The Art Of Structured Cabling
The lifeline of any high-performance data center is its network and structured cabling systems.
If yours ends up getting tied up in knots, it can create maintenance nightmares and even restrict your ability to expand or migrate.
There is a succinct reason why they are called “systems”. In order to ensure this high level of performance capability, you’re going to need to be keenly aware of the location and function of every strand of copper and fiber in your facility.
Want a quick understanding of the fitness levels of your structured cabling? Sometimes in these cases, looks are everything.
You would be surprised at some of the absolute rat’s nests of horror shows we’ve seen when it comes to data center cabling. You open an IT Closet or look behind a server rack and sometimes it’s all you can do to keep from screaming.
In his decades of working in telecommunication and data center environments, our Vice President of Data Infrastructure Services, Darrell Reynolds, has witnessed it all.
“Most technicians do not care much about how the cables look,” Reynolds says. “It is more than about being pretty, this lack of attention to detail creates bad breathability in these racks of servers as well as chaos and extraordinary risk.”
This lack of “breathability” in the cabling systems can result in a dramatic impact on heating and cooling costs and performance. Without proper airflow, you’re going to be facing hardware breakdowns and potentially long periods of downtime.
Now, if there is ever an issue with a connection point, good luck identifying the problem cable.
And, if you’re thinking of migrating your data infrastructure to a new location? You’re probably looking at pulling and decommissioning all of your cabling.
This is all solvable with some science and artistry.
“We pride ourselves in the esthetic,” Reynolds said. “I don’t believe anyone does more beautiful structured cabling in the business.”
He was quick to point out that this artistic approach isn’t about vanity. Your structured cabling is where both form and function intersect.
“This intricate organization and design of the cabling sets the baseline for the operation center to come,” Reynolds said. “You don’t start with this attention to detail, and your entire system is going to suffer.”
And, when these structural cabling systems are built correctly, it’s much more than just laying down wiring. In essence, it’s about “smart cabling”.
Many people incorrectly believe that planning for cabling is done at the end of the process. Just pull that wire and put that one in. But, it’s actually critical in terms of ultimate efficiency and optimization that designing these systems require discussions at the highest level.
“There can be major shifts in costs if you’re over-cabling one system and you’re under-cabling the other,” Reynolds said. “Not all of your racks are going to require the same amount of data movement, so you want to customize this at every level.”
What you’ll get most by working with an experienced team is that you’ll be asked all of the right questions.
How much expansion are you planning on doing in this data center? Will you be moving in the near future? How often are you changing your systems and requirements?
The answers to these will have a large influence on the planning.
“We want to get granular to the level of how many ports at how many networks,” Reynolds said, “but we also want to keep the discussion at a high level, so the design is aligned perfectly with short and long-term goals.”
Just as in life and business and building relationships…and data centers…it’s critical to get the connections and communications right.
At least in the case of structured cabling, beautiful connections will make or break the performance of your data center.
“You’re going to need to be keenly aware of the location and function of every strand of copper and fiber in your facility.”
“We pride ourselves in the esthetic. I don’t believe anyone does more beautiful structured cabling in the business.”
the instor difference
INSTOR SOLUTIONS: Founded in 1996, Instor is a global leader in data center design, build, management, structured cabling, power infrastructure, data center moves & migration, specialized containment, and cooling solutions. Instor has designed and installed infrastructure solutions for high-growth startups to Fortune 100 companies and public institutions. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Instor operates throughout the U.S. and in the European Union and has offices in Ashburn, Virginia, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, Hillsboro, Oregon, and a European branch in Dublin, Ireland. Additional information can be found at https://www.instor.com.
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