Cable Colors

Joe Abley jabley at
Tue Jun 17 17:28:38 UTC 2008

On 17 Jun 2008, at 11:25, Justin M. Streiner wrote:

> I was in a data center for a large bank here in Pittsburgh a few  
> years ago, and they definitely went the extra mile to keep their  
> cable plant neatly organized and properly dressed, and they  
> continued to maintain that after the building was turned up.

A boutique hosting company of my acquaintance once decided that cable  
management within racks was rather important -- they had the rather  
pragmatic opinion that setting things up right to start with was not  
enough, and that they also needed a conscious plan to keep things tidy  
as the cabinets filled up that did not rely on techs following rules  
or being diligent.

The initial cable install for the pre-provisioned servers was done  
with much planning and documentation by people who did data cabling  
for a living, and was correspondingly tidy. The cables were all blue.  
Any change that was required after that was installed using a red cable.

Once per week the data cabling people would return, within a posted  
window, and replace the temporary red patch cables with cut-to-length,  
tested, blue cables which were run according to the larger cabling  
strategy, and rigourously documented.

This approach had the advantage that the cabinets always looked  
pristine and the documentation was always current (modulo a few red  
cables), regardless of what changes had happened since the original  
install, and regardless of who had made those changes.

The theory was that bringing in dedicated cabling contractors to do  
audits once per week was cheaper in the grand scheme of things than  
dealing with the implications of messy cabling. There was an  
additional advantage that any potential customer who was shown the  
suite was overwhelmed with the pristine neatness of it, and felt  
immediately comfortable with the idea of emptying their own  
appallingly messy and undocumented machine room into such a place.


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