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5 Tricks to Enhance Data Center Cable Management

As today’s data center operators juggle an ever-increasing list of responsibilities, it’s not surprising that cable management practices tend to fall from their radar. Yet with the number of data center devices constantly expanding, neglecting proper cable procedures can open the door to an array of unwelcome issues that can contribute to potentially devastating downtime. Facilities lacking a systematic approach are vulnerable to problems such as decreased airflow and higher temperatures inside of cabinets. A lack of effective cable management can also increase complexity during equipment moves, adds or changes, leading to inaccurate counts of available switches and storage ports. Furthermore, excess cabling often cultivates unattractive and potentially dangerous "spiderwebs" and "spaghetti cabinets."

Whether managing structured cabling, distributed cabling or other network connectivity components within the data center, follow these five simple tips to avoid getting tangled up:

  1. Be colorful. Using color to identify cables can facilitate quick discovery of power paths while easing the manageability of main and redundant power sources. Different colors can also streamline installation, reduce maintenance time, and enhance cleanliness and order. View some of our colorful cord options here.
  2. Chill out. While most data center operators are acutely aware of the need for proper cooling, many focus only on the heat generated by electronic devices or on managing airflow to avoid hotspots. However, cables can also get warm. A rise in temperature can lead to outages, especially in environments with significant amounts of cabling. Monitoring cable heat and installing sensors can help ensure that your network remains cool.
  3. Label, label, label. Both power and data cables should be properly labeled to ensure easy traceability ── a method that can prove critical if a problem arises. A poorly executed cable system makes troubleshooting tough, forcing technicians to spend extra time tracing cable connections.
  4. Track their every move. Consider using a Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solution to identify your cables. In this way, you can minimize potential issues by always knowing exactly where cables are coming from and where they are going. A DCIM solution can also help you keep track of the colors, connectivity and configurations of your cables.  
  5. Oust ‘em! Remove cables that are no longer being used. Left under a raised floor, abandoned cables can restrict airflow, leading to unwanted heat within the data center.

A key component of a data center’s success, strategic cable management is a practice that should not be ignored. Following these simple tips will help reduce troubleshooting time and promote high availability.

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