Best Practices for Efficient Data Center Cabling

Brian Wood Blog

Cable layout can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your data center. By applying best practices, you can make life much easier for those who work within your facility as well as the end-users who rely on your servers. The following collection of data center cabling tips will help you get the most out of the space you have available.

Tip 1: Prior Planning is a Must

Just like any other aspect of your business, the success of your data center is heavily influenced by how well you planned out the facility and its daily operations. A structured approach will keep you in control while allowing you to prepare for potential expansion in the future. Plan for both fiber and copper media so you can use devices anywhere within your facility.

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Tip 2: Matrix Arrangements are Ideal for Supports

If you plan to run cables using underfloor or overhead supports, make sure you apply a matrix style arrangement. This will give you the flexibility to direct cables from point A to point B regardless of where each point is located within your data center.

Tip 3: Plan for Growth of at Least 50%

As was already mentioned, you should plan your data center with the anticipation of expansion. How much expansion should you be prepared to accommodate? As a rule of thumb, make sure you allow for a minimum of 50% growth within your facility. More is better and will allow your business to flourish with fewer obstacles.

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Tip 4: Don’t Add Unnecessary Tension to Cables

Don’t apply too much tension to your cables. Each length should be arranged with sweeping 90 degree angles when shifting from racks, pathway support, and around any corners. This will keep your cables functioning properly and out of the way.

Tip 5: Separate Light and Heavy Cables

Heavier cables should be placed along the bottom of trays; they should also be separated from lighter cables. This prevents the heavy cable from adding unnecessary tension to light cables, which can become a damaging problem over time.

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Tip 6: Take Care of Slack when Using Pre-Terminated Cables

Pre-terminated cables can create a slack problem that leads to bigger issues. A little bit of slack may not be a big deal, but if enough accumulates it can create tangles and obstacles – and can also block precious airflow. Heavy coils can also weigh down supports and other cables. Makes sure cable slack is organized and out of the way – unlike what’s shown in the photo below:

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Tip 7: Consider Other Equipment When Arranging Cables

If not properly organized, cables can impact access to other equipment within the data center. Do not mount cable components anywhere that they may create an obstacle when accessing other areas or equipment. Employees should have clear, easy access to everything they need without wading through cables or reaching around supports.

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Tip 8: Keep Copper Cables Away from Electrometric Interference

Some equipment may produce high amounts of electrometric interference. Make sure all copper cables are kept well away from this type of equipment. Common examples of electrometric interference-producing equipment includes florescent lighting, power cords, fire prevention equipment, and electrical cables.

Tip 9: Quality Equipment and Installation is a Must

It may be tempting to save a few dollars by choosing lower quality equipment, but think twice before going this route. Your immediate budget may benefit, but it could create expensive problems later. Always work with high quality, dependable equipment and cables that are properly installed. Items like basket trays can be tricky to setup, so make sure the individual handling this task knows what they are doing.

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