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Step 5: Rack solutions and cable management

Here's Step 5 of the eight key steps you need to consider when building a data center or server room.

Equipment racks allow better use of vertical space and can provide some protection from dust, but they can be misused and poorly configured. In addition to the air flow recommendations mentioned earlier, avoid overloading racks in terms of weight, power requirements and cables.

Set standards early to ensure that all equipment racks are configured the same way in your data center. You should be able to easily estimate the weight, power requirements and heat generated by each rack in the data center in order to properly manage any expansion or reorganization. All racks and equipment within them should be labeled with sever names, IP address and the name or contact information of the administrator responsible for the servers within that rack.

Proper cable management is a science, and if implemented and managed properly it can reduce troubleshooting time dramatically. Decide early if your cabling will run under the floor or overhead (or both). Determine specific zones for cable runs and keep them away from electrical lines. Be sure to keep fiber and copper cables on separate runs as the weight of copper cables can crush fiber. Also be sure to allow enough room in your cabling design to accommodate the proper bend radius for your cable types.

Color coding cables greatly simplifies management, and properly labeling individual cables will save countless hours pulling up floor tiles trying to trace a bad cable.


  Home: Introduction
  Step 1: Determine size requirements
  Step 2: Reserve a location
  Step 3: Power Requirements
  Step 4: Environmental concerns
  Step 5: Rack solutions and cable management
  Step 6: Flooring: choice of materials matter
  Step 7: Security
  Step 8: Finalize the layout

Bernie Klinder, MVP, consultant
Bernie Klinder is a technology consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the founder and former editor of, a comprehensive resource index for IT professionals who support Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and BackOffice products. For his contributions to the information technology community, Bernie was selected as an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft. Copyright 2004 TechTarget

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