Overhead Cabling- The New word For Energy Savings in Data Centers

Relying on technology and information has become a norm, rather, a way of living in recent times.  For any information about anything, entering it in the search bar gets you more or less 2000 hits in less than a second. Highly commendable, but what makes it possible are the data centers which work round the clock doing what they do best- optimising your internet experience.

Data center is a centralised storehouse of data and information related to a particular business. Sounds pretty straight forward, but a lot of effort, capital and manpower goes into planning and operating one. Data center planning and operation cannot afford to have glitches, because if that happens, a company will end up losing millions in the process, both in terms of data, clients and money.

To prevent such possibilities, planning is the key. The most important task at hand is usually the wiring of the data center or even rewiring of an existing one. Some pointers should always be kept in mind like when upgrading the cabling, you need to have a clear understanding of the existing infrastructure.

When wiring for the first time, make sure your plan allows you to accommodate both copper and fibre media as each have their own unique purpose and each is useless without the other. Also make it flexible so that it can connect with the other servers of the data center.

Now that we have that out of your way, let’s get started:

From an energy saving point of view, utilising the raised floor for the delivery of cold air to the data center equipments is a common practice. But with the conventional method, the old unused wiring is left undisturbed when laying out new cabling. This leads to accumulation of cables over time which in turn causes blocked air passages and before you know it, it gets so hot that Kalahari will lose out in the competition. Not to mention the damaged equipments, and loss in millions.

Overhead cabling to the rescue:

Thorough analysis has concluded that the overhead cabling lowers fan losses and pump losses which, in a nutshell, mean that overhead cabling reduced energy leakage by 42% as compared to the raised floor model. The advantage of this is that the computer room air handler’s (CRAH) return temperature increases and this increases the cooling capacity of each CRAH unit. Another reason behind placing the cables overhead is the significant decrease in the expenses which makes it a very popular alternative. Also, maintenance of overhead cables is easy when compared to underground cables as they are easily traceable and one does not have to go through the agony of lifting tiles and routing cables when a fault is detected in the cables.

The Downside:

Overhead cabling is prone to clutter which, unlike underground cables, cannot be hidden under false floors. This makes it impossible to remove dead cables (used cables) and if there is a fault in any one of the cables, you probably need Superman’s X-ray vision and the precision of a bomb diffuser to get to the source without disrupting the system.


The solution? Make them modular:

Organising the cables in trays and then mounting them on different levels eliminates the problem of clutter right away. So as the data center changes (out with the old, in with the new situations), frequent modifications take place and the cable systems are designed to accommodate such changes. They are even made compatible and interchangeable. The flexibility with which it can transform without affecting the existing system is worth a notice and the best part is that it lowers power consumption further by 24%.

Ultimate savings:

In addition to realizing energy savings, data centers with overhead cabling see a reduction in capital costs for CRAH units (eliminating the 11 additional CRAH units in the hypothetical analysis resulted in an estimated $90,000 savings) as well as the significant expense of a raised floor.

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