A data center is the epitome of modern achievement. As vast amounts of information whiz through servers and out to end-users, the efficiency of this masterpiece is a sight to behold.

At least, that’s how you dream of your data center operating. As it stands, with tangled cables twisted in every direction, mismatched server units sitting on cluttered tables, and half-used server racks sitting in a corner, collecting dust, you wonder how any information is ever delivered to where it needs to be.

Fortunately, with the right tactics and tools, you can have the organized data center of your dreams. To keep your dreams on-track, here are a few tips to help you organize cables and equipment at your data center.

Map it Out

Before you begin pulling the plug on any cables or devices, it’s important to map out where everything should go. Figure out which racks your servers will be placed in and how you will route the ethernet and power cables.

You’ll also want to figure out where each server rack will be placed within the data center to ensure you have access to the proper power supply. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to limit network downtime.

Test the Gear

Another preliminary step before organizing cables and equipment is to test the equipment you already have. Since you’ll be making some changes as it is, it makes sense to take this chance to switch out any aging equipment as you’re working on organizing.

Part of testing the gear includes testing all your racks, storage cabinets, and wire shelving units to ensure they’re still structurally sound to bear the weight of the networking gear. Once you’ve tested everything, it’s a good idea to make an inventory of what you have for insurance purposes.

Utilize Color

After you’ve assembled the equipment you need, it’s time to start organizing. As you connect different servers together, you’ll be using an astonishing amount of short networking cables.

To help you stay organized, it’s a great idea to utilize different colors of cables so you know where everything should be routed. This helps you stay organized and makes troubleshooting far easier and more efficient.

Lots of Labels

Once everything is in place, the best favor you can do for yourself is to label everything. You should use labels to the point that anyone else looking at your work would think it was over-labeled. 

You can put labels on the server racks, the servers themselves, and the individual ports to identify what goes where. You can also make an index of the labels so that if you aren’t around when a problem occurs, someone else can easily fix the issue.

Get Some Help

In order to reduce downtime to the absolute minimum, it’s a great idea to recruit some help to assist you with your organizational efforts. By bringing other people on-board, they can help you make network connections more quickly and help identify any problems you might be overlooking. This will bring a whole new meaning to the term “professional networking.”

About the Author

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan