Fundamentals for Data Center Cable Management

Equal Optics

Does your data center cabling remind you of a symphony of wires or a pile of spaghetti? Data center cable management is a crucial, and often overlooked, aspect of data center management. Learn more about the fundamental steps and benefits of organizing cables and ensuring a methodical, structured setup for efficient growth and updates.

Steps for Data Center Cable Management

In order to enjoy efficient troubleshooting and optimized utilization, data center cable management requires careful organization, labeling, and documenting of cabling infrastructure. The process should be personalized for your specific data center but here are some basic steps to follow.

Fundamentals for Data Center Cable Management | Equal Optics

Review Installation Instructions

The first step in installing and organizing cabling is ensuring you follow the installation instructions. The most carefully planned, visually appealing cabling is useless if it doesn’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendations or industry requirements. Failure to do so can compromise your data center and reduce the efficiency of your cabling. This is particularly important as you invest in newer cabling, as each cable type has different length and use requirements.

Consider Visual Design During Installation

Once you’ve identified the correct way to connect cabling, it’s time to consider the aesthetics of your cabling. Cable managers, loops, and ties help the cable going to and from a rack lay in a visually organized design. This process makes it easy to see where cables are traveling, which is particularly useful during troubleshooting and updating processes.

Document the Process

Clearly label every cable at both terminals to prevent time-consuming cable tracking in the event of a damaged or obsolete cable. Carefully documenting each cable can also help you during failover analysis and capacity planning in your data center cable management process. Whether you choose to deploy management software for your data center or work with a team of network solutions providers, be sure you have a clear, efficient system in place.

Avoid Airflow Restrictions

Excess cabling can block airflow to critical areas, like inside cabinets. Reduced airflow leads to excess heat and wasted energy. Review your cabling plan, or existing setup, to look for ways you can streamline your setup and remove any airflow blockages to promote greater data center efficiency.

Fundamentals for Data Center Cable Management | Equal Optics

Prepare for Future Growth

A successful data center grows to accommodate expansion projects. Is your cabling setup prepared for expansion and updated infrastructure? New equipment, reconfigured cabinets, and the next generation of equipment should all be relatively easy and efficient to include in your cabling management solution.

Benefits of Managed Data Center Cabling

From a small business cabling process to enterprise solutions, data center cable management provides distinct benefits. Explore the following reasons to invest in cabling management solutions in your facility.

Reduced Operation Costs

Inefficient cabling can be a costly mistake. Whether you use too many cables or spend too much time trying to troubleshoot problems in your data center, operations costs can increase due to mismanaged cabling. Streamline your cabling for reduced cooling and maintenance costs.

Scalable Solutions

Clear data center cable management also makes it easy to identify idle capacity and available ports. These features make it easier to prepare for a scaling-up process in your data center. Once you have a clear sense of when idle capacity will run out you can better prepare for the next steps in your organization’s growth.

Improved Security

Optimal management of your data center cabling can promote security. Carefully review your existing cabling, its lengths, and its uses to ensure they follow industry standards. These standards can change over time, so thorough management involves routine review to promote safe, secure cabling management.

Types of Data Center Cabling

Do you know what types of cables are used in your facility? Data center cable management and documentation can identify what types of cables are in use in your facility to see if there are any inefficiencies that can be addressed through cable updates. Here are some of the basic types of cabling used in data centers:

  • Copper cables: Available in both coaxial and twisted pair, copper cables are generally compatible with most infrastructures and are a cost-effective option. They are best used in short- and medium-distance applications.
  • Single-mode fiber optic cables: Choose this cabling for high-speed, long-distance data transmission compared to copper. Single mode, however, only allows a single light mode to propagate, which can reduce signal dispersion.
  • Multi-mode fiber optic cables: Available in OM3, OM4, and OM5 designs, these high-performance cables are best used for short-reach, high-speed situations.
  • Multi-fiber push-on/pull-off cables: High-density connections in your data center may require these specialized cables. They offer multiple fibers within the same connector.

Your data center likely uses a blend of cabling solutions for various connections. Review each cable type and application to see how you can better manage your cabling and promote greater data center efficiency.

Standards of Cabling for Data Centers

While you have many options for designing your cabling in your data center, there are industry standards you must adhere to for safe, integrated infrastructure. There are many standard types to consider as you prepare for a data center cable management update, but here are three key standards to know:

  • ISO/IEC 24764: The international standard provides specific cabling use requirements in data centers.
  • ANSI/TIA-942: Follow this standard to identify functional areas and recommendations for various distances, including horizontal and backbone cable medium. It also highlights environmental considerations for data centers.
  • ANSI/BICSI 002-2014: Covering both operation and design, this standard offers detailed descriptions of the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure of many data center types.

Be sure to continue to review these standards, as they can change over time. Consider working with an experienced networking solutions provider who continues to review current standards.

Learn More About Data Center Cable Management Solutions

Replace your messy wire bundles and coils with streamlined, efficient management solutions. At Equal Optics, our team can identify data center cable management issues and recommend solutions to reduce your operations costs. Request a quote today to see how cabling management solutions can help you take the next step in your data center.


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