Tips for Improving Vertical Cable Management
Benefits of Cable Management
Cable management is an essential part of all technology projects. Even wireless networks will need to make use of cables at some point along the way. In a data center facility, it’s common to use thousands of cables which add up to several miles in length. Without seeking a solid cable management solution, they can get out of control quickly.
Choosing the right cable management strategy will help to ensure your facility looks nice and is properly organized to accomplish the desired goals. A good cable management strategy offers many benefits, including the following:
- Reduced Risk of Damaged Cables
- Efficient Troubleshooting of Network Problems
- Easier Installation of New Hardware
- Efficient Removal of Old Cables
- More Aesthetically Pleasing Environment
There are many other advantages, but finding the right way to manage cables can be a challenge. The first step in this process is to learn more about various cable management systems, and how to use them. In this post, we will discuss vertical cable management, and how you can use it in many different environments ranging from residential to large-scale data centers.
What is Vertical Cable Management?
As the name implies, vertical cable management is a strategy where you run cables up and down vertically. This is most commonly done within a server rack, but it can also take place along a wall, within a communications closet, or even at an individual desk.
By running the cables up and down, there is no need to have them crossing over each other. This can cause knots, damaged cables, and other problems. To vertically manage your cables, you run them to a specific height or location. From there, you bundle them together and run them to their final destinations. In most cases, this means running the cables vertically up into the ceiling or down into a raised floor. At this point, the cables will go to server racks, desks, or other areas.
Tips for Vertically Managing Your Cables
There is more to vertical cable management than just running a cable from a piece of equipment up or down to another location. The following tips will help to ensure you are taking full advantage of the benefits of this type of cable management strategy:
- Bundle Cables – Bundling cables together helps to protect them. As cables are going up in an area, make sure to bundle them together using cable ties, hook-and-loop straps, or other binding items. This helps organize cables and prevents them from falling down when using a vertical cable management strategy.
- Keep Similar Equipment Together – If possible, keep similar computer equipment together in one area so that the cables will go to similar locations. The further that cables run together, the easier it is to keep them bundled and properly organized.
- Minimize Slack in Cables – It is important to consider the length of your cables and where they go so you can minimize slack. While you don’t want to have cables so tight that they are putting pressure on the ends, there should also be no excess slack. In a vertical cable management strategy, any excess slack can cause this solution to fall apart down the road.
- Always Label All Cables – As with any cable management strategy, you want to make sure all your cables are properly labeled. At the very least, you should put labels on each end of every cable. If you have a bundle of cables going to one place, you can also place a label on each end of the bundle to make it easier to keep track of.
The most common environment to use a vertical cable management strategy is within server racks. These are typically found in data centers but can be located in other facilities as well. Server racks house multiple pieces of computer equipment including servers, routers, switches, and of course, cables.
There are quite a few different accessories that can be used within a server rack to help make vertical cable management more effective. For example, a vertical management tray allows cables to be run-up to the top of a server rack, or down to the bottom, while zip tying the cables to the tray along the way. Another popular option is a vertical cable management duct. A management duct allows the cables to run vertically along the edge of a server rack to specific outlets. Of course, cable clips, zip ties, and hook-and-loop cable straps will also help to accomplish your cable management goals.
Start Planning Now
Whether you’re looking to implement a vertical cable management strategy, or you have something else in mind, it is important to start planning it out right away. Ideally, you will have a plan in place for cable management before you even install any equipment. However, if you’re just looking to clean up an existing unorganized environment, you want to think through all your options and find the best solution based on your unique situation.