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10 Reasons You Need Data Center Cable Management Software

Modern data centers are complex environments that often contain many thousands of individual cabling and port components. When the physical connectivity infrastructure is not properly organized, tracked, and managed, you can quickly run into serious problems.

Poor cable management and using the wrong management tools lead to cable spaghetti that prolongs maintenance and troubleshooting, extended downtime due to not being able to quickly identify issues, and inefficiency caused by uninformed planning decisions.

However, data center cable management software can simplify how you document and track your cable infrastructure to greatly improve data center operations.

Why is Data Center Cable Management Important?

Following data center cable management best practices:

  • Boosts productivity. Pushing cable documentation to the back burner might seem like an inconsequential move, but poor cable management can lead to delays in rolling out new services and troubleshooting connectivity issues. Accurate documentation ensures that technicians have the information they need to quickly perform moves, adds, and changes. Plus, you can easily trace connections via the software rather than having to have someone visit the site to manually trace cables.
  • Improves uptime. Proper cable management makes identifying and responding to issues easier which reduces downtime. Also, well-organized cables eliminate cable spaghetti that obstructs access to racks and servers, potentially resulting in an outage. With cable management software, you can conduct failover scenarios and impact analysis to know what infrastructure would be affected should a failure occur.
  • Increases efficiency. Data center cable management software helps you know which cables and ports are available for use, identifies stranded capacity, and helps project when you will run out of capacity. This allows for more informed capacity planning and maximum utilization of your existing resources.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Excel and Visio for Cable Management

It’s common for data center managers to use legacy tools like Excel and Visio for cable management. However, these tools aren’t designed to handle the complexities are modern data center environments.

Tracking assets and connections in Excel and Visio is a time-consuming and manual process, and any time manual effort is involved, there is a risk of human error. Inaccurate data can cause bigger problems like longer troubleshooting times and inefficient use of resources.

Why You Need Data Center Cable Management Software

Ten must-have features of modern data center cable management software include:

  1. Visualize all your cabling infrastructure in 3D. See all your port-to-port structured, patch, and power distribution cabling on your 3D floor map so you don’t have to waste time physically visiting the data center. In addition, you can visually document all your servers, edge switching (top of rack/end of row), core routing and switching equipment, patch panels, multiplexing equipment, demarcation points, rack layouts, IDF closets, cable trays, and more.
  2. Automatically generate network diagrams. Visualize your entire network in a single pane of glass with complete network diagrams that include both active and passive (i.e., structured cabling and patch panels) equipment. The diagrams are automatically created and updated based on the existing circuit information in your database.
  3. Map device relationships and conduct impact analysis. A holistic view of all your assets and their relationships and dependencies makes it easy to conduct impact analysis from any point in a data circuit or power circuit. You can know exactly what devices will be impacted by maintenance or the failure of any other device. This lets you react quicker to unexpected downtime and determine if you need to make changes to ensure redundancy.
  4. Accurately measure cable lengths before installation. Stop wasting time walking the data center floor with a tape measure and reduce expenses on unnecessary cabling. Instead, capture the horizontal and vertical distances between items in just a few clicks so you always purchase the exact amount of cabling you need.
  5. Track port capacity by port types. Keeping track of the available capacity of all your individual port types can be overwhelming. Cable management software eases that pain point by tracking the ports, port types, and connections for every device and displaying that information in easy-to-understand dashboard charts and reports. Then, you can make more informed capacity planning decisions at a glance.
  6. Ensure accurate port count and types for each device you deploy. Data center cable management software with a vast model library provides the correct port count and specifications for tens of thousands of devices. This combined with an intelligent capacity search feature lets you know the optimal cabinet to deploy new equipment in by displaying exactly where you have the available capacity.
  7. Track spare cable inventory by location. Tracking spare cable inventory across your global data centers is made easy with the right tool. Then, you will always know on a site-by-site basis whether you need to buy more, have enough for new projects, or need to redirect inventory to fulfill a location’s needs.
  8. Create work orders with port-to-port instructions. Clear instructions ensure that remote hands complete the job correctly and quickly. Data center cable management software provides detailed port-level instructions for technicians that eliminates the likelihood of failed installations and spaghetti cabinets.  
  9. Track power at each breaker connection. Monitoring budgeted and actual power loads at every breaker point in the power path let you know how much power capacity you have for new equipment before you approach thresholds that will trip a breaker and cause you to lose power on either side of your power chain, losing redundancy and causing downtime. 
  10. Validate that connections are compatible and available. Data center cable management software can automatically validate the compatibility of your planned connections to ensure that they will work in the real world. When looking for space to deploy new equipment, the software will not show any cabinets that don’t have enough available and compatible ports.

Bringing it All Together

Data center cable management software has the potential to save you a lot of money and provide an instant return on your investment. You can reduce operational expenses by automating manual and time-consuming tasks and eliminating the need to send technicians onsite and defer capital expenses by improving capacity planning to get the most out of your existing resources.

Don’t underestimate the importance of cable management and push it to the back burner. Address cable management head-on and implement the best practices and tools to improve uptime, productivity, and efficiency.

Want to see how Sunbird’s award-winning DCIM software dramatically simplifies data center cable management? Get your free test drive today.

October 22, 2022
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