Is organized network cabling really that important?
Quite often in our travels, we come across environments where time and care has not been put into quality, organized cable management - (may I present the image to the right, taken at a prospective client's site in 2013, as Exhibit A). Why is it that cable management is often ignored? Once while working in our colocation space in Marlborough, a technician working in an adjacent rack commented on the quality of the organization our racks. When we mentioned that all it takes is a little time and commitment, his comment to us was "unfortunately, my boss doesn't pay me to make it pretty".
However, there are many reasons for cable management beyond "making it pretty", the first being ease of use. IT staff should have easy access to swap out cables, with quick access to the cables as needed to maintain the environment, troubleshoot or replace hardware, and perform other basic tasks. In addition, such access is important not only the cables themselves, but to the devices to which they’re connected. If the cables running to and from the various devices become tangled and interconnected, it takes a significantly longer amount of time to make sense of it all. In addition, using a simple, uniform standard color code to know which cables are designated for certain tasks makes support tasks infinitely easier.
Second, if cables become tangled and are not properly managed, they are much more likely to lead to accidents. A tech could easily make a mistake in identifying the incorrect cable and inadvertently create an avoidable, service-impacting failure. In addition, it’s a safety hazard as a bundle of cables can lead to being hooked, tripped on, and accidentally strained or yanked, potentially damaging the cable or equipment.
Finally, the tidiness of the wiring is usually indicative as to the level of attention to detail paid by the support personnel. For reference, the image to the left is a photo I took of our two-rack expansion in our Marlboro colocation site in 2014 – this is a sample of our network cabling management handiwork, and if privacy laws allowed otherwise, I could offer many client examples that look similarly “sexy”. We shared this link on our Facebook page a few months back – for those like me that appreciate neat cable management, enjoy!