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I was given the task of (re)organizing cables in one of our racks, and I have never done this before. What system/equipment do you use to organize your cables?

  • The rack I have is 23" and has 19" equipment installed in it.
  • Not all equipment has power and ethernet on the same side
  • We have a 48 port forward facing switch in the rack
  • We have ~25 Ethernet and fiber cables coming in from above.
  • The rack is a 42U
  • We have about 8 bulky power converters to deal with
  • we have about 15 devices needing power
  • We have 2 2U UPS devices at the bottom of the rack
  • We have 2 front facing PDU's
  • We have more horizontal cable management things than I can count...
  • This rack handles the backbone of the network
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Pictures would be helpful. –  gravyface Oct 23 '11 at 4:27
    
I am not really sure how helpful that they would be, as I just finished untangling all the wires, and dismounting most of the equipment. –  Reid Oct 23 '11 at 4:30
    
In that case, reverse the PDUs and the switch. You can thank me later. –  dmourati Oct 23 '11 at 5:59
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have found that velcro is the best for holding cables in bundles. The trick to any cable management is that you want to make sure that you leave enough room to keep from stressing any connection point. When done correctly the cable harness should help keep your connections solid more than try to pull them out. Use lot's of velcro avoid sip ties. If you are making a cable harness for something that is semi-permanent it may be worth your time to label both ends of the cable in case of having to replace a piece of equipment. In my opinion the question you are asking yourself in order of importance is.

  1. What if I need to remove this piece of equipment or any of these pieces of equipment to replace them. Will my cable harness get in the way?
  2. Is there a way to guide the cables so that I am not taking up any space that I might later need? For example if you run your cable between the rails and later want to add a server. The server will be blocked by the cable run.
  3. Am I blocking any important Air Flow with any of these cable Harnesses.
  4. What if the cable I am holding fails Or I add more cables. How much work would that be.
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The single most important thing you can do is document whatever you decide to do.

After that its mostly dealing with aesthetics and efficently routing your cables as it sounds like you've got most everything you'll need. I generally prefer to put the heavy things on the bottom, UPS then servers, and the network equipment on the top, switches and whatnot. Oh and make sure you get some of these things for your big power bricks.

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Short Answer, Zip Ties.

We basically just tie them to the rack and bundle them all together. Even with different types of equipment if you do a good enough job labeling then you should be fine. Here's a good example of a before and after of a server room. I found this slideshow a while ago and I use it when I explain cable management: http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/server-room-cabling-nightmare/6137

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I started out thinking zip ties were the perfect answer, but have eventually come around to the idea that zip ties are really good for infrequently-touched equipment racks. When you're in the rack, making modifications to the cabling (by installing, uninstalling and/or moving kit), velcro is a much better idea. –  Vatine Jan 5 '12 at 10:44
    
It is rather too easy to zip-tie things too tightly. This can affect the electrical properties of coaxial cables and isn't much good for the health of other cables either. Ties them loosely –  CAD bloke Sep 11 '13 at 0:43
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