Taking on the Network Rack full of Spaghetti Cabling

Spaghetti CablesWe've all seen the rack from hell, but not many have the courage (maybe blind ambition) to take on the project of making it right. The bravery pays off since any management in your department will be able to physically see the difference and it cuts down on future tasks the rack requires.

Before You Start...

  • Take before and after pictures. It will not only remind you why you need to remain vigilant with cable management, but it's also one of the few portfolio pieces IT can show off to our peers
  • Test items before you start, you’ll be amazed at how quick you get blamed when a sparsely used printer isn’t working a week after you completed everything
  • Remove any non-terminated cables before you start, if one end isn’t connected and it’s not labeled for anything specific then it’s got to go
  • Look into buying/making a bunch of Cat 5e cables that are the length, this will ensure you don’t have coils from long cables and allow you to route the cable then quickly swap to a new cable
  • Different color cables for Network equipment, printers, servers, security appliances can be beneficial. Monoprice.com has cables for under $2 each and they are good quality, I’ve been using them for years now
  • If you have redundant NICs/Fiber and plan to do it live, disable the ports you are going to unplug before you do, this will prevent some possible issues. Especially with Server 2000. Also verify both power supplies are working properly before unplugging redundant units as well
  • Let management know!
  • If there will be more than one person working on it, assign someone the lead who will make the final call if need be, it cuts down on discussion when the time is high priority
  • Plan out the task before you start, know what cables will be moved, what will be replaced, who’s doing what, have a list of items to test afterward

Equipment Needed-

  • Lot's of Velcro (I recommend staying away from cable ties since you'd have to cut them if cables need changed)
  • Cable Management D hooks for the rack (They mount to screw holes and make for easy management of cables that run down either side)
  • Cables of the proper length, don't use excessively long cables! And no it's not better to have one too long than too short, just get the correct length.
  • Cable Management Arms if available for your server/rack system.
    • This is often highly debated, and if used incorrectly they will be so much more of a nuisance than not having any, but if you spend an extra minute setting them up properly they are invaluable.
    • They are most productive in a business critical environment where you may need to slide servers out to hot-swap parts without powering down the node


Built off of my answer @ ITKnowledgeExchange

I can be reached for comments, questions or ideas on twitter @Try2StopUs

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