Rack to rack cable management can be a nightmare. With the right cable management techniques, rack to rack offers so many benefits over the alternatives that it makes no sense to choose anything else.
With a disorganized approach, however, you’re looking at a lot of problems, including:
It’s hard to cool a server that is wrapped in a cozy electric blanket of cables. Disorganized cables aren’t just unsightly, they can be costly, as well.
- Fire hazards:
Your servers will overheat, if you’re lucky, and that will be the end of it. If you’re not so lucky, you’re looking at a serious fire hazard when you have a rack to rack system insulating itself with disorganized cables dangling all over the place.
- Basic safety:
It’s a lot easier to trip over a cable laid across the floor than it is to trip over one that is neatly tucked away.
- Replacement costs:
When everything is disorganized, the best case scenario is that you have people tripping on cables and yanking servers around, you have cables getting worn out and tearing when they still had plenty of good years left in them, and on and on.
Here are a few basic cable management techniques you should keep in mind to keep these problems at bay:
Keep A Lot Of Ties And Tape On Hand
Zip ties and electrical tape will be your best friend when organizing your cables. Being able to bunch up a dozen or so cables for easy organizing is considerably easier than trying to move each one individually. Tape a bunch of cables together and you’ll find that it’s not hard at all to get them out of the way.
Get Some Sticky Paper For Your Printer
With some sticky paper you can print out labels for your cables. You can use little graphic icons or color coding for easy identification, or you can use number codes or just print out labels in plain English. If you use some sort of code in order to identify the cables, make sure that you keep a chart handy so that anyone can identify the meaning of each label.
You can print out a chart and pin it to the wall near the servers, or if it’s really complex, an eye-hook and a binder on a chain will make it easy to figure out what all those colored dots mean.
Invest In Cable Organizer Equipment
Depending on the scale of your project, a cable organizer and some cable rings might be imperative. You can keep a few cables out of the way with some electrical tape and zip ties. Once you’re dealing with hundreds of cables, though, a vertical cable organizer and a box of cable rings will be a life-saver.
A Note on Visibility
One final thing to consider: At your desk, you generally try to keep cables invisible, dangling behind your desk or even tucked under a rug. In a server room, it may be wiser to ensure that all cables remain visible. Your system is going to require regular maintenance, so accessibility is key.
Katrina specializes in server products with Rack Solutions leading the IT industry for custom racking design.