Cabling in a data center is considered to be its nervous system. Integrating a data center with cables requires skill, understanding and no to forget the all important, cables. You do not want a spiral tangled of noodle like mess when you have fault to fix right? This mess can actually escalate and cause various problems for the data center operation. Good cabling methods are essential to ensure that the data center has plenty of good airflow along with easy accessibility in case of a fault and that safety is maintained throughout the infrastructure. Let us look at some of these pointers which will prove quite helpful for when dealing with data center cabling.
Step Away from Under-Floor Cabling Plans:
Raised floor is a common site in data centers but closer inspection will reveal that they are really not an effective solution to the eternal problem of heating of the data center and not to mention keeping the cables organized.
While it is good plan if you are looking from the space saving point of view, but really, it is an ideal place for generating heat in the data center. Also during maintenance, this plan just makes the process a nightmare as looking for a particular cable will be next to impossible. Not to mention that lifting the floor without causing damage is not a task meant for the faint hearted.
The good news is that the majority of the players in the data center sector has moved on from raised floors and is implementing the hot/cold aisle technique which is a good alternative and does not hamper the performance of the data center. Another method is to place the cables overhead.
Overhead is the Way to Go:
One of the major advantages of this method is the prevention of air flow obstruction. Think about it, no obstruction, and no hot air and hence increased efficiency. According to an industry expert, overhead cabling reduces the cooling fan and pump power consumption by 24%. That is a significant amount of energy saved. Also this method eliminates the hassle of lifting the floor to take a peek at the cables. Overhead cabling also promotes accessibility meaning it eases the process of maintenance of existing cables or even addition of new ones. Overhead cabling offers dual win, enhanced data center efficiency and up-time.
Trays for Cables:
Cables kept in a wire mesh to make them accessible for maintenance is one of trends which is implemented by data centers all over. But the same problem of heating persists, but only when it is not properly planned. Even in this arrangement, removal of the dead cables on a regular basis is pertinent otherwise it will be another colorful mess. Also there is a weight factor, meaning if the tray becomes heavy, it will sag and it’s just going to be unsightly.
If you choose to implement this method, going for the modular cable rack systems is ideal. This modular overhead system provides an easy to sort modules which lets the tech experts plan effective multi- level tray organization. Though the system needs precise planning, at the end of the day, it is a great solution with promising return o investment.
Remember these few pointers before going for this arrangement:
- At all costs, refrain from suspending the trays from the overhead in an existing data center. This is because; the drilling and the other construction processes can cause contamination. Mounting the trays on top of cabinets and racks is an effective solution.
- Often due to mechanical stress, zinc whiskers, which are filaments of zinc occur in the cable trays. These can get caught in the air handling system and not to mention in the IT equipment causing faults and all other kinds of nightmare scenarios. Choose trays which are free of zinc to mitigate such potential risks.
Bottom-line is that there are different types of cable storage methods available but the overhead cabling is the most efficient solution. It is important to know that data center managers take stringent steps to prevent cable clutter in the facility. The benefits of the overhead method cannot be overlooked. They offer significant energy saving and also completely removes the necessity of the raised floor plan which is an expensive deal in a data center.
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