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5 Solutions to Improve Data Centre Cable Management
10 July 2015
Modern Data Centres as we know it are changing. In the past, Data Centres took a more centralised design which encompassed standard components and racking. Modern facilities take a structured approach to management solutions. It is important for cable installers and engineers to take a closer look at cable management to ensure valuable space is utilised, along with maintaining network performance. 

Our ‘5 Solutions to Improve Data Centre Cable Management’ will ensure you adopt best practice, meeting industry standards for installation purposes. Ensuring you facilitate plans to maximise a data cabinet’s density, providing essential cost savings when streamlining equipment inventory. With networking equipment getting more compact, engineers must review cable solutions ongoing, to maximise density and infrastructure. 

1. Low Cost to Advanced Solutions

Planning is half of the challenge when considering the importance of good cable management. There is no single universal cable management system. The most common low cost solution allows engineers to use hooks which secure cable bundles. Advanced solutions allow cable runs to exit at multiple points. 

Investing in a quality cable management system can speed up the installation process, ensuring ease of installation. Other advanced solutions are designed to cover cable bundles, dressing and tidying components. Engineers can also organise horizontal cable trunks into manageable bundles to increase network performance which distributes weight evenly.

Good Cable Management enhances operational efficiency securing the longevity of IT Systems and maintains network performance

2. Actions to Reduce Network Failure 

All engineers should aim to facilitate sound cable management to decrease the likelihood of network failure. Adopting quantifiable actions can reduce premature equipment failure and increase the longevity of IT Systems. Reduce the chance of network failure by: 
•    Increase airflow around the enclosure by securing cable trunks to side managers away from airflow pathways
•    Reduce entanglement and kinks by using short patch cabling 
•    Use reusable loop cable straps instead of cable ties which puts less stress on the cabling bundle
•    Consider lockable patch leads which can reduce accidental disconnects 

By following these actions engineers can expect equipment longevity and minimising the chance of network downtime.

3. High Density Fibre Deployment with MTP/MPO

One of the advantages of adopting MTP/MPO within a data cabinet is the ability to streamline the approach when deploying trunk cabling. The increased density from 2 to (up to) 24 fibres in a single connector enables engineers to install up to 24 fibres in one insertion.  This can reduce installation time by up to 70% compared to traditional optical solutions. 

Due to the reduction in rack space the cabinet is able to house additional IT equipment. MTP/MPO Style cassettes and trunk cables are easier to manage. This system also ensures that high bandwidth OM3 & OM4 increases the life cycle of the product. 

Our vendors also offer solutions for zero-RU patching, negating the need for patch panels and freeing up the 19” rack space for active equipment.

MTP/MPO solutions offer improved density within Data Cabinet allow additional space for IT equipment. The addition of MTP/MPO provides a 70% reduction in installation times compared to other fibre solutions.

4. Be ANSI/TIA-606-B Cable Labelling Standards Aware 

The Industries Standards Guide for ANSI/TIA-606-B has been newly approved to ensure the administrative requirements of a Data Centre are covered. This new standard applies to all premise types and is recognised as a key factor in the installation process. 

All labelling should meet the following standards: 
•    Adopt different colour or size schemes per installation type 
•    To keep labelling format consistent and machine generated
•    Ensure all racks, cabinets, patch panels, cable bundles, electronic devices and components are correctly identifiable
•    Plan and execute a labelling system which is fit for purpose and adaptable for future applications 

All of the above can be achieved by investing in an affordable label printer. This will improve the overall speed of deploying labels within a Data Centre environment, but also increase consistency. Traceability is key within this environment as it enables engineers to locate equipment and cabling more effectively. 

5. Improve MAC (Moves, Adds and Changes) Process 

Whether engineers are upgrading a single network switch or a large scale upgrade, IT architects should adopt good practice of traceability. Documentation should be complete enough to provide staff with a template to execute network alterations. 
Labelling cable bundles and component identification forms a small part of the process which can result in a more streamlined process. 

If technicians and engineers adopt higher standards of traceability, the process of MAC can be executed smoothly. Overall, good cable management and labelling can enhance the overall process resulting in decreased engineer call outs and network downtime.

Networks Centre stocks the latest cable management and containment systems from brand partners Panduit and Prism Enclosures. This includes blanking panels, cable trays and ring cable management available with next day delivery.