Best Practices of Data Center Cable Management

Telecom Tech Outlook | Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Patch cabling documentation may appear to be trivial, but it leads to difficulties maintaining and provisioning new equipment, as well as troubleshooting connectivity issues. It is critical to document cable types, cabinet elevations, connectors, and the number of data and power ports in order to maintain uptime.

Fremont, CA: Cable management in a data center is a difficult task. Although improper cable management is frequently thought to be a job only for network engineers, the fact is that it can cause problems for the entire enterprise by resulting in "spaghetti" cabinets, difficult equipment installations, as well as extended periods of troubleshooting and maintenance.

Because of restricted airflow to cabinets, poor cable management in the data center can result in unsafe environments. Tracking all of this on Excel spreadsheets becomes increasingly difficult as rack densities and multi-hop connections increase. As a result, many organizations are investing time and resources in network infrastructure planning, implementation, and ongoing maintenance. They continue to struggle, nevertheless, to address many of the key challenges of data center cable management.

Common Data Center Cable Management Challenges and Solutions

Preparing Documents for All New Patch Cabling Installations

Patch cabling documentation may appear to be trivial, but it leads to difficulties maintaining and provisioning new equipment, as well as troubleshooting connectivity issues. It is critical to document cable types, cabinet elevations, connectors, and the number of data and power ports in order to maintain uptime. By managing capacity as well as usage of an in-rack patch and network switch port information, DCIM software makes it simple to search, provision, plan, and document patch cable installations down to the port level. One can draw a visual diagram to show which ports are active on a device, use circuit trace diagrams to show each hop in a power or data circuit with details about each connection, and visualize connections between ports on a floor map.

Deciding the Length of Cable Needed Before Installation

Accurately measuring cable lengths keeps one's data center free of loose cables and helps one save money by reducing wasted cable, but taking a tape measure to the data center floor is a time-consuming process. A comprehensive DCIM solution will do the work for one, allowing one to quickly measure not only the horizontal distance between cabinets but also the vertical distance from the device to the ceiling or floor with CAD-level accuracy. When changes are being implemented, having the correct length cable runs will help to avoid rework and downtime. It can even help save the environment by reducing copper waste.