Steps to Organize your Network
The difference between an organized and disorganized network rack is difficult to put into words. If you’ve ever stepped into a server closet and seen a complete mess, you understand the sinking feeling of having to face the tangle and insanity. That leads to a philosophy: cable management is network organization. It might not be the whole story, but this is going to be a look at the cable component of organizing your network and server racks.
Color coding cables saves lives. Mainly yours and your IT team's lives. The Ethernet patch cables on a rack can be color coded without adding any significant cost. If for any reason, color coding the cables themselves isn’t feasible, you can simply color code them with flags or markers. The point is that the color coding should be obvious at a glance. A single flag on each cable doesn’t solve the problem.
Along those same lines, cables need to be labeled. You already know that, but even among IT professionals, many people don’t label diligently enough. Putting a label on both ends of each cable makes a world of difference. That way, you always know which cable you have no matter where you start. It’s simple, but it’s an easy way to save time and effort.
Running the Cables
Generally speaking, you can get cable managers, like cable raceways or cable rings, to help with this process. They’re made specifically for horizontal and vertical runs, and they streamline the process. Cables will be tightly bundled and easy to follow.
Once again, if you can’t do it the easy way, there is still a reasonable option for managing your cables. The rule to follow is to run horizontally first. Basically, run the cables to the edge of the rack and bundle them together. Follow the rack until you get to a vertical space. From there you can turn your bundle and make your vertical run. It’s a very simple convention, but sticking to it will prevent your rack from getting disorganized — even when you make significant hardware additions later.
Getting the Right Equipment
We’ve already discussed cable managers and labels. A few other tools can keep your rack tidy. The first is a patch panel. Some rack designs will include a nice panel. Others won’t. The panel helps you run all of your cables to their destinations in an orderly fashion. It’s invaluable!
Fiber enclosures are another amazing resource. They’re best used in dense arrangements. That can help you create a modular connection system for your fiber cables. It makes rerouting or swapping cables substantially easier, and it organizes everything tightly to make troubleshooting a snap.
The last thing is something you know you need but don’t want to forget: cable ties. They are the heart and soul of cable management. The most popular are Velcro ties or nylon ties. This is just a friendly reminder to grab some and then grab some more. You always need more of these. You will take yourself later.Aside from cable management, rack organization comes down to design choices. You have to pick the right rack arrangement for the equipment you need. You also need to plan around cooling requirements and your greater cable distribution. Each of those topics is too deep to fit here. Just remember that research and design will have to be invested into each of those points in order to have a properly organized rack that is accessible, serviceable and functional.
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