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Data Center Cable Management – Best Practices for Efficiency Optimization

Data Center Cable Management - Best Practices for Efficiency and Improvement - Featured Image

Let’s discuss the core cabling challenges modern data centers struggle with and their solutions. In this article, we highlight what you can do through proper data center cable management to improve data center operations, performance, savings and efficiency.

Cable management is a fundamental aspect of the data center industry. Without it, AI, 5G, automation software, and other innovations dominating the news would be possible. Cables are a vital building block of IT infrastructure and will continue to be so as the pace of technological change continues to increase.

For data center managers, engineers, technicians, and others in data center operations, refining your network cabling is more than just necessary – it is critical. Let’s discuss the challenges, the consequences of not addressing them and the practical solutions available.

Data Center With Proper Data Center Cable Management

The Current State of Cable Management in Data Centers

The growth of data transmission has been remarkable in recent years, driven by a variety of factors, including advancements in internet infrastructure, increased day-to-day (and sometimes minute-by-minute) online activities, a surge in digital transactions, and the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). You can measure this colossal growth in the sheer number of Google search query statistics this year alone: 99,000 searches per second or 8.5 billion searches per day! 

Internet Infrastructure

The expansion of high-speed internet access, including the deployment of fiber-optic networks and the rollout of 5G wireless technology, has significantly enhanced data transmission speeds and capacity.

This new wireless technology allowed us to fly through the internet at 20 gigabits per second. That’s 100 times faster than its predecessor, 4G! Regardless, data transmission at its core is still rooted on servers that depend heavily on cables to make these wireless transmissions possible.

Many edge computing and modular servers, which are relatively new, still use humble Cat6 and Cat5E cables, though the shift to faster and more efficient fiber optic cables is happening.

Everyday Online Activities

There’s little debate that day-to-day usage continues to grow. The popularity of video and music streaming platforms has surged, leading to the need for faster data transmission to support high-quality streaming.

Regardless of the platform, whether social media networks or pay-to-use services and streaming apps, they all depend on physical servers. These servers are massive and use unimaginable amounts of cables to allow real-time activities and communication on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 

E-Commerce

Although data transmissions through the communication mediums mentioned above seem massive, so are e-commerce platforms. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has over 100 data centers worldwide. Each data center can have around 50,000 – 1.4 million servers. 

Amazon disclosed this in 2014. Who knows how massive their server infrastructure is today? And to make it more staggering, we’re only talking about one e-commerce platform. There are approximately 9.1 million e-commerce platforms

Add to this, the vast network that cryptocurrency depends on. From simple mining setups at home that require cabling, to whales that situate their operations in warehouses, they need to implement good cable management to be effective.

Network Cabling E-Commerce Platforms

The Future State

The growth of data transmission is exponential, challenging the capacity of existing infrastructure. As a result, there is a constant push for innovation and investment in network technologies. The need for better infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for faster, more reliable, and secure data transmission is still high. 

The development of technologies like 5G, Wi-Fi 6, and the expansion of fiber-optic networks will play a crucial role in accommodating ongoing data transmission growth. Additionally, data security and privacy considerations become more critical as data volumes increase, leading to a continued focus on safeguarding the transmission and storage of personal information.

At its foundation, proper cable networking or data center cable management is a fundamental aspect that makes all that possible. It’s not an understatement to say that at the current and even in the foreseeable future, cables will play an invaluable part in our IT industry. 

Challenges and Problems in Almost Every Type of Data Center

Now that we’ve discussed our current IT infrastructure and the needs of the future, let’s delve into the challenges that data centers have with cable management. We’ll focus on the main challenges in both the planning stage and post-planning stages, early warning signs and the consequences if cable management issues are ignored.

Base Causes of Cable Management Challenges

Professional network cabling, especially at the highest level (data center cable management), truly is an imperative. When done correctly, data centers have the potential to save millions of dollars by ensuring more reliable and stable uptimes. It also speeds up troubleshooting, lessening the odds of downtime dramatically. The reasons for network cabling challenges are complex, however there are a few core causes – the basics – of improper cabling:

Training and Expertise – a significant number of network cabling problems can be due to a lack of knowledge and experience. When data center operators skim on training, duplicate installations can happen. Duplicates can dry up the organization’s budget and exhaust cable management components. Experienced managers and technicians will know how to avoid many issues before they become problems. 

Management Hierarchy – when there is a shortage of expertise, managers and technicians can be left to make big decisions, with potentially catastrophic consequences. This can lead to cabling changes, server rework, and many others that won’t have any immediate impact but can create complexities over time. Moreover, most technicians do not document changes, making it difficult to track changes that may have caused errors and problems in the system. Strict standards and accountability are central to addressing this.

Maintenance – some data centers skim on maintenance. When outages occur, and cables are replaced, the old and problematic cables are often left secured as they take too much time to remove properly. Leaving dead or unused cables in place is a common cause of overloading server racks, resulting in less airflow from the “spaghetti mess”, loss of device performance and more time consuming troubleshooting.

The Sheer Volume of Component Management

The most common challenge many data centers face is the sheer volume of components. Data centers with 40 to 50 racks can have a minimum of 20,000 cabling and port components on their initial launch. Add the growth factor, and the volume grows accordingly.

The volume alone isn’t the only issue either; it’s the documentation. Problems arise when data centers want to cut costs using simple spreadsheets for complex operations. Spreadsheets may work for one or two racks or modular data centers deployed in schools and smaller establishments. But for data centers housing thousands and thousands of servers, it is a hazard. 

Underdeveloped Management and Personnel Structure

Having operators for mid-sized and large data centers throughout the day to communicate with is vital. Technicians and engineers should be available for outages immediately. If management is complacent and undervalues shift schedules, unnecessarily lengthy outages can happen. 

The challenge here is that finding talent isn’t easy, especially in an industry that has become increasingly competitive. Other problems can occur when managers fail to provide complete instructions to technicians, causing on-the-spot improvisation that may lead to faulty installations and discrepancies between reality and the documentation. 

Unnecessary Expansion Spending 

As a data center operator, you face an ongoing issue of insufficient port capacity, no matter how much you invest in expansion. The most frequent reason for this shortage is outdated cabling that hasn’t been removed – as described above.

This creates the possibility of having to make unnecessary investments in costly port expansions when you could have achieved the same impact by efficiently utilizing existing ports. These investments tie up crucial funds that data center managers could have better used elsewhere.

Cable Smoldering and Lack of Cable Labeling

In cable trays with numerous cables bundled together, concerns arise about the effects of heat. In the worst-case scenario, you might have encountered cable smoldering!

When identifying the cause or investigating excessive heat, a critical issue emerges: nobody knows which cables pass through the hotspot. Are these cables purely for data, or do they also carry electrical power, such as Power over Ethernet (PoE)? The root of this problem likely stems from insufficient cable labeling and a lack of knowledge or documentation regarding their characteristics.

PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) Improvement and Sustainability Goals

With the increasing focus on the environmental impact of data center operations and evolving regulations, data centers are compelled to reevaluate their cabling practices. It becomes evident that subpar cable management poses multiple challenges to your green IT initiatives. 

Firstly, inadequately organized cables disrupt airflow for cooling, hindering your efforts to attain the desired energy efficiency levels. Secondly, data centers lacking comprehensive documentation struggle to implement the circular reuse of cabling equipment. The same obstacles apply to advancing the use of cabling components manufactured with sustainability criteria and a minimized CO2 footprint.

Audit Challenges and Compliance

Preparing for certifications like ISO 27001 or compliance audits for structured cabling standards places significant demands on your organization. During audits, critical findings, such as non-compliance issues, often emerge due to failure to meet the requirements of the relevant standards. 

The root cause of these problems usually lies in a lack of knowledge about the existing structured cabling; incomplete documentation and necessary corrections that were not identified in day-to-day operational reporting. Last-minute changes just before an audit are typically unfeasible, putting you at risk of not obtaining crucial certifications. Additionally, maintaining compliance tends to slip after an audit, resulting in new issues to address during recertification.

Data Center Network Cabling By Two Professionals

Consequences of Ignoring Data Center Issues and Challenges

Ignoring data center issues and challenges can lead to various negative consequences that impact business operations, efficiency, and reliability. Here are some of the potential outcomes of neglecting these problems:

  • Downtime and Service Disruptions – failing to address issues can result in unplanned downtime and service disruptions, affecting productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Financial Loss – data center problems can lead to financial losses due to downtime, data loss, and inefficient resource utilization.
  • Data Loss and Security Breaches – inadequate attention to security and infrastructure issues can expose data to the risk of loss or breaches, potentially compromising sensitive information.
  • Inefficient Resource Allocation – ignoring capacity and efficiency problems can lead to suboptimal resource allocation, resulting in wasted resources and higher operating costs.
  • Reduced Competitiveness – unresolved challenges can hinder a company’s ability to compete effectively in a data-dependent market.
  • Regulatory Non-Compliance – neglecting issues related to regulatory compliance can lead to legal and financial penalties.
  • Environmental Impact – poorly managed data centers can have a negative environmental footprint, contributing to energy inefficiency and e-waste.
  • Reputation Damage – frequent service disruptions and data security issues can damage an organization’s reputation and erode customer trust.
  • Missed Opportunities – ignoring advancements in data center technology can result in missed opportunities for improved performance, scalability, and cost savings.
  • Operational Inefficiencies – unresolved challenges can lead to operational inefficiencies, making it harder to adapt to changing business needs and market conditions.
  • Audit Failures – failing to address compliance issues can result in audit failures, making it nearly impossible to secure certifications and contracts.
  • Workforce Frustration – data center problems can lead to employee frustration, as they struggle to work effectively when systems are unreliable or slow.
  • Resource and Time Drain – continually addressing emergencies and troubleshooting issues can drain valuable resources and divert time away from strategic initiatives.
  • Lack of Scalability – neglected issues can hinder the scalability of the data center, making it challenging to accommodate growth and expansion.
  • Long-Term Costs – delaying necessary investments and maintenance can lead to higher long-term costs when problems become more extensive and complex.
  • Innovation Stagnation – focusing on managing persistent problems can hinder innovation and adopting new technologies.

As you can see from the list above, the consequences can be varied and widespread. To mitigate risk, it’s crucial for organizations to proactively address data center cabling challenges, implement best practices and stay informed about advancements in cable management innovation. Regular maintenance, monitoring, and planning are essential for maintaining a reliable and efficient data center that supports the needs of the business and its customers.

Cable Management Planning

If you’re seeking a more in-depth and technical guide on cable management planning, please read our whitepaper – Effective Cable Management Planning In Modern Data Center Architecture. Here, you’ll learn better strategies from the data center pre-deployment stage to the deployment stage. You’ll also see charts on Network Architecture Types to help you make the best decision for your future or current data center. 

Read here: Effective Cable Management Planning In Modern Data Center Architecture

Manager Follows Data Center Cable Management Tips

Data Center Cable Management Tips and Solutions That You Can Implement

Effective cable management is crucial for maintaining a well-organized, efficient, and reliable data center. Here are some cable management solutions that you can implement to improve the organization and performance of your data center:

  • Cable Trays and Runways – install cable trays and runways to support and route cables overhead or under the floor. This keeps cables organized and out of the way, facilitating airflow and maintenance. This reduces heat buildup and ensures smooth operations.
  • Cable Labels and Identification – label cables clearly at both ends to make it easy to identify and trace them. Utilize color coding and cable markers for quick visual recognition.
  • Cable Management Racks – use cable management racks with slots, rings, and hooks to neatly bundle and secure cables. These help prevent tangling and maintain order – moving you away from the dreaded “spaghetti mess”!
  • Cable Ties and Velcro Straps – secure cables with cable ties or Velcro straps to bundle them together. Velcro straps are reusable and allow for easy adjustments.
  • Patch Panels – implement patch panels for network and server connections. These panels streamline cable connections and make it easier to trace and manage cables.
  • Cable Management Software – use cable management software to document, track, and manage the physical layout of your cabling infrastructure. This aids in troubleshooting and planning. Avoid using generic spreadsheets for complex operations – they’re just not good enough in today’s landscape.
  • High-Density Cable Solutions – utilize high-density cabling solutions that offer compact, space-saving designs for improved cable management in tight spaces.
  • Cable Organizers and Raceways – install cable organizers and raceways to conceal and route cables along walls or ceilings, keeping them organized and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cable Length Management – ensure cables are the appropriate length to avoid excessive slack or tension. Custom cable lengths reduce clutter and improve cable management. It also saves the company a fortune (see our whitepaper for more on this – Understanding Stranded and Solid Conductor Wiring in Modern Networks)
  • Regular Maintenance – schedule – and stick to – regular cable maintenance to identify and address issues, such as damaged or disconnected cables, and to ensure optimal performance. Regular maintenance also includes removing obsolete cables to avoid unnecessary expansion spending.
  • Rack and Cabinet Organization – arrange servers and networking equipment in racks and cabinets, using cable management accessories like cable arms, cable management racks, and cable shelves within the racks.
  • Cable Pathway Planning – plan cable pathways, ensuring proper separation of power and data cables to minimize interference and maintain safety.
  • Documentation and Labeling – maintain up-to-date documentation of your cabling infrastructure, including cable types, lengths, and connection points. Ensure labels are legible, clear and accurate.
  • Regular Audits – conduct routine audits to verify the accuracy of cable documentation, check for cable integrity, and identify areas needing improvement.

By implementing these cable management solutions, you can enhance the organization, efficiency, and reliability of your data center, ultimately reducing downtime, simplifying troubleshooting, reducing expenses, and improving overall operational performance.

Data Center Rack Cable Management – The Best Solution

Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Shelf

One of the most common issues we’ve discussed is unnecessary spending on cables and rack components. Due to the exponential growth in this industry, it’s easy to understand why expansion equates to unending expenses. However, many of these expenses are impractical, especially ports, when there are simply obsolete cables you need to remove to free up more ports. 

Another typical expense is buying new server racks. This is not necessary when there are components that optimize server racks that free up more space to add in devices. And that’s where innovative cable managers come in. 

Content Promotions Horizontal Zero-U Cable Management Shelf

The Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Shelf enables technicians and engineers to set up rack servers to free up to 25-30% of rack space. Instead of buying one new rack cabinet, you can optimize three and get the same real estate for networking and storage devices as buying a new rack cabinet. 

AnD’s Zero U Cable Management Racks are the ultimate alternatives to conventional 1U or 2U cable organizers. With these cable managers, you can rest assured that you’ll save money and space while enhancing performance and setup.  

For more guidance, read our whitepaper Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs. In it, we show you how to arrange your server racks, install cable management racks and the best cabling to use so that you’re fully optimized for maximum efficiency.

Read here: Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Optimize Your Data Center With Cable Management Racks Now!

Data Center Cable Management Summary

In summation, we’ve explored three main topics: 

  1. Data Center Challenges – we explored the common challenges faced by data centers, such as issues with management, scalability, security and compliance, and environmental impact. These challenges can impact operations and reliability.
  2. Consequences of Ignoring Challenges – neglecting data center cabling issues can lead to numerous negative consequences, including downtime, financial loss, data breaches, and reputation damage. It can also hinder sustainability and regulatory compliance efforts.
  3. Cable Management Solutions – to address cable management issues in data centers, we discussed various solutions, including cable trays, labeling, cable managers, cable ties, patch panels, and software tools. Proper cable management is essential for organization, efficiency, and reliability.

Implementing these solutions can help data centers overcome challenges, reduce the negative consequences of neglect, and maintain a well-organized and efficient infrastructure.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Edge Computing – A Contrast to Colocation

Featured image of edge computing server cabinets

Edge computing is an innovative strategy that moves data storage and processing closer to users and data sources. On the contrary, colocation utilizes a third party’s centralized area and data to share resources and space with our clients. Although it may appear that location differentiates the two, there are still many other distinctions that make them suitable for different uses and needs. 

In 2025, the world’s data creation is forecast to hit a new record high of over 180 zettabytes. Of course, this will inevitably increase the demand for low-latency and high-bandwidth applications. As a result, it paved the way for new and improved data processing paradigms like edge colocation. As the name implies, it combines the best of edge computing and colocation to address the drawbacks of both and provide a better and more convenient solution to customer needs. 

Rows of server cabinets used for Edge Colocation

What Is Edge Computing

Edge computing is a method that places data processing and storage at the network’s “edge,” where it’s closer to both resources and users. Since discovering the “edge,” edge computing has become a vital modern technology. After years of relying on huge rooms as centralized data centers, edge computing decentralized the processing across multiple edge nodes or devices to create local networks and servers. Since then, it has provided numerous functions and solutions to a wide range of users. 

Because it reduces the distance between data sources and users, edge computing has a faster response time, less bandwidth consumption, better security, and many other benefits. Since it processes data on-site, it’s highly reliable, provides real-time data, works efficiently on on-demand applications, and more.

Read Specific Use Cases for Edge Computing

Advantages of Edge Computing

Edge computing offers several benefits that make it an attractive and valuable approach in today’s digital landscape:

Reduced Latency

Edge computing reduces data transmission latency to centralized data centers by processing data closer to the source or end-users. This reduction in latency is critical for applications that require real-time data processing, such as autonomous vehicles, industrial automation, and immersive virtual reality experiences.

Improved Performance

Because data processing occurs locally, performance and response times improve, enhancing the overall user experience and allowing time-sensitive applications to function smoothly.

Bandwidth Optimization

By processing and filtering data at the edge, edge computing helps optimize bandwidth usage. The central cloud or data center receives only relevant or summarized data, reducing network traffic. As a result, it saves bandwidth and minimizes the costs associated with data transmission.

Enhanced Reliability

Edge computing improves reliability by reducing reliance on centralized data centers. This function guarantees the continuity of data processing during connection or network failures. Hence, edge computing is particularly essential for mission-critical applications that cannot afford any downtime.

Scalability and Flexibility

Edge computing makes it possible to scale applications efficiently as demand changes. This means that services and applications can be changed at the network edge without requiring significant infrastructure changes for the company.

These advantages of edge computing make it a compelling solution for various applications and industries. In today’s data-driven, interconnected world, edge computing can open new doors, boost efficiency, and improve user experiences.

Person looking at graph with edge computing text overlay

Use Cases for Edge Computing

Edge computing has been beneficial to many use cases, such as the following:

  • Autonomous or Self-driving Cars

Edge computing allows real-time data processing from the vehicle’s sensors. As a result, it enables cars to process information quickly, allowing them to avoid obstacles, make decisions, and navigate autonomously. 

  • Healthcare

It allows accurate data collection and processing from medical devices in real time. Additionally, it’s essential for medical devices that must monitor a patient continuously and aren’t reliant on network connectivity. Furthermore, edge computing can improve healthcare services in rural and remote areas by allowing faster access to patient information, diagnosis, and treatment. 

  • Manufacturing and Industrial

Edge computing can also improve efficiency and productivity in factories and industrial settings. It monitors operations, controls equipment and machines, and performs other real-time tasks. It’s also useful for energy efficiency monitoring, predictive maintenance, and more. 

  • Retail

It is also helpful in processing retail sensors and other applications, allowing faster and more accurate inventory management, better customer service, and even loss or fraud detection. 

  • Human Resources (HR)

Edge computing offers numerous advantageous use cases for Human Resources (HR) departments across various industries. One prominent use case is the integration of edge devices and sensors in the workplace to gather real-time data on employee attendance, well-being, and safety.

Edge computing also makes security more robust for organizations, reducing the amount of data transmitted and processed in the cloud. That means sensitive data are less vulnerable to attacks. HR departments from established companies can deploy more secure tools exclusive to the organization for employee queries, performance, and requests. 

  • Universities

Edge computing enhances a university’s capabilities in processing and analyzing large volumes of data significantly faster. For academic researchers and doctoral students, this means more frequent breakthroughs and innovation.

Edge computing also enhances Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. By installing servers closer to devices, they can perform better. End users will experience reduced latency, while universities will benefit from less bandwidth consumption.  

Edge computing has become a significant part of many businesses and industries by processing data from sensors, cameras, machines, smart devices, etc. 

What Underlying Concept Is Edge Computing Based On

Edge computing is based on the concept of distributed computing. The idea is that instead of a centralized data center or central cloud, it distributes data processing and storage across multiple devices. Edge computing processes data closer to the “edge,” where the users and sources are. Since it’s not reliant on a central cloud for data processing, it reduces the number of “hops” the data must travel. As a result, it saves on bandwidth, makes real-time responses, performs better, and can function independently even with a poor network connection.

What Is Colocation

Colocation is the method of renting a space from a third-party colocation data center facility. It gives you access to the facility’s resources, infrastructure, and services other renters share. Colocation can be a more cost-effective and secure option than building and maintaining your data center. 

What Is a Colocation Data Center

Colocation data centers are huge facilities that house servers and resources many users share. These centers offer physical security, hardware maintenance, storage, servers, and other efficiency resources. Typically, space is rented per rack, room, cabinet, or area unit. Many companies and businesses prefer colocation, particularly if they need space to house the equipment and wish to avoid the hassle of maintaining network servers and infrastructure. 

Advantages of Colocation

Colocation has several advantages that make it ideal for many companies, such as:

Space and Lower Expenditure Costs

Of course, the most appealing colocation assets are space and cost savings. Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or a large corporation, space is valuable. Colocation provides space and security, power systems, cooling, etc., so you can save on overhead expenses.

Scalability and Flexibility

Because you can easily rent more space and add more applications, scaling as your business expands is also convenient.

Skilled Staff and Maintenance

Experts and personnel in data centers can help monitor and maintain hardware, equipment, and other systems to ensure everything runs at peak performance. 

Better Security

Security personnel can ensure that no one comes into contact with any of the company’s sensitive information or data. Furthermore, experts in data centers can also help design applications and network security to help manage risks and other cyber threats. 

Colocation is becoming a more popular option for businesses of all sizes – not just giant organizations. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a cost-effective, secure, and scalable way to host your data and applications. 

Use Cases for Colocation

Colocation is excellent for small businesses and large corporations requiring space and security for their tech infrastructure. Here are a few use cases that work well with colocation

  • Financial institutions

Financial institutions, such as banks that need an extra level of security benefit from colocation. Physical security and expert risk managers help protect clients’ personal information and the company’s assets.

  • E-commerce

Online businesses can thrive with strong connectivity without building additional infrastructure, cutting costs, and saving space. 

  •  Technology Companies

Many tech companies also use colocation to house high-powered hardware and other applications that require reliability and security. 

As the digital world expands and the need for connectivity of resources becomes more valuable, colocation will undoubtedly play a significant part in the future and evolution of data centers. 

Key Differences Between Edge Computing and Colocation

Edge computing and colocation have many key differences. Here are some of them:

Edge ComputingColocation 
Location and Proximity to End-UsersCloser to the end-usersA separate and distant area away from the end-user
Infrastructure and HardwareSmaller, more distributed data units or devices

Hardware is smaller, more efficient, and can be moved anywhere
Large and centralized data centers

More extensive and powerful hardware that can handle big operations shared by multiple users
Scalability and FlexibilityScalable as you can add resource requirements based on business needs

Flexible because it can be used to support a wide variety of applications
Also scalable since you can simply rent more or less space Also flexible because you can customize it on demand

Biggest difference is that colocation data centers can handle massive upgrades
Cost and MaintenanceTypically more expensive since it requires specialized hardware and software to process on the “edge”

Regular maintenance and updates can also be costly
It can be less expensive as multiple users can share maintenance costs

Users only pay for bandwidth and resources that they need
Best forApplications that require real-time processingApplications that require high availability and depends more on data storage than dynamic processing

What Is Edge Colocation

Simply put, edge colocation is edge computing implemented through colocation. It’s a combination of strategically located data centers and high-performance systems. Its edge data centers have eliminated the need for businesses to construct new facilities for their edge computing needs and have it handled by a third-party organization that offers colocation and edge computing services. Additionally, since the data travels a shorter distance because these data centers are located close to the end user, performance is also better and more efficient. 

Black colocation server cabinets that are edge ready

What Is an Edge Data Center

Edge data centers are smaller “colocation” facilities located closer to the network’s edge. An edge colocation data center is a type of edge data center that provides faster content delivery with minimal latency because it is located close to the population it serves. 

When choosing a data center, there are several factors you should consider aside from location, such as:


Save Thousands and Generate Millions in Revenue

For data centers, on the other hand, one way to ensure savings and smarter hardware expansion and footprint usage is to use optimization devices. One that allows your data center engineers to use all of your server rack units (RU) is through a Zero U Cable Manager

This server rack cabinet management tool allows you to replace the traditional 1RU or 2RU cable managers that use unnecessary space. For already established data centers, you can recover up to 30% of your rack units by installing a Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Shelf. That means you get to free one whole server rack cabinet for every three optimized cabinets to secure more storage, switches, and other devices without paying thousands of dollars. 

For edge colocation data centers where floor space management is paramount, Zero U cable managers are no longer a “nice-to-have” upgrade but a necessity. 

Side-by-side comparison of 1U and Zero U cable manager

Who Is Edge Colocation For

Edge colocation can be an exceptional option for companies that need high-performance applications or services for many users in a particular area or region. It can benefit organizations and industries looking to enhance their software and services’ efficiency, security, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.

Use Cases of Edge Colocation

Here are some use cases that benefit from edge colocation:

  • Telecom

As we move to 5G, there is a greater opportunity to place network function virtualization (NFV) nodes further from antennas while keeping base stations near their communities. Instead of building a bigger server in one location, they can cut costs by creating smaller servers and distributing them to different areas. 

  • Bare-metal Services 

Meta’s bare metal offerings on edge colocation allow applications and services to run on physical servers at the network’s edge at a lower cost because you can rent space or pay by the hour. Edge colocation can offer high performance, flexibility, and more control.

  • Virtual Machines (VMs) or Containers

Edge colocation’s reduced latency, better connectivity, improved security, rapid scaling, and portability can benefit high-powered VMs and containers. For example, a gaming company could use edge colocation to host its game servers closer to end users. Of course, it’s expected to result in better connectivity and performance.  

Edge colocation is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years due to the increased use of the IoT, 5G, and the demand for greater security. 

Data Center Companies

There are already a growing number of data center companies worldwide. Here are some of the leading names:

  • Digital Realty

Another leading data center and cloud solution provider, it has a global footprint that connects over 310+ data centers across 25+ countries.

  • Equinix

Equinix is another global leader in data center and colocation services for enterprise networks and cloud computing. It has 248 data centers in 27 countries on five continents. 

  • NTT Communications

NTT Communications is a global provider of cloud, managed data center services, and IT solutions. They have over 200 data centers in 70 markets across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

These are just some of the many data center companies around. When selecting an edge data center provider, it is critical to consider your specific company’s needs and requirements.

Should Your Organization Use Edge Colocation Services

As the amount of data used and created at the edge boosts, colocation at the edge is becoming increasingly crucial. Selecting the right data center is crucial if you think edge colocation will benefit your company. You also need the right equipment and configuration to maximize efficiency and space in the data center. 

Data Center Cabinets

The 5G revolution, Edge Computing and the demand for Distributed Data requires data centers to become greater in capacity and ability. This simultaneously increases the complexity and difficulty in managing the data center infrastructure.

The amount of data centers required for processing the exponentially increasing amounts of data for streaming, Al, AR and the Internet of Things (IoT) also puts a greater demand on capital expenditures. Companies must scale upwards quickly but efficiently with an eye on both performance and economy. lT executives are given a seemingly impossible task to expand services, improve efficiencies, manage the growth and stay within an already stretched budget.

All-in-One IT Cabinet by Rakworx with text overlay showing  benefits

Modular Data Center Solutions

In addition to precisely prefabricated, modular structures and components, these high-quality Modular Data Centers efficiently utilize natural air and an evaporative cooling system to help maximize productivity from the lT infrastructure. Intelligent power distribution systems help self-monitor and regulate all activities within the structure.

Find out more about Modular Data Centers

At AnD Cable Products, we understand these challenges. We offer everything your data center needs, from Zero U Rack Solutions to every type and style of cable you need. We can customize cables for your application and offer various other hardware solutions to help your business succeed and grow. When you are ready to upgrade your cables, make moves and changes, or even deploy a new colocation or edge colocation data center or edge computing center – contact us at (800) 394-3008 or click HERE for a FREE 30-day TRIAL of our Zero U Cable Managers.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Throughput vs. Speed – Basics of Copper and Fiber Optic Cables for Superior Data Transmission

Feature Throughput vs. Speed - Basics of Copper and Fiber Optic Cables for Superior Data Transmission

Copper cables have been a staple for data transmission for decades, with their roots tracing back to the telegraph and telephone. Fiber optic cables, introduced in the 1950s, have grown in popularity since the early 1970s. When choosing between copper and fiber optic cables for your applications, understanding the differences in throughput and speed is crucial. Let’s explore the history, transmission methods, and practical applications of these two types of cables.

Throughput vs. Speed - Basics of Copper and Fiber Optic Cables for Superior Data Transmission

The History of Data Cables

Copper cables have been the backbone of long-distance electricity and communication transmission for many years. Fiber optic cables emerged in the 1970s and rapidly gained popularity due to their unique capabilities. While both cable types serve similar purposes, their underlying technology differs significantly.

Copper cables transmit data through electrical impulses, which travel over short and long distances. However, copper has its limitations, including durability, signal loss, security vulnerabilities, and susceptibility to interference.

For more on this you can read our Whitepaper on copper cables below:

WHITEPAPER – Understanding Ethernet Patch Cords in Modern Networks

Whitepaper: Understanding Ethernet Patch Cords in Modern Networks - AnD Cable Products

This whitepaper explores the differences in ethernet cable and connector properties, the relevant Standards and provides a guide to best use cases within data center environments

  • Ethernet Patch Cords and RJ-45 Connectors
  • Ethernet Patch Cords and UTP Cabling
  • Twisted Conductor Pairs – What’s All the Twisting About?
  • Straight-Through and Crossover Patch Cord Cables

Fiber optic cables utilize light pulses for data transmission, produced by an LED and transmitted through strands of specialized glass or plastic. Light and electricity can travel at near-light speeds, theoretically allowing global data transmission within seconds. Advances in fiber optic technology continue to improve data transfer rates.

Read our Whitepaper on fiber optic cables for more below:

WHITEPAPER – Understanding Fiber Optic Cables and Connectors in Modern Networks

Fanned Understanding Fiber Optic Cables and Connectors in Modern Networks

This whitepaper takes a deeper look into the various fiber optic cable and connector types used in modern networks, their specifications, benefits and draw-backs. It details typical applications and use in data center settings.

  • Fiber Optic Cable Types and Attributes
  • Fiber Optic Connector Types and Attributes
  • Fiber Optic Measurements and Classifications

Data Transmission Techniques

Understanding the methods of data transmission is essential, as it directly affects the cable’s reliability, speed, and maximum distance.

Copper cables rely on electrical pulses, which a decoder then interprets back into the original data. Over longer distances, signal attenuation, or deterioration, occurs due to resistance.

Fiber optic cables employ binary-coded light pulses, with a pulse representing a 1 and no pulse a 0. Optical receivers decode these pulses back into electronic data. The cable’s protective cladding and materials help maintain signal strength over long distances.

Speed vs. Throughput

Although both electrical and light pulses transmit data at near-light speeds, fiber optic cables are faster. The critical difference between copper and fiber optic cables is throughput, or the volume of data transmitted within a specific period.

For example, a legacy copper telephone line supports 3,000 simultaneous calls, while modern fiber optic network cables can handle up to 31,000 calls. As data transmission demands increase, the shift towards fiber optic cables is essential.

Throughput in data transmission refers to the cable’s ability to handle a specific data volume within a given time. For instance, some fiber optic cables can transmit up to 10Gbps, while copper cables manage only 25-300 Mbps. This significant difference stems from the cable’s frequency range, with higher frequencies enabling greater throughput.

Copper cables suffer from signal attenuation at both longer distances and higher frequencies. Additionally, their metal construction makes them prone to noise and electromagnetic interference, unlike fiber optic cables.

Selecting the Right Cable for Your Application

The primary factors to consider when selecting a cable are data volume, transmission frequency, distance, and potential interference.

Copper cables still have their place in data centers and other applications, primarily due to their lower cost. They are suitable for power and minimal data transmission across short distances in protected environments.

While copper cables have improved in durability and insulation, fiber optic cables have also advanced, now supporting even higher frequencies in thinner cables. The reduced size of fiber optic cables enhances airflow around server racks, mitigating tangling and breakage issues.

For expert guidance on fiber optic cables for new installations, moves, or changes, reach out to AnD Cable Products. Our team specializes in remote monitoring systems, Zero U cable management installations, and more. We are committed to supporting your business at every stage of development.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/

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Optimize Your Data Center for a Potential Downturn – Doing More With Less

Feature Optimize Your Data Center for a Potential Downturn - Doing More With Less - AnD Cable Management Blog

With every recession, companies make valiant attempts to reduce their spending. One of the first things to go is marketing. Then the C-Suite starts to look for other potential savings, including in the area of servers and data management. But the need to process and analyze data, access the internet, and other tasks doesn’t go away. To be competitive, data centers also need to cut costs, and find ways to do more with less. 

Sometimes this involves moves and changes that, while they cost time and even money to implement in the short term, will result in later gains in the long term. Let’s look at some strategies that can help optimize your data center.

Optimize Your Data Center for a Potential Downturn - Doing More With Less - AnD Cable Management Blog
To be competitive, data centers also need to cut costs, and find ways to do more with less. Learn strategies to optimize your data center.

Optimize Server Configurations 

One of the best ways to cut costs is to optimize your server configurations. Servers will use less floorspace, giving you room to add new servers in the same number of square feet. 

How do you do this? Well, first you start by replacing your existing Cable Management racks, with Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Racks. This unique design is used to mount ZeroU Cable Managers in the same U space as the active component, replacing conventional 1U and 2U cable managers and recovering rack space which can now be used for active devices.

When you use An D Cable’s slim 4” Vertical Cable Managers, (VCM), you can save even more space allowing you to gain floor space and move racks closer together.

This alone can result in a cost savings of between $4,000 and $9,000 per 4 system installations.

But that’s just the start of how you’ll save money. When you use AnD Cable Products’ slim 4” Vertical Cable Managers (VCM), you can save even more space, as they enable you to gain floor space by moving the racks closer together.

Below is a Whitepaper we’ve written that will take you through this step-by-step.

WHITEPAPER – Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs FREE Guide - AnD Cable Products

Smart optimization can help you increase rack space and realize significant equipment cost savings. Read our step-by-step guide that shows you how – and how much you could save.

  • How Much Rack Space You Could Save
  • How to Optimize for Maximum Efficiency
  • Savings for New and Retrofit Installations
  • Overall Cost and Space Savings Post-Optimization

Improve Airflow for Greater HVAC Efficiency

Not only do Zero U Cable Management Racks save space, but they can also help you improve server airflow no matter what your HVAC configuration. Not only are “spaghetti mess” wires ugly and potentially damaging, but they also impede airflow. This results in higher operating temperatures and reduced efficiency along with the potential damage to equipment. 

But also as rack density increases, so do challenges to HVAC systems. This is why hot and cold aisle containment, assisted by the right rack systems and better cabling solutions is essential. This is true for both hyperscale data centers and edge data centers. Whether hot or cold aisle containment is right for you will depend on your situation. 

But either way, optimizing your rack space is just the first step. Adding the right containment plan and HVAC solution can also save you a lot of money in the long run. 

Use Remote Monitoring

With modern technology, it is easy to monitor data centers remotely. This is through physical layer network security, monitoring, and control systems. Through this solution, you can not only monitor your systems, but often make control changes as well.

This eliminates temperature changes from workers entering and exiting the data center floor, saves time and money spent on on-site personnel, and can facilitate repairs by pinpointing problems and taking the guesswork out of repairs. 

A cloud server means monitoring can happen anywhere, managers and technicians can receive real time alerts, and solutions can be immediately deployed. It’s one of the best ways to do more with less. 

Go Green When Possible

Finally, there are infinite ways to go green with your data center. Not only are renewable energy sources available, but there are many ways to conserve energy. Many are listed above, like server optimization, hot and cold aisle containment, and remote monitoring. But there are also countless examples of how Amazon, Facebook, and other tech giants are “greening” their data centers

With the greater demands of AI, remote work, and increased internet speeds and 5G demands, these steps are more important than ever. Green initiatives are vital to energy and cost savings over time. 

A global recession still looms, and while it may be short lived, there are always ups and downs in any industry. Preparing for the next downturn is not just taking advantage of savings now, but it a viable way to plan for a better, more sustainable future. That sustainability impacts not only your business, but the companies you serve and the planet we all live on. 

Doing more with less isn’t just a short term solution. It’s a better way of doing business. Make a start by Contacting Us to discuss your needs.

About the Author

Louis Chompff - Founder, AnD Cable Products, Rack and Cable ManagementLouis Chompff – Founder & Managing Director, AnD Cable Products
Louis established AnD Cable Products – Intelligently Designed Cable Management in 1989. Prior to this he enjoyed a 20+ year career with a leading global telecommunications company in a variety of senior data management positions. Louis is an enthusiastic inventor who designed, patented and brought to market his innovative Zero U cable management racks and Unitag cable labels, both of which have become industry-leading network cable management products. AnD Cable Products only offer products that are intelligently designed, increase efficiency, are durable and reliable, re-usable, easy to use or reduce equipment costs. He is the principal author of the Cable Management Blog, where you can find network cable management ideas, server rack cabling techniques and rack space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online at https://andcable.com/shop/