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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/

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How a Fire-Rated Power Distribution System Reduces Risk

How a Fire-Rated Power Distribution System Reduces Risk - AnD Cable Management Blog

Fires are not super common in data centers, but they do happen, and most often when they do, they are not reported (at least not in the news). Much of the reason for this is that fires are usually small and quickly contained. It is unusual for a data center to become fully engulfed. 

Even when such fires are reported on, details can be sketchy, causes, and investigations hidden behind NDA’s and are therefore difficult to learn from. While companies want to retain control over the narrative and how it impacts their reputation, the information around fires can and should be shared within the industry to prevent further similar events. And there are some things you can do now – such as remote monitoring – to keep your staff and facilities safe. 

Remote monitoring can help your data center keep staff and equipment safe from fire damage

The OVHCloud Incident

On 10 March 2021, near midnight local time, a fire started in the OVHCloud SBG2 data center, quickly got out of control, and even damaged two other nearby data centers. The fire started near two UPS units, one of which was worked on that same day. 

The company is considered a European alternative to the giant US cloud operators and is a key participant in the European Union’s GaiaX cloud project. Data centers serve some key functions in the French government, the UK vehicle licensing department, and others. Operations were directly impacted by the fire, although the company did have backup data centers, and quickly restored service to most customers. 

But poor design and operational practices that seem to sacrifice dependability for innovation have caused some issues, including major outages, for OVHCloud. The fire just punctuated an ongoing issue but also caused many data center operators and customers to pause and think about something probably not mentioned often enough: the risk of fire in data centers. 

What are the Fire Risks?

When broken down there are a few key fire risks common to all data centers, and most of the time they are relatively easy to mitigate.

  • Electrical Equipment – temperature changes can increase this risk, and of course, a source of risk is also backup power equipment. Generator rooms that contain gas or diesel fumes can create intense fires quickly that would be hard to fight.  
  • Cables – data center power cables are usually not enough to start a fire by themselves, but a damaged cable can release sparks or overheat and cause a small fire or thermal incident that can then spread. Proper cable management and monitoring of underfloor and overhead cabling can help prevent these events. 
  • HVAC Infrastructure – heating and cooling units present some fire danger to data centers and should be inspected often and monitored carefully. Its operation is also critical to maintaining optimal temperatures in the data center to prevent other thermal events. 
  • External Fire Sources – California wildfires. The recent blaze in Boulder. The Texas fires last year. All are examples of external fire risk to data centers, specifically those Edge data centers in less populated areas. 

Most of these can be controlled by properly managing the data center, but there are some events that can only be prepared for. Having fire suppression systems and plans in place is critical regardless of the likelihood of the danger. 

Fire Prevention Systems

Of course, the best prescription for dealing with fire is prevention. The key to this in the modern data center environment is a complete remote monitoring system. The A150 Network Monitoring System is designed specifically for data centers, IT rooms, and confidential lab operators with virtual graphics showing temperature, rack power consumption, and humidity. 

But most importantly for this topic, the system provides alerts for mission critical events like the sudden temperature changes associated with fires, smoke alarms, and sprinkler activation alerts. You can also be alerted to things like power spikes, a rise in server temperatures, or even UPS unit failures so you can make emergency repairs and mitigate fire risk before one starts. 

The reality is that anything you can do to prevent fire before it happens is preferrable than anything you can do to suppress and extinguish an active blaze. However, those are contingencies you need to prepare for. 

Fire Rated Power Distribution Systems

There are two primary principles when it comes to any fire safety plan, anywhere. They are the two P’s: prevent (which we discussed above) and protect. Part of both of these is the vital role of uninterrupted power. Enter the role of a fire-rated busbar trunking system.

These systems can be operational for a period of up to two or even three hours depending on their ratings. They’re also cased in a fire-retardant self-extinguishing resin that essentially protects the power supply itself. The idea is that this will give first responders time to extinguish the fire before it can spread.

How do you choose the right one for your data center? Well, there are established guidelines that indicate the type of fire, the duration they were tested for, how they endured water spray, such as that from sprinkler systems, and the power supply integrity in a fire situation.

Technically, they look like this: 

  • BS IEC 60331-1: 2019 – Tests for electric cables under fire conditions; circuit integrity
  • BS 8602:2013 – Method for assessment of fire integrity of cast resin busbar trunking systems for the safety-critical power distribution to life safety and firefighting systems
  • BS 6387:2013 (CWZ Protocol) – Test method for resistance to fire of cables required to maintain circuit integrity under fire conditions. Fire-resistant cables are classified by a sequence of symbols (for example, CWZ) in accordance with the fire resistance criteria they meet, the selected test temperature, and the length of the fire resistance test per BS 6387
  • NFPA 75 – Standard for the fire protection of IT equipment
  • ISO 834 – Fire resistance tests- elements of building construction
  • ATEX & IECEx – ATEX certification is given to equipment that has gone through rigorous testing outlined by European Union directives and proved safe to use in specific environments with explosive atmospheres, according to the zone/s they are certified to be used in.

The most important part of this discussion is the planning stage. It’s vital to have a disaster plan in place and address both prevention and keeping a fire from happening in the first place to protect the data center and minimize the fire’s impact. 

The more we learn from data center fires, the more likely we are to be able to prevent them going forward, and mitigate the damage in the rare event they do occur. 

Need some advice on cable management, remote monitoring, or other aspects of data center planning? Contact us – we’d love to start a conversation about how we can help you with your data center management plan. 

Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control

A150 Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control System Brochure

Full visibility, network security and control of your physical layer environment. Monitor your entire hybrid cloud and IT infrastructure from a cloud-based, integrated dashboard:

  • Introducing the A150 System
  • A150 System Architecture – High-Level Overview
  • A150 System Features
  • System Controller Hardware and Specifications
  • Monitoring Controllers, Probes and Sensors

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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Dead Servers Walking – Zombie Servers and Data Center Efficiency

Feature - Dead Servers Walking - Zombie Servers and Data Center Efficiency - AnD Cable Management Blog

Data centers use a lot of power, and while the move to renewable energy helps, other efficiencies must be created to keep these power-hungry behemoths in check. It is estimated that 2% of the carbon emissions in the world come from data centers, and that will only increase as we stream more, save more on the cloud, and demand internet that is faster and faster. However, there is a monster or monsters lurking in nearly every data center – zombie servers.

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Rather than roaming the world dragging their feet and looking for brains, these zombie servers quietly draw power, making a data center much less power efficient that it could be. It’s not just power either. There is also the hidden cost of the space these servers take up. What are “zombie servers” and what do we do about them?

Just Resting?

Even as demand for larger, faster data centers increases, there is a significant push for those data centers to be more efficient. So many data centers use less power as they expand. This is in part due to Power Useage Effectiveness (PUE) standards that determine how well a data center uses the power available to them.

Zombie servers are servers that still use power… but don’t actually do any work. These energy wasters can be difficult to find, especially in large data centers with thousands of servers. Part of the problem is that unlike powering off your laptop, a server is always using energy even when it is “idle.” It’s never truly off. Since the idea is to get equipment to use less energy by doing more work, it is vital that these servers be identified.

“Power! Power!”

The reason quite simply is power usage. Since the server is never truly idle, it is hard to find, because all the servers in a stack may appear to be pulling equal amounts of power, but it can be hard to determine which ones are doing the most work. While AI monitoring helps, it is still not a foolproof solution.

Not to mention the fact that many data centers have not yet implemented that technology. Traditional Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software can help with power usage and cooling, but in order to achieve newer and stricter efficiency standards, data centers must take additional steps we’ll talk about in a moment.

In fact, as recently as 2015, a study found that 1 in 3 servers in data centers were “zombies”, either comatose or consuming energy and doing little to no work. Immediately, many data centers began to take steps to locate, isolate, and remove these zombie servers. “It’s a matter of technical efficiency,” Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University told Computer World.

Wake Me Up or Just Go-Go

There are two choices when it comes to zombie servers: once located, you can either wake them up and put them to work, or you can move them out of the system. Alternatively, you can move their computing functions to the cloud. The problem is a bit more complex though.

Data centers are often fearful of removing some zombie servers in case they may be needed, or are more mission critical than first thought. This can result in zombies staying online and sucking power longer than necessary. However, as power savings have been proven in other instances, more data centers have become proactive in seeking and taking these servers offline.

Zombie Hunting

What’s the answer? In concept, it is pretty simple. An intelligent DCIM can help by creating certain reports either regularly or on demand. They include information like:

  • Charting of trends
  • Power capacity trend and analysis
  • Power charge back reporting
  • Failover testing
  • Active power by month and device

The active power by month and device can help you establish baseline power needs and consumption. Then changes can be tracked to determine what servers are underutilized or even not doing any work at all.

The key is a truly holistic approach using all the modern tools at our disposal. The piecemeal approach of shutting down a server here or there will result in only minimal power savings. Optimizing all aspects of on-site infrastructure is essential.

Need help understanding zombie servers? Are you looking for other solutions to free up space in your data center? Or are you in need of remote monitoring and physical network security options? We’re here to help.

Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control

A150 Physical Layer Environment Network Security Monitoring and Control System Brochure

Full visibility, network security and control of your physical layer environment. Monitor your entire hybrid cloud and IT infrastructure from a cloud-based, integrated dashboard:

  • Introducing the A150 System
  • A150 System Architecture – High-Level Overview
  • A150 System Features
  • System Controller Hardware and Specifications
  • Monitoring Controllers, Probes and Sensors

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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location

Feature - Key Considerations When Choosing Your Next Data Center Location - AnD Cable Management Blog

In business, the adage location, location, location has always been a concern for any physical structure. This is true of data centers as well. When it comes to your next data center location, where do you build?

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There are several prime locations around the country for the mega data centers that are popping up everywhere, but there will always be a need for local data centers, and as the need for more storage and faster data rates increases, so will the size and configuration of those data centers. But what influences location? There are two primary factors: safety, and network exchange proximity. Let’s take a closer look.

Data Center Starts

AOL started in Northern Virginia with its first data center. As the area grew, the communities invested in technology and network hubs that attracted more tech giants. In fact, Microsoft bought land in the Loudoun area for around 1.4 million per acre just this year, showing that the value of data center land in that area will not be taking a dive anytime soon.

The Pacific Northwest is also a data center hub, with Amazon leading the way along with several other large tech companies. One reason is that water is plentiful in these wet areas and can be harnessed easily for cooling purposes.

That was just the start, of course. Since then, locations have popped up all over the country.

Safety and Network Proximity

But you can’t just build data centers where you have access to water, and as the Microsoft story illustrates, building near other data centers may be cost prohibitive for many companies. While the Pacific Northwest is also a great location for other reasons, data centers must be built in other places.

Where is the ideal place to build? Well, as with many other things, it depends, but of course the two primary concerns above must be kept in mind. For instance, you could build in the middle of nowhere, where land is cheap, water is plentiful, and there are few weather-related concerns. But if you don’t have a solid connection to the network, your data center will never work.

Taxes, Labor, and Incentives

Taxes, labor, and incentives are all normal costs and benefits of doing business in any given location. For instance, in California the tax laws can be complicated, labor regulations are more restrictive than in some other neighboring states. However, some counties or municipalities offer tax incentives to data centers located there.

In addition, many will be close to network hubs, and will also have talent to draw upon when the time comes to hire new employees. This can be another vital factor in data center location. The right talent can be hard to find in the tech industry, and nearby universities, an appealing community surrounding the data center, and other factors can heavily influence recruiting.

It’s a good idea to keep things under wraps when first negotiating a data center site. Otherwise, bidding wars, protests from community members who may not want to see a data center in their area, and others can derail the best plan before it even gets a chance to get started.

Another consideration is power and access to sustainable resources.

Going Green is the New Black

A huge consideration for data centers is their environmental impact. Choosing a location with a high solar score, for example, allows a data center to operate primarily on renewable energy. The same is true for nearby hydroelectric and wind energy. One of the primary things driving this trend is consumer interest.

Because the consumer wants to do business with companies investing in renewable energy, those same companies partner with data center partners who share the same values. It all comes down to energy and where it comes from.

In this way, companies have gotten creative, locating data centers in cooler northern climates, placing them underwater, and locating them in caves and other areas underground. All of these efforts are attempting to take advantage of natural cooling factors to save energy and improve efficiency.

As much as possible, the location of a data center should be coupled with environmental responsibility and sources of renewable energy.

Key Takeaways

Does all of this sound a bit complicated? It can be. Also there are simply times when you are limited in your selection by geography, local zoning, and the land available to you. But choosing a data center location, much like choosing the location of any other business, will depend on your individual circumstances.

Once you are ready to build, we here at AnD Cable Products can help you with a variety of products to help you maximize your space, get the right cables for your data center, provide labelling products, and even help with physical layer network security and monitoring.

Have questions? Contact us today. We’re happy to talk about your needs for new data center builds or simply moves and changes in current facilities. Join our email list to get the latest news and data center tips. No spam, ever.

Shop Our Power Cable Range


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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Proper Power Cable Usage Prevents Poor Performance

Feature - Proper Power Cable Usage Prevents Poor Performance - AnD Cable Management Blog

Data centers are moving away from under floor cooling and cabling, and in many cases to overhead cables and more advanced cooling systems. At the same time, what may seem the simplest of things, power cables, are evolving and changing as well. The reasons are quite simple. New angles, new cable types, and even new connection types are designed to ensure maximum uptime, no cable failures and the prevention of disastrous accidental disconnects or power loss.

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So what do these cables look like, and how can proper power cable usage prevent poor data center performance? Here are seven things to consider.

Cable Length Matters

In the case of power cables, the shorter the cable the better. No matter how good the power cord is, what gauge it is, or how it is insulated, aggregate power loss occurs over the length of the cord. The longer the cord, the greater the loss. In a large data center this can add up to thousands of dollars of wasted power annually.

Not only does this harm the data center’s overall power usage efficiency (PUE) but it is also harmful to the environment, increasing carbon emissions or even just diminishing efficiency in centers that rely on renewable energy sources.

Use the shortest cable you can for the application, but one that is long enough to prevent any breaks or damage caused by odd connection angles or cable stress.

Choose Your Gauge

While shorter cables are better, larger gauge cables are better than their smaller counterparts, and for good reason. First, they carry power more efficiently. Even if smaller cables might meet your needs now, moves and changes or new equipment can increase the demand on power cables.

In that case, a larger gauge cable can future proof your data center, eliminating the need to change cables later on. Larger gauge cables also run cooler, so there is no additional burden on your HVAC systems or cooling plans.

Color Coding

We often talk about color coding data center cords, but color coding and labeling power cords is just as essential for avoiding the “spaghetti mess” server we have all encountered. But there’s more. Color coding helps you trace power from equipment to source, prevents duplicate power paths, and helps prevent accidental disconnects during moves or changes.

Choosing to color code power cords now will save you a lot of time and effort later on.

Use Shielded Power Cords

Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) can be a nightmare in data centers. Unshielded data cables used in the same area as unshielded power cords can have a serious impact on data transmission and can result in data loss. Shielded power cords can reduce or even eliminate those odd “data drops” that are hard to find and isolate.

As with other power cable properties, a little foresight here can go a long way to preventing problems down the road.

Grab a Jacket

Power cables are required to be jacketed, and the type of jacket is often dictated by local regulations and building codes. There are different materials you can and often must use based on where the cord is located, how it is used, and the restriction of the use of certain materials in various areas.

The key is to know the rules where you are, work with a vendor who can get the right cables for you consistently, and pay attention if regulations were to change.

Work the Angles

The right length of cable is important, but so is the placement of equipment in relation to those cables. The wrong angle, too tight of turns, and other issues can cause cable breakage, disconnection and more. If necessary, use angled connectors and plugs.

Keep power cords tidy, angles to a minimum, and avoid crimping, bending, and tangling them with data cables.

Lock it Up

Locking connections ensure that your cables stay where they are supposed to, and stay connected. There are several different types of locks, and each serves its own purpose. Be sure any connections you have, male, female, or otherwise, are appropriately locked in place with a tight and secure connection.

This prevents accidental disconnects, power loss through slight separation or loose connection, and other common power problems.

Are you planning your data center? Making moves and changes? Or are you looking for new, long term power cord solutions? Contact us here at AnD Cable. We have the cables you need to future proof your data center and ensure maximum uptime.

Shop Our Power Cable Range


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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Data Center Planning Post COVID – 4 Drivers of Change

Feature Data Center Planning Post COVID - 4 Drivers of Change - Cable Management Blog

COVID and the other events of 2020 have had a huge impact on data centers. Traffic has shifted to residential areas with the work from anywhere trend, and overloaded centers are in need of expansion. But that expansion has been slowed by the pandemic, and social distancing and other restrictions.

So what’s next for the post COVID world of 2021? How do data centers plan for the coming vaccine, the impact on their operations and expansion plans? Here are 4 drivers of change you should keep in mind when making your plans.

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Wooden Business Man Progresses Post COVID Into 2021- Cable Management Blog
The post COVID era presents some unique challenges for data centers

Work From Anywhere is Here to Stay

Both businesses and employees have learned that working from anywhere, specifically from home, does not mean a less productive workforce. On the contrary, many people are more productive from home, value not having to commute to an office every day and have adjusted to the new normal.

Companies have discovered thousands in savings from a smaller physical footprint, and those savings are enhanced by benefits to the environment as well. Companies like Twitter and other tech giants have promised employees the option to work from anywhere indefinitely.

While some people remain anxious to return to the office (and will do so as soon as they’ve been vaccinated) many more are more than happy to continue working remotely. Whatever the post COVID workplace looks like, it seems work as we know it has already changed forever.

Faster Internet, More Data and 5G

Regardless of where people work from, the need for faster internet, more data transmission, and the continuing expansion of 5G mean data centers will experience more demand and require more moves and changes than ever before. This is about more than just technology and changing devices. It is also about the physical arrangement of data centers – an area likely to pick up once the vaccine becomes available.

The physical layer of data centers will change post COVID, as devices grow into the Internet of Things (IoT), high performance cables come into common use, and the demand for greener operations is prioritized. Perhaps the most important factor is that data center managers stay in touch with emerging trends and remain nimble, able to adapt when needed.

Remote Monitoring

Monitoring equipment, maintenance, and up time will become even more important – despite the vaccine. Customers have come to expect reliability, and it is no longer optional. However, the additional demand on human technicians to perform moves and changes means that monitoring should be automated whenever possible.

Remote monitoring systems can help do just that, allowing personnel to focus on more pressing tasks. A sensor network can send messages when human attention is needed, and can also monitor physical spaces for unauthorized access, providing an additional layer of physical security.

These monitoring systems continue to advance, and many can even react intelligently to many issues, readjusting HVAC and humidity systems and shifting loads away from problematic devices as needed. Automation creates a number of labor saving opportunities and can even alert human managers to issues before failures can cause service interruptions and additional issues.

Artificial Intelligence Adoption

Even as hardware evolves, cables become more sophisticated, and the physical spaces in data centers changes, software also continues to improve. From simple tasks like monitoring remote sensors and sending alerts, artificial intelligence can do much more.

Think of AI as the brain of the data center. It can monitor hardware, shift server loads as needed and intelligently, learn efficiency and streamline operations, prevent downtime, and even alert human managers as needed when software changes will not solve problems.

Artificial Intelligence can also be used to project future needs, generate expansion plans and ideas, and even develop plans for the physical layer of the data center. From optimal server rack placement to cabling choices to ventilation and HVAC needs, modeling can tell you what will and won’t work ahead of time, and AI can be a big part of that.

Post COVID, artificial intelligence will impact nearly every business going forward, and the increase in the number of enhanced data centers using this technology continues to rise.

What Will Next Year Bring to Data Centers?

“It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future,” said the Danish Politician Karl Kristain Steincke in 1948. Nothing much has changed since then. The future is still hard to predict. But there are some things we do know:

Like 2020, next year will be one where many changes will happen. What changes are you making in your data center? What things do you think will be trending into the new year?

Introducing the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System

Cable Management Just Got More Economical, Efficient and Robust

Ultimate Cable Labeling System - Epson Labelworks PX Printers and AnD Cable Products UniTag Cabel Labels
Ultimate Cable Labeling System – Epson Labelworks PX Printers and AnD Cable Products UniTag Cabel Labels

AnD Cable Products and Epson Labelworks have teamed up to develop the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System with a selection of bundled cable labeling products that, when used together will revolutionize your cable management, efficiency and costs.

UniTag® Reusable Cable Labels – A plastic snap-on cable labeling system that provides a quick and easy way to mark and identify cables

Epson Labelworks PX Printers – A portable label and wire marker solution with exclusive time and costsaving features for creating custom labels

Epson’s PX Label Tapes Fit Onto AnD Cable’s UniTag® Cable Labels PERFECTLY!


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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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Artificial Intelligence in Data Centers: The New Reality

Artificial Intelligence in Data Centers - AnD Cable Management Blog

For years, artificial intelligence, or AI has been the topic of science fiction, from Skynet in the Terminator movies to more benevolent systems. But AI has now become a reality, and that reality has put artificial intelligence in data centers, and the trend is growing. Data centers employing this technology are often referred to as enhanced data centers.

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Artificial Intelligence in Data Centers - AnD Cable Management Blog
Use of artificial intelligence in data centers continues to grow

But this idea of an enhanced data center will likely become the norm, as customer expectations rise. Unprecedented demand means and centers rapidly reaching capacity mean a need for one of two solutions: increased capacity and increased efficiency. Artificial intelligence can help with both. Here’s how.

Artificial Intelligence and Data Center Emissions Control

Data centers use a lot of power, and that power often converts to carbon emissions. While technology advances and the use of solar can help, there are other solutions as well. It’s all about the efficient use of power, HVAC efficiency and flow rates, and more.

How does it work? Well, sensors, relatively small ones, can be placed throughout the data center to measure airflow rates, temperature, humidity, and power consumption in detail, down to individual racks and components. The artificial intelligence algorithm will learn from data it gathers, and can do one of two things with that data:

  • The AI can take control – cycling HVAC systems as they are needed, redirect fans and other smart devices, increasing or decreasing speed to enhance flow rates, and more. This technique is being deployed in both new and existing data centers when possible.
  • AI can report – What the AI can’t control, such as physical placement of racks, wiring, and more can be reported on and recommendations made to human operators who can make those changes.

For instance, let’s say that you have a human maintenance crew who performs certain tasks at the data center such as cleaning, moves, additions, and transfers. This involves those bodies impacting airflow, opening and closing doors adding to HVAC loads, and more. The AI can recommend the best time when there is the lowest demand on these systems, to perform these tasks.

This reduces energy loads and therefore carbon emissions, but it can do even more.

It’s All About That Balance

Server balance is a critical function of data centers and has been overseen by human managers up until now. But smart data centers are using AI and predictive algorithms to assist these managers, freeing up their time to perform other important tasks.

Much like the advantages gained with sensors and algorithms that learn HVAC needs, the predictive management software will learn as it goes, and distribute loads to servers that will handle them best. This analysis and learning not only saves time but helps decrease wear and tear on overloaded equipment and removes the human error factor that can lead to critical mistakes and downtime.

AI has also made human resources management simpler. Through automating some processes, it frees up data center personnel, and makes scheduling simpler, helping to prevent short- staffing. Then, through video conferencing and using similar technology, companies can get even more done remotely.

Keeping it Up, Locking it Down

The concern of downtime is a real one, and one that can keep data center managers up at night. Keeping up with and preventing downtime manually can seem like an impossible task. AI can help, anticipating downtime based on server loads, traffic, and other factors. Not only can it predict downtime, but AI offers other advantages as well.

Because of the other things it has “learned” AI can devise solutions, and advise human managers on workarounds and prevention, keeping downtime to an absolute minimum. While it’s not yet possible to eliminate downtime completely, stellar numbers can be achieved using AI.

But what about data center security? Threats from malware, hackers, and other digital threats are an ever present danger. AI can analyze traffic at a granular level, and often stop such threats before they get a chance at a foothold.

Like downtime, security breaches are inevitable as new threats arrive all the time. But AI can help minimize risk, isolate threats, and remove them to minimize any damage and data loss.

Designing the Physical Layer of Data Centers

There’s more to the picture than just security, uptime, and human resources. There’s also the matter of the design of data centers themselves. What is the ideal placement for servers and server racks? What is the most efficient method to achieve maximum airflow in the data center? What impact will moves and changes have on HVAC and other systems?

There will always be a physical layer to every data center, and security related to that physical layer is nearly as vital as digital security. An AI algorithm, in combination with AR software, can help you design your data center physical layer the right way from the start, and even guide you as you make those inevitable moves and changes.

The same sensors that feed the AI data about efficiency and power savings can also detect pressure changes, unauthorized data center access, and other data points that help you keep the physical layer of your data center functioning properly and secure at the same time.

More to Come

This is by far simply the tip of the iceberg when it comes to physical layer security, the use of AI in data center enhancement, efficiency, and more. Artificial intelligence is set to impact every single business in one way or another, and the data center is no exception.

Want to learn more about the security of the physical layer of your data center? Need materials to make your enhanced data center design a reality? Contact AnD Cable Products today. We’d love to start a conversation about your needs and can provide you with the right solutions for your data center today and into the next innovations in data center management.

Introducing the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System

Cable Management Just Got More Economical, Efficient and Robust

AnD Cable Products and Epson Labelworks have teamed up to develop the Ultimate Data Center Cable Labeling System with a selection of bundled cable labeling products that, when used together will revolutionize your cable mangaement, efficiency and costs.

UniTag® Reusable Cable Labels – A plastic snap-on cable labeling system that provides a quick and easy way to mark and identify cables

Epson Labelworks PX Printers – A portable label and wire marker solution with exclusive time and costsaving features for creating custom labels

Epson’s PX Label Tapes Fit Onto AnD Cable’s UniTag® Cable Labels PERFECTLY!


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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

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The Impact on Data Center Services – Before and After COVID

The Impact on Data Center Services - Before and After Covid - Cable Management Blog

The COVID pandemic has impacted nearly every industry, and while some have been impacted negatively, others are thriving. The key to all of these things is the ability to adapt. Nowhere is this truer than in data centers. The impact of COVID on data center services has been significant, and those in this “essential industry” can’t work remotely for the most part.

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The Impact on Data Center Services - Before and After Covid - Cable Management Blog
The Impact on Data Center Services – Before and After Covid

The truth is, troubled industries like airlines, hotels, travel sites, and restaurants were not huge consumers anyway.

“The upside cases are actually higher than any of the drawdowns coming in from the troubled sectors,” said Sami Badri, Senior Equity Analyst at Credit Suisse said during a CAPRE presentation. “These troubled sectors were not big customers in the first place, whereas the newer industries that represent a large cash flow stream for data center services are flexing even larger than they ever have before. This is creating a new high-tide environment for demand for the overall tech sector.”

While the financial impact has been positive overall, it has created an increased demand, which has an direct impact on what data centers are and how they operate. What has that impact been, and what are data centers doing about it?

Increased Demand in Unusual Places

“Almost as soon as lockdown started,” David Issel, the asset manager at a Comcast data center known as a “headend” told us, “this place was running at 95%. Fans and our HVAC system was at capacity.”

The Work from Home or rather Work from Anywhere demands of COVID have increased the need for residential reliability and speed on a larger scale. What was evenings of surfing and streaming are now days filled with workers tethered to their home offices, computers, standing desks, and dependent on their routers and home WiFi in ways we never would have thought of in January of 2020.

Data Centers Services have been quick to respond and increase capacity. “Even though the components are getting smaller, the units themselves are getting larger,” Issel told us. “We’re using 23” racks instead of 19” racks, and that means it’s more important than ever to conserve space.”

The other issue? It takes people to add hardware and capacity to a data center, but only so many people can be present in the facility and still remain socially distanced and adhering to mask requirements. Keeping employees safe is a top priority.

Changing Attitude in Lagging Industries

“Some industries have never been well architected to handle work from home or organize a virtual workforce,” Badri told us. “Three of those sectors are healthcare, government and education. We’ve been hearing that government IT spending pledges alone are up more than 20 percent. Education budgets are also increasing and shifting up. Other categories playing catch-up include healthcare, which has been a very big pain point for the U.S.”

This includes things like telemedicine, schools that are either operating 100% virtually or at least offering distance options to students and parents alike. Higher education is struggling the most, as universities train staff, shift to online platforms, and prepare for an entirely new education platform.

While even the Federal government has been lagging in using technology, local, regional, and state governments find themselves even further behind. The question is whether these industries will continue to advance digitally or whether, as the impact of COVID inevitably recedes, the demand will recede with it.

The Need for Speed

Consumers and others often confuse bandwidth and speed. However, there is a need for both, as more people are online at the same time than under normal circumstances. This is bandwidth, or the capacity of the network to handle volume.

Speed is about how fast data can be delivered. Both are vital for consumers. Imagine a neighborhood populated with day traders whose income can be impacted by millisecond delays. That same neighborhood might be filled with school children doing school work online during work hours.

For data centers and companies like Comcast and other internet providers, it is about the ability to scale. “We’ve got plans for getting ahead, and we’re working on expanding HVAC and capacity,” David Issel told us about his particular headend.

This need for speed may mean that new data centers and headends need to be built in order for companies to keep up.

Coming 5G and Other Advancements

A digital revolution and a move to more remote operations, companies like Zoom, Slack, and other communication platforms were things many thought would take years to manifest. Due to COVID, this digital revolution has manifested in months instead.

But there was already a revolution on the horizon. The 5G and IoT revolution was already putting pressure on data centers to adapt and be ready for a new, faster normal. 5G is about more than just speed though. It makes a data center more flexible in more ways.

“The flexibility includes things such as the desegregation of the control and user plains of the network and also migration towards distributed baseband processing and the radio access network (RAN). In turn, this leads to opportunities for virtualization of RAN network functions and it enables the convergence of the RAN into the data center space,” Mike Wolfe, Vice President of Wireless Network Engineering at CommScope explained in a recent DCD article, How 5G will Affect the Structure of Data Centers?

“What this means is there could be a lot of smaller data centers, distributed geographically in such a way that’s going to make them a little bit more difficult to manage. Connectivity will be important in terms of how we do that,” Jamie Birdnow, also of CommScope shared in the webinar.

While it is safe to say that data center services will require huge changes to accommodate and enable 5G, there is still a lot that is unknown.

For example, we don’t know is how applications are likely to develop over a number of. Some things will not evolve as expected, and there are surprises. Autonomous cars will require far more sophistication than remote surgeries.

The key is to understand that data centers were already in a state of change, and the COVID crisis has only accelerated that.

The Bottom Line in Data Center Services

The data center industry has experienced a focus shift due to COVID, and as with any revolution during a crisis, it comes with challenges. That means the efficient use of space, the expansion of capacity more rapidly than planned, and employing other techniques to “future proof” data center services.

Virtual connectivity is a must,” Badri told us. “It’s no longer a debate. It’s now a case of survival and relevance and productivity. You’re starting to see permanent shifts.”

That speaks back to David Issel and Comcast, not only scrambling to catch up and expand, but to prepare for whatever tomorrow may bring.

A key to Issel’s success is his partnership with Louis and AnD Cable Products. Not only does his data center depend on their products and reliability, but they’ve also worked together to create custom hardware that is “perfect for the application,” Issel told us.

It’s these types of cooperation and efficiency, like the ZeroU Horizontal Cable Managers AnD Cable Products offers, which allow technicians to work more easily, increase the life of cables, and more.

If you want to “future proof” your data center services and you are looking for a physical hardware supplier that will be there for you as you expand and adapt, contact us at AnD Cable Products today. We’d love to talk about how we can best work together.


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 cabel 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 space saving tips, data center trends, latest innovations and more.
Visit https://andcable.com or shop online https://andcable.com/shop/

Looking for Blogs on Co-Location? Top 10 Colocation Blogs

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5 Ways Effective Cable Management Benefits Your Data Center

5 Ways Effective Cable Management Benefits Your Data Center - Cable Management Blog

It’s easy for computer cabling to get out of control – even at your office desk disorganized cables can be a problem! So, when it comes to the many tens or even hundreds of servers in a data center, cable management is clearly an important element to get right.

Congested and disorganized cabling can quickly lead to a “spaghetti mess.” Not only is this ugly, but it can be the cause of some serious problems. Here are five reasons you should avoid cabling congestion, and how effective cable management can minimize risk and benefit your data center.

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  1. Avoiding Downtime / Outages
  2. Workplace Safety
  3. Future Expansion
  4. Lookin’ Good
  5. Show Me the Money!
    Cable Management Made Easier
5 Ways Effective Cable Management Benefits Your Data Center - Cable Management Blog
Congested and disorganized cabling can quickly lead to a “spaghetti mess”

1. Avoiding Downtime / Outages

One of the primary reasons for effective cable management is to reduce the risk of downtime. This is especially true when someone is working on making additions, expanding capacity or repairing existing systems.

Effective cable management allows technicians to simply unplug and plug in cables that are necessary to the action they are taking. Disorganized cables may involve “troubleshooting” steps that really involve determining what is plugged into what before work can begin.

Since you’re often paying by the hour, and all that plugging and unplugging can cause costly downtime / outages, organized cables are really a necessity in any data center environment.

2. Workplace Safety

What’s one of the things your servers need to avoid future issues? Airflow. Effective airflow prevents overheating, fire hazards and even cable breakage that can cause serious issues – or at worst, an outage.

Cables that are too long and disorganized can also quite simply be a tripping hazard, increasing the risk of workplace injuries. In addition, there is a risk of electric shock. Want to keep your employees, workplace and servers safe? Avoid cable congestion and improve your cable management.

3. Future Expansion

You are planning to expand and modernize your data center over time, right? With the internet of things, the rise of VR and AR applications, and even the adoption of 5G networks, speed has become ever more critical, and will continue to be so over time. That means you need to have the ability to add to your server stacks quickly and easily.

But congested cabling can make this problematic. You’ll have to untangle and organize what you have before you can safely add more. A simplified, organized and effective cable management system is an important element of IT infrastructure scalability, and will make future expansion that much easier.

4. Lookin’ Good

You know what else congested cabling does? It looks bad! Imagine a client visits your office and sees a mess like the one pictured above. What will they think of the rest of your company if your cabling is that disorganized?

You never know what will impress or not impress a potential client, and to be professional in every aspect of the appearance of your business is essential. If it doesn’t look good to you, it definitely won’t look good to your clients.

5. Show Me the Money!

The above are all great, but how are you going to sell better cable management to your CFO? In the long run, great cable management WILL save you money. Your business will run more smoothly, you’ll have fewer outages, less maintenance and repairs and expansions will be quicker and easier.

For many businesses, especially in a time when more and more is being done online, a reliable data center is at the heart and soul of staying in business – and a vital key to profitability. Better cable management is also a cost effective way to improve the bottom line, with benefits continuing to roll in over time.

Effective Cable Management Made Easier

Fortunately, it’s easy to see the advantages of a simpler, cleaner cabling system. Instead of the nightmare of having multiple wiring systems in place, especially when many devices are being used at the same time, a more structured cable management system will make it easier to access and work on each component.

Cable Management Racks - Horizontal and Vertical Cable Managers In Data Center Server Rack
Cable Management Racks – Horizontal and Vertical Cable Managers In a Data Center Server Rack

Here at AnD Cable Products, we have the solution for you. Our Horizontal Zero U Cable Management Racks and Vertical Cable Management Racks minimize the space you need for each server, and help keep cables neat and organized for your next move, add or change. You’ll not only avoid congested cabling, but you’ll avoid outages, have a safer system and workplace, be ready for the future, and your data center will be looking good. Besides that, you’ll save money and enjoy all the advantages of a sleek and streamlined cable management system.

Ready to change the way you manage server cables in your data center? Contact us today. We’re here to help, and we can tailor our solution to your unique situation.

Optimizing Server Cabinet Rack Space to Maximize Efficiency and Reduce Costs

Optimizing Rack Space and Air Flow in Server Racks and Cabinets

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

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/