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Server Rack Cable Management: What Is the Best Practice?

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Data centers today consist of rows of server racks and network cabinets to support an abundance of data cables, power cords and network devices. Deliver proficient cable management within a confined and tightly-spaced server rack is quite difficult. However, cable management is no longer a nightmare if you follow the right guide and work with some test-and-tried tools. Here we’d like to offer useful advice for server rack cable management, and recommend some efficient and reliable management tools.

server rack cable management

Server Rack Cable Management Benefits

Server rack cable management, if not being handled properly, could bring you a succession of problems – it would result in cable damage and failure, which directly lead to data transmission errors, performance issues and system downtime. On the contrary, successful cable management in server rack can benefit you in every aspects, including:

Improved system performance: server rack cable management demands to separate power and data cables within the racks, which greatly decrease the chance for crosstalk and interference.

Enhanced availability: Effective server rack cable management allows easier access to cables and IT devices, yet to reduce human error.

Improved maintenance and serviceability: Effective rack cable management also ensures easier and safer access to individual components.

Increased cooling efficiency: let hot exhaust air out from the back, server rack cable management keeps cables organized and out of critical airflow paths.

Improved scalability: cable management in server rack simplifies moves, adds, and changes, making it easier to integrate additional racks and components for future growth.

Server Rack Cable Management Guide

Since we’ve made clear the benefits of server rack cable management, here is a step-to-step guide for you to further explain how to do it correctly:

  • Plan appropriately. It greatly contributes to smooth server rack management process. Consulting a professional cabling contractor can always be beneficial.
  • Determine the routes for power and data cables. Determine if they enter from the top or bottom of the server rack. Then plan the routes to separate power and data cables, and copper data cables and fiber.
  • Identify cables. Use colored cables as well as cable labers to ensure easier cable identification.
  • Route and retain cables. Cables must be protected at points where they might encounter sharp edges or heated areas. Cable ties and cable managers can be used to this end.
  • Secure cables. Cables and connectors should be secured to prevent excessive movement and to provide strain relief of critical points.
  • Avoid thermal issues. Ensure the airflow path is rather important, since restrained airflow can cause temperatures rise that would shorten devices’ expected lifespan.
  • Document and maintain organization. Documenting the complete infrastructure including diagrams, cable types, patching information, and cable counts is important.

Efficient Tools for Server Rack Cable Management

Here are top five management tools that can facilitate cable management in server racks:

1. Horizontal Cable Manager

Horizontal cable managers are excellent for any kind of cable – fiber, coax, patch cables, copper wiring and more to ensure that your cables are well-organized and protected. Horizontal cable managers come with rack-mountable 1U or 2U design, and some of them are built with finger duct and D-rings for easier finger access in server rack.

2. Vertical Cable Manager

Vertical cable manager work very well to organize and hold cables to ensure proper air flow, avoiding overheating in complex server rack environment. They’re also great for installations where you need to save space or need to make more room in the future to expand your network.

3. Cable Hangers and Trays

If you need to organize cabling within server racks, cable hangers can come in handy. Cable trays are excellent for running wires from one place to another and can be mounted on the floor or overhead in the ceiling.

4. Copper Patch Panels

For data and telecommunications networks a copper patch panel is essential. A patch panel is a board with a number of different ports to connect network wiring. Ethernet patch panels are available in a variety of different configurations depending on your cable types and needs: there are Cat5e patch panel, Cat6 patch panel and Cat6a patch panel, each with different port counts such as 24-port patch panel, 48-port patch panel, etc. Copper patch panel is also great for consolidating cables so that your server rack looks neat and organized.

5. Fiber Optic Patch Panels

Similar to data patch panels, fiber patch panels are designed specifically for fiber optic cables. Also known as termination units they can accommodate connectors, patch cables and more. Network technicians can easily connect cable fibers through cross connection, test the cable patch panel, and connect it to other network equipment. Grouping by the connector type, there are single mode and multimode LC/SC/MTP fiber patch panels with various port counts. You can also choose blank patch panel to mix and match your fiber and copper cabling.

Conclusion

Effective server rack management helps to improve physical appearance, cable traceability, airflow, cooling efficiency and troubleshooting time while eliminates the chance for human error. Hope our guide on server rack cable management would help solve your problem. FS.COM provide tailored cable management solutions for our customers, as well as management tools like cable manager, patch panelcable organizer and cable tie. If you need any help, please contact us at sales@fs.com.

Server Rack Choice: How to Make It Right?

Data centers and server rooms house an abundance of server rack cabinets, which work to organize IT equipment into assembly order to make the most use of space and resources. Your daily operation and maintenance rely significantly on the server rack choice since it greatly affect the network reliability, serviceability and manageability. Not all the server racks are created equal, so we will walk you though some critical aspects for choosing the right server rack.

server rack buying guide

What Is a Server Rack and Why We Need It?

Typically made of steel or aluminum, rails and framework, a server rack is capable of holding hundreds or even thousands of pounds of equipment. For now, the vast majority of IT applications use 19-inch server racks and equipment. As the width of which is always the same, the height and depth can be various. Server rack is designed to hold all standard 19-inch rack-mountable equipment, as long as it isn’t too deep for the cabinet or too high to fit in the available rack spaces. Moreover, server rack also holds IT infrastructures and rack accessories that support the operation of the production equipment, including UPS systems, PDUs, cable managers, KVM switches, patch panels and shelves.

Common Server Rack Types

Basically, there are two types of server racks: rack enclosures (or rack cabinets) and open-frame racks. And based on where they are used, rack enclosures and open-frame racks are further divided into floor-standing server rack and wall-mount server rack.

Floor Standing
Wall Mount
Rack Enclosure
Open Frame
Rack Enclosure
Open Frame
floor standing rack enclosure
floor-standing open frame server rack
wall mount server rack cabinet
wall mount open frame server rack
Used when access control and equipment protection are important to you.
An economical way to organize IT equipment.
Ideal for housing IT equipment in sites with limited floor space. Also can be used as home server rack.
For small but secure places and provides excellent airflow and easy access.

What Should I Look for a Rack?

There exist a dazzling array of rack options, in terms of different heights, sizes and styles. When selecting the rack for your installation, here are some factors to consider:

Server rack size

Be sure to accurately assess the amount of rack space you need while allow for future growth. So always pay attention to the height and depth of a server rack. The height of a rack is expressed in “rack units” (a rack unit is 1.75 inches, or 44.45mm). The actual height of a 42U rack is therefore 42 x 1.75 = 73.5 inches.

AV vs. IT-based installations

The choice should better depend on the equipment being installed. IT racks are designed for traditional IT equipment in which the I/O and cabling is on the front of the rack. This makes easier troubleshooting and network monitoring. AV racks are typically shallower in depth, enabling a cleaner installation by using equipment with rear facing I/O.

Airflow and cooling

These two factors are critical to the performance and longevity of the equipment installed in the rack. Depending on the airflow condition of the place the rack located, you may need to increase the rack’s cooling capability.

Equipment width

With 19-inches being the traditional standard for rack mounted network hardware, some vendors make custom sizes for other types of equipment. Make sure to check what size of rack your equipment requires.

Security options

While there might be a great amount of expensive equipment installed on the rack, you have always to bear security in mind. A rack that meets the security goal is thus essential. Locking cabinet and tinted door glass can help protecting your network from prying eyes and hands.

Conclusion

The right server rack type that meets your demand helps you improve power protection, cooling, cable management, and physical security. Hope the knowledge and suggestions offered in this article will help you choose the perfect server rack/server rack cabinet. Taking the above factors into consideration and thinking thoroughly before making the choice. Should you ever need a server rack or associated cable management accessories such as fiber optic patch panel, Ethernet patch panel and cable organizer, feel free to contact us at sales@fs.com