or, they can be an unorganized, ineffective ongoing issue for your data center that continually resurfaces as you try to troubleshoot and expand your center's capacities. Cables, and a well-managed cable strategy, can have a residual effect on the entire data center. It can lead to high performance or indicate a facility struggling to operate.

Data centers must not overlook cables, especially as cable management systems often are not prioritized amid the myriad of demands data centers encounter in the developing world of Information Technology. However, attending to a well-designed, structured cabling system and spending time on network migration has long-term benefits.

Some fundamental guidelines can help you manage your cable systems and develop data center cabling strategies.

Analyze Your Data Center's Current State

To improve your current data center cabling infrastructure or implement a new system, you need to assess the current state of your cabling. Coordinating with your network team can be a practical first step for assessment. Are you running structured or unstructured wiring? How effective are your current migration paths? Do you have a documentation system?

As you ask specific questions, do not forget to think long-term. What is your data center's plan for expansion, and are your current cabling strategies equipped to be easily expanded, adapted, or removed as your data center's needs shift?

Create Virtual Strategy through DCIM

After you begin a more accurate understanding of your current data center cabling capacity, you can strengthen your short- and long-term strategy. Fortunately, this does not mean immediate physical restructuring or enhancements but can be done virtually through Data Center Infrastructure Management, DCIM software.

DCIM software will help you discover your ideal cable management design and move toward implementation. It allows you to conduct floor map virtualization to show how assets are connected. It will enable you to visualize server location in light of carrier service feeds entering and exiting, the interconnection or cross-connection to single or multiple carriers, and the physical locations of the main distribution to entrance rooms and equipment distribution areas.

Through such information, you can begin your cable management strategy virtually.

Consider Your Technical Options

Once you've fully virtualized your data center's cabling strategy, you can continue exploring specific options for this overarching strategy.

What cabling solutions will best help you troubleshoot, analyze, and monitor? What type of architecture will best serve your needs: top of rack (TOR), end of row (EOR), or middle of row (MOR)? Which cables will function optimally: fiber optic, copper, or another solution? What are your options for cable trays, external network-to-network interfaces, multiplexes and routers, switches, main network cabinets, server cabinets, backbone connections, traffic access points, switch networks, patch panels, and more?

Considering your options and forming conclusions will increase the technical aspects of your cabling management strategy.

Develop Your Structure and Organization

It may sound simple, but your new cabling structures must be documented and labeled. Proactive action for your cabling systems organization can save you, facility workers, and technicians much work later in repairs and development.

Including elements as simple as horizontal and vertical wire managers as well as labeling systems, make sure you find a plan that works for your unique situation and answers: what the cables are, what they coordinate to, where they go, in which deployment they're used, and where they are installed. Ensure that documentation thus covers the installation of connections, ports, and cable types.

The same DCIM software that aided your development of virtualized floor plans can further help your ongoing documentation needs. You can access such data through its functionality and easily see available ports, find solutions for a network switch, and much more.

Cable management strategies don't have to be complex, but their effects on your data center's overall performance, upkeep, and development are tangible.

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