If your CEO arrived and said she wanted to conduct a walkthrough of your data center, would you feel confident or would you feel a sense of panic? A data center filled with a tangle of cables that would rival the snake pit in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is probably not what you want your CEO to see when she conducts a surprise visit. Structured cabling can make your data center look much less chaotic, but it can also provide other significant benefits for lowering expenses.
By 2016, two-thirds of data center traffic will come through the cloud. The National Data Center Energy Efficiency Information Program predicts that data center traffic, driven by cloud traffic, will grow at a rate of 12 percent per year.Data centers will face increasing power consumption, higher cooling costs and constant equipment additions and upgrades. If you’re a business owner searching for a public or private cloud provider, then you should know higher data center costs can be passed on to consumers.
Structured cabling can provide advantages to address these traffic-driven expenses. In fact, structured cabling can provide five major advantages for data center operation.
Structured Cabling Requires Less Installation Time
Structured cabling designs use fiber optic connector panels, known as patch panels, along with multi-fiber trunk cables to create defined cable pathways and designated areas for cable change in the physical design. Instead of hooking and unhooking every cable when migrating to a new facility, structured systems are modified at a designated change area.
As cloud providers abandon outdated leased-and-rented areas in exchange for multiple state-of-the-art data centers to create redundancy, multiple data center migrations have become part of the IT lifecycle. Easy installation means less time, fewer payroll hours and faster deployment.
Structured Cabling Lessens Data Center Bulk and Congestion
This benefit pertains not only to looking good when the CEO does a walk-through, but also to network performance. Structured cabling, when laid out from the beginning of data center migration implementation, can immediately offer a competitive advantage as well as a lower cost of ownership. Good network performance and minimal downtime are essential to guaranteeing high bandwidths between 40and 100gigabytes that power next-generation applications, including virtualization. Therefore, make sure cabling systems are certified according to desired network capacity rather than an installation layout.
Structured Cabling Enables Better Airflow
Improved airflow can dramatically improve data center energy efficiency. Designing cabinets with plenty of cable tray space improves airflow around servers. According to data center design expert Martin Zuckerman, many organizations make the mistake of planning the data center for the equipment that they currently have. By doing so, they fail to plan the space for tomorrow’s inevitable expansion. Design a generic data center cabinet that balances the capacity of today with the expansion needs of tomorrow. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a 20- to 30-percent expansion. Also, place LAN switches onto frames rather than placing them in cabinets to make patch cord management easier.
Structured Cabling Lowers Both Power and Cooling Costs
With the evolution to blade servers, data centers are able to pack more servers into a cabinet. More servers in a cabinet means more heat generated in a cabinet. When cables block air inlets and exits, they decrease the reliability of both switches and servers. Solutions like angled patch panels and glide cable management can significantly lower air conditioning costs, thus reducing energy costs.
Structured Cabling Enables Easy Upgrades
Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs) are inevitable in a data center. Structured cabling allows for clear identification and labeling of circuit pathways, which makes MACs happen more quickly. Structured cabling also decreases downtime based on cable misidentification. When cabling components are easy to swap, highly scalable and modular, MACs can happen easily with little disruption to adjacent circuits.
Cabling makes up about five percent of the initial setup cost in a data center. However, cable infrastructures typically last about 15 years. Therefore, businesses that create their own virtual environments, as well as public and private cloud providers, can benefit from implementing structured cabling. If you’re a business looking for managed services or a cloud provider, then look for structured cabling to ensure low costs, high availability and simple scalability.