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Sort That Spaghetti | How to Cable a Rack

How to cable a rack easily.
rack layout best practices


Ah, the art of cabling. It’s a blessing, but also a curse. It’s such a devilish thing, either making periodical or sudden data center repairs as easy as a pie, or making your heart to drown in your stomach each time you think about it. And just like you have guessed, this all depends on how you installed it on the very first day. Was it organised or was it a let-us-get-this-thing-out-of-the-way affair?

Trust me on this, you can never enjoy your job in IT if the data center is in chaos as a result of improper cabling. By organizing the cables well in racks, you will surely gain the boss's smile for contributing to efficiency within the company.

 Also, you will impress your fellow coworkers. Don't think for one second that your fellow employees are not seeing your work habits. You will know that for certain when one big company gives you a call to say that they have been "hearing" how industrious you are and would like to have you on board. I know for certain that you will pop out of your skin out of excitement.

OK. So now you know, it is important to adopt server rack management best practices. But what the heck are they? What are the standard rack layout best practices for maintaining order in the server room. In this article, I will give you actionable steps on how to cable a rack.

Let's get to it.


1. Ensure that the Cables Are Measured Accurately Before Cutting:

While cabling a rack, it would be nice if all of those cables are well stretched and closely fitted. This can be achieved easily by making sure that every single cable which you are about to cut out is exactly the length you needed - and nothing more.

The very reason for this is to ensure that there will no sagging at all in the rack. In fact, the presence of over length cables in racks is the main cause of spaghetti hell in the data center.

That one aside, improper measurement of cables can also lead to huge economic loss for you. You might be tempted to dismiss those few feets of cable as useless. However, after some time, you will be shocked at what it had amounted to.

So, to save yourself from clawing through a forest of cables each time in the data center, you might want to ensure that each cable that goes in there is exactly the length you want.

2. Label Each of the Cables Properly:

Each of the cables that you must use should have a unique label on it. This instruction is also important for those cables that you might call minor or unimportant. Doing this will certainly save you a lot of work, stress and confusion that would arise if you didn't do it.

Most often than not, emergency days do come at intervals. And during times as that, you will go through hell when you have unplugged some or all of the cables only to realize that you didn't know which cable went where.

The recommended locations for the cable labels are its two ends. You can as well spiral it alongside it. However you do it is quite okay as long as it works for you.

Another thing that you must know is what goes into the text used for the labels. Cables must never be identified by their function - never!. The best identification system for cables is the location. Here's why. Functions of cables might change from time to time but their location rarely changes.

3. Test Them Thoroughly

Never assume that because you carefully created a cable that it will be functional. Don't fall for that. Carry out a test on each cable that once it is laid out. During that test, never take "just good" as good. Once the test doesn't have a perfect score, start from the beginning again and see what's wrong. To make sure that your tests are accurate, use a very good testing device.

4. Don't Use Colours Randomly

Although this is not quite important, you have to look out for it if you are looking to achieve any sort of order within the data center. One colour, one purpose should be the rule that you should stick to. It is not good to have two, three or more colours for a cable line. Also, avoid changing the purpose of a particular cable colour at will. It might happen that you forgot that you made such a change and therefore make a decision that could cause a disaster.      

5. Ensure that Cables and Racks are Cool
You already know that it is important to keep servers cool. Well, it's time that you added the cables to the list too. They are capable of overheating and burning if their temperature is tempered with. What this implies is that during the design of the data center, you should aim at avoiding anything that could get the temperature of the cables and the racks increased.

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