We currently have three cabinets that over time have turned into a spider web. These racks host

  • Servers (power an ethernet connections in the back).
  • Network switches, Firewalls, Routers etc. (all have power interfaces in back and networking in front except for the routes that have both in front).
  • Metered PDU's. We can use either horizontal or vritcal.

What we need is the ability to add and removed hardware as needed without having to re-do everything. Over all we have three cabling issues.

  1. Power cables. The servers all on AC power and with both Horizontal and vertical PDU's it's been a challenge to keep the power cables in order. We found horizontal PDU's to be a bit harder to work with.
  2. Cabling from the front of the cabinet to the back. This is has been one of our bigger challenges. When we first set up the cabinet everything was neat and nice but as we added and removed servers it became a nightmare. Because of the airflow of the switches the ports are in front (facing the cold isle). We need an way to "transport" the copper cables to the back of the cabinet and then to each server. I was thinking of something like the "neat patch" (https://www.networkcablesonline.com/neat-patch-np2-cable-management-bay/).
  3. The last item is cables between cabinets. We need to have a way of easily sending cables between all three cabinets (for instances copper or the switch VC cables).

As mentioned above the most important is for us to be able to add and remove over time without having to re-do everything.

The cabinets are in a data center so I am limited on what I can do there. I can't use any cable management out side of the cabinets.

Below are pictures of the current implementation.

This is the newest cabinet. As you can see there is a cut out should we want to pass cables between the three cabinets. We need some sort of system that will allow us to easily add and remove cables.

Space between cabinets

This is a close up showing the hole close up

We currently have horizontal PDU's but managing the power cables is hard since they are bulky and get in the way. You also can't really customize them (like with CAT5 or fiber). enter image description here

This is what a current cabinet looks like. We like the horizontal PDU's however as you can see it takes up the entire side of the cabinet. If we do it on both sides (A+B power) how will we manage Ethernet?

enter image description here

This is the same as the above cabinet. As you can see we have "cable management" for network cables on the left. If we were to put power there how would we manage Ethernet (as you can see how it is a mess)?

enter image description here

This is cabinet #3. We have cable management for power going up for the vertical PDU and it's a mess and overflowing. enter image description here

This is the above cabinet with a better view of the power. enter image description here

The newest cabinet with a temp. vertical PDU. enter image description here

Another picture of the second cabinet where networking is a mess. Currently the switches are in front. If we move it to the back how would Ethernet be managed? enter image description here

This is cavinet #3 where we just have horizontal power. Switches are currently in the front. enter image description here

  • 2
    Post a photo, please.
    – ewwhite
    May 16, 2017 at 12:37
  • 1
    Also, what's your question?
    – ewwhite
    May 16, 2017 at 12:38
  • 1
    Step 1) Move your switches to the back of the rack. Repeat after me: Move your switches to the back of the rack. "Airflow" is not a good reason to have them in the front, because switches are designed to live in the back of the rack. I made this mistake early in my career. Never again. Switches can go in the front when you have a dedicated networking rack only. May 16, 2017 at 12:55
  • @ShannonBlank I think I am going to take your advice with putting the switches, routers etc. in the back. I will travel to the DC and take pics of the cabinet setups and post here. May 16, 2017 at 15:56

1 Answer 1


This depends on your environment and needs.

Ideally, networking would be in a 2-post relay rack and servers in a 4-post rack. But if you're in a co-location facility, that may not be an option.

There are plenty of examples of how to do this, but we would need real specifics from you on the types of equipment and the current state of your systems.

For instance, a 2-post rack of networking equipment and patch panels is easy with vertical and horizontal cable management.

enter image description here

enter image description here

But maybe you're in an enclosure and need to have the majority of your networking components in the same rack as the servers...

  • Networking and patch panels facing the rear of the rack
  • Horizontal cable management
  • Velcro
  • Zero-U vertical PDUs
  • Short power cables

Empty enter image description here

Populated enter image description here

And this can easily scale to a full rack.

If you're talking about connections between racks, it depends on your infrastructure. Top-of-rack switches? Do you have ladder racking? Fiber?

Can you consolidate to minimize the inter-rack cabling requirements? Again, a photo of your CURRENT setup would help.

It's okay to run select cables across the top of the racks.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Description updated above that the racks are in a DC and my options are limited. I think I will follow @ShannonBlank advice and put the switches in the back. I still need a way to move the power cables then to the front. I am going to go down to the DC and take three pictures. One of the current two cabinets how they look and of the new one in which I will be more flexible. May 16, 2017 at 15:54

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