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FEATURE CABLING & CABLE MANAGEMENT Top factors to consider when


working on data center cabling D


ata centers should be highly adaptable. With today’s ever-changing


technology, new business opportunities, and looming threats from competitors, businesses must have the ability to seamlessly position resources - servers, applications, storage, and services - across enterprise networks swiftly, without any disruption of service. These growing demands force businesses to assess their infrastructure. Whether it be modernising an existing data center, scaling up to meet business needs, or building completely new network architecture, there are considerations that must be made to ensure high performance. While your data center might be “out of sight, out of mind,” it is the central hub of your business from which information is generated. There are simple ways to increase organisation, ease of use, and scalability within your network centers.


DO: OPT FOR MODULARITY Choose cable solution products that can be combined to create any number of design configurations and provide the option of scaling as your business grows. Wire baskets provide the flexibility to create a grid system out of wire mesh trays. Wire baskets are produced first by welding a net from high-strength steel wires, forming the channel, and then finishing after fabrication. A UV adder can be used in the powder coating process, if needed, for additional lifetime protection. The 2 x 4 inch mesh allows for continuous airflow and prevents the buildup of heat, dust, bacterial proliferation, and other contaminants. With increased airflow reaching the cables, your facility will achieve increased energy efficiency, improved cooling capabilities, and reduced risk of interference. Wire baskets need less support locations so there is more optimised space in the facility. Because wire mesh cable trays are lighter


in weight, it is possible for the installation to be completed by only one person, offering a savings of not only cost, but time as well. This leads to the next consideration: cost and time savings.


DO: CHOOSE ACCESSORIES THAT SAVE TIME IN INSTALLATION With technology changing at a rapid pace, technicians should be armed with the equipment that allows them to quickly pivot in response to shifting technologies. There are small but sizable considerations that can help achieve faster installation.


12 FEBRUARY 2019 | ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING


runs of cable at a glance. Although the cabling set of standards does not specify the color of the cables, there are general guidelines to consider. Group color selections by type of cable, cable purpose or cable destination. Ensure each color has an intent and be


consistent. To avoid confusion, use colors that stand out and that are not commonly confused (pink and red, for instance).


Wire baskets contribute to open structure


efficiency with the option of dropping cables out from any part of cable trays. Clip-on wire basket accessories can aid in the attachment of conduit to the wire basket and provide two different latching configurations for mounting EMT connectors. A bottom mount design accommodates all load depths. Choosing a channel tray system that offers pre- punched holes makes it easier to secure cables. This will save time and labor by eliminating the need to drill holes and allow for the easy inspection of cables. Pre-attached, auto-locking splice plates


that connect two or more wire baskets can save time by allowing the installer to run wire baskets the length of the facility with specialty hardware woven on that easily snaps together. These quick latches decrease time and labour when splicing two wire baskets together. They also eliminate the need to carry bulky tools and accessories to connect each basket to the next and reduce the amount of scrap on site. This type of systematic, organised cable management setup can help prevent kinks and entanglement, while evenly distributing weight and keeping cables cool—key elements in improving overall network performance.


DO: ORGANISE FOR INCREASED EFFICIENCY The next important factor in continuous uptime in data centers is organisation. There are various ways to increase the organisation of your cables. Colored cable is a time-tested method of quickly and easily identifying different


Wire baskets offer open structure efficiency


DON’T: OVERFILL Don't overload your baskets and get outside of code. Avoid using a tray system that is so big that it becomes bulky and hard to move. Rather, plan cabling pathways and proactively take into account parameters that influence cabling pathways including rack density, type/ count/ diameter of cables, end equipment cable entry, and room height. Often, contractors will purchase a width


larger than what is needed in the application in order to allow for future modification of the cable electrical runs. Think of how often an additional conduit run is needed after the job is completed. With cable trays, the only thing that needs to be pulled is the wire if the basket was sized appropriately.


DONT: RELY ON ELECTRO- GALVANIZED STEEL Small but mighty zinc whiskers wreak havoc on sensitive electronic equipment by disrupting day-to-day equipment operations. Failures can include short circuits, voltage variances, signal disturbances, and complete system resets. Whiskers are caused by tiny “spurs”


splintering off of zinc-electroplated steel surfaces. Unattached zinc whiskers could circulate through a facility’s air system and can settle on sensitive equipment. Consider using different materials to avoid this. Powder coating, specifically applied to


wire baskets, provides superior protection compared to standard electroplated zinc galvanizing. This type of coating is durable, corrosion-resistant, and resistant to most common chemical substances. Whether your facility is in need of a


complete overhaul or just a few minor upgrades, there is a wealth of cabling and cable management solutions that can make your data center more efficient, safer, and more organised.


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