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Keep Britain Tidy

A ghastly horde of copper draped across a multitude of cabinets. A 10 metre cable when 2 metres would suffice. Fibre cabling hanging at right angles. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are certainly not alone. It is a common practice to patch cables in a frenzied, chaotic fashion to ensure that critical equipment is up and running as quickly as possible. The tendency to do this is understandable, after all, time is money. Maintaining an efficient, tidy environment  is often looked upon as a rainy day activity, a rainy day that never comes. It is not merely an aesthetic pursuit, although this is also true,  an effective cable management solution can significantly benefit your business. If the right preparation and experienced resources are in place, cable tidying need not cause a headache!

Top 5 reasons to keep your environment tidy

  • Cost – A well-managed datacentre environment aids equipment cooling. This ensures your servers run more efficiently, reducing your carbon footprint and saving you money.
  • Easy Access– Your engineers may need to perform maintenance or check cable connections regularly. This can be a challenging process when ports are obstructed by lengthy, unsightly cables. Tracing these cables can also be a real pain. Well-dressed and organised cable runs increase visibility within your racks and can make your environment a pleasure to work in.
  • Aesthetics – “It’s what’s inside that counts”. This may be true but let’s face it, looks matter. Whether the aim is to show off your DC to prospective clients or just for personal satisfaction, appearanceis
  • Health and Safety– Cables run between racks, at head height or across the floor, can cause a genuine and unnecessary health and safety risk.
  • Cable Care– An untidy environment often results in mistreated and underperforming cables. Fibre in particular can be extremely delicate, the slightest bend will cause the cable to fail and potential network issues.

10 Top Tips

  • Structured Cabling– Inter-rack patching is often a necessity. If this is the case, plan ahead to ensure that more than enough patch panel ports are available to accommodate for current use and future expansion.
  • Use Appropriate Cable Lengths– Use the right cable for the right occasion. Excessive cable length causes the environment to appear busier and more cluttered than it needs to be.
  • Velcro, Velcro… Velcro – Velcro-ties keep a potentially disorderly bunch of cables straight and under control. They also have the added flexibility of effortless removal and re-use. Anyone who has had the misfortune of using plastic cable ties in a dynamic, live environment will attest to this.
  • Labels are your friend– Tidy cable dressing is only part of the story. A well-managed environment requires a thorough audit to ensure that cables can be easily traced when required. A detailed labelling scheme will help identifying cables, even within the most densely populated rack.
  • Cable Management Arms not always needed… – They can often do more harm than good. Using arms at the rear of your servers necessitate an additional 1 metre of cable length, cause increased heat, power consumption and reduced air-flow. Even if your servers need to be pulled forward regularly for maintenance, the benefits of using arms do not outweigh the many costly disadvantages.
  • Vertical and Horizontal Cable Management Panels always are – Vertical and horizontal cable management panels are a critical component of a well-managed environment. Without them, there is no appropriate surface to run, separate and prepare your cables.
  • Plan and Prepare!Consider the route your cables need to take during the planning stages of the project and bear this is mind when you create your patching schedule and rack design. Keep connected equipment within the same cabinet wherever possible. When patching from switch to patch panel, assign ports on the same side of the rack to prevent an unsightly crossing of cables. Preparing the cabling work ahead of a server move provides added peace of mind and the time to make the looms impeccable, without the added pressure of simultaneously dealing with a migration.
  • Cable Colours– Using a range of colours to denote specific uses can help to provide an effective, visual indicator at a glance. Decide on a colour convention and keep it consistent across the DC.
  • Fibre and power cables are not friends – Separate cable types, especially fibre and power. Power cables can cause electromagnetic interference on surrounding cables, so keeping them apart from network cables is essential.
  • Call in the Professionals– Attempting to perform cabling work without the resources, know-how or time to prepare, can result in a rushed, haphazard job. For that added peace of mind, take our advice and assistance. To find out more, contact us.

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