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Educational Article

Rack Hygiene – Stop the Madness!

Stop the madness — Rack hygiene is a must for every data center!

We’ve all heard of personal hygiene, and perhaps you’ve heard of mental hygiene, but what about rack hygiene? 

Please don’t look this up in a dictionary it will only confuse you. The word hygiene is now associated with data center cabinets or racks; which is a good thing. Why? Because the word hygiene makes people think of practices that maintain health and prevents disease. The word cleanliness also comes to mind. We all want clean bodies and minds. What about your data center racks?

Think about it this way… What happens to your mental state when you must make a cable change and the cable management system looks like a bowl of spaghetti? How’s your mental health now? Is it possible that your thoughts are moving to the dark side, unclean? Would you like to meet the guy in purchasing that saved the company $200.00 per cabinet who has no clue about the time lost in network cable mining?

Stop the madness! Rack hygiene is a must for every data center. Saving a few dollars on cabinets without cable management systems is nothing short of crazy.

The time wasted on unmanaged cable during the life of the cabinets will easily outweigh the additional costs for cable management.

What we’ve learned over the years is that asking technicians to mastermind a cable management program without the proper tools is like going into battle with a slingshot instead of a rifle.

My mom use to say in her lilting voice, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Mom was borrowing an expression that came from the 1800s that has been attributed to many sources. My favorite is the quote from Masterman Ready, or the Wreck of the Pacific in 1842 that uses the expression in a nautical context “In a well-conducted man-of-war every thing is in its place, and there is a place for every thing”.

Boats don’t have much room, so its imperative to stow everything is such a way that it can be easily found and ready for use.

The same can be said for cabinets, there is no room for clutter. A properly organized cabinet goes a long way in new equipment deployment, as well as tracking down outages.

The point we want to make is that rack hygiene and cable management begins during the purchasing phase of the racks and the cabinets. Not all cable management systems are created equal, nor for the same purpose. Here are some important variables to consider:

• Vertical cable managers
• Horizontal cabling systems
• Backbone cable installations
• Copper
• Fiber
• Maintenance holes
• Bonding & grounding
• Support facilities such as raceways, cable trays holes coring, slot and sleeves
• Fastener types
• Wireless systems

Take the time to design a cabinet that makes cable hygiene easy. Without it your technician’s mental health will be anything but clean!