The importance and scope of data transmission continue to increase – whether it’s streaming videos, shopping online, or listening to an audiobook or music via your favorite streaming service. All run along the neural pathways of advancing digitization – network cabling. Managing the cable infrastructure should therefore become more of a focus for network managers, in particular for data center operators.
In addition to the obvious dynamics in digitization, other changes in our digital world make good cable management indispensable. Let’s take a look at five of the most significant changes:
- Technology development in high performance data networks
- Declining reliability of internationally connected supply chains
- Impact of a pandemic state of emergency
- Increasing regulatory requirements for critical infrastructure operators
- Demographic change and skills shortages
Technology development in high performance data networks
The combination of market requirements and rapid technology developments exert a strong influence on the operation of a data center. The need for ever higher bandwidths continues to grow. To respond to this demand, more and more network components are being developed which have an increasing transmission rate. This is accompanied by a massive increase in densification, which is both an opportunity and a challenge. Better utilization of the limited resources of space and cooling in the data center makes an important contribution to better PUE values and more success in achieving sustainability goals.
Quality cable and connection documentation, precise pre-planning supported by knowledge of service dependencies and the ability to dispatch technicians with precise and interpretation-free work instructions are indispensable for this.
Declining reliability of internationally connected supply chains
Geopolitical crises with disruption of supply chains and incidents have a big impact on parts availability for data center operators. Take the blockade of the Suez Canal, an important global artery, for example. Network cables, connectors and passive and active network components were suddenly and without warning either unavailable or delivery times were extremely prolonged. An up-to-date overview of resource utilization in the network infrastructure, reserves in stock and knowledge about usable alternatives become important elements that contribute to smooth operations. This is especially true under difficult conditions.
Therefore, accurate inventory management and comprehensive utilization reporting capabilities are indispensable components of a good strategy to meet these challenges.
Impact of a pandemic state of emergency
A state of emergency, such as that triggered by the COVID 19 pandemic, shows how quickly external events can affect data centers and their internal infrastructure. If only a reduced selection of team members can access the data center or information about its infrastructure, maintaining operations is extremely difficult. Implementation of changes become complicated and overhead costs are inflated.
For this reason, using a digital twin of the data center, which includes its cabling, is massively important. A digital twin provides the ability to access an up-to-date, detailed and virtual representation of the data center, which reduces or eliminates dependence on on-site inspections for planning purposes. This freedom is a competitive advantage, if not a life insurance policy, for one’s own data center business during times of states of emergency.
Increasing regulatory requirements for critical infrastructure operators
With the EU’s IT Security Act 2, NIS2 and RCE have been implemented into national law. They are now solidified in CRITIS legal regulation, which tightens the definition of which companies and industries are classified as operators of critical infrastructures and are therefore subject to the law. This legislation also lowers the size threshold that determines which data centers are considered critical infrastructure, making more organizations subject to its requirements. One such requirement – complete asset and inventory documentation of data center equipment, including cabling infrastructure – is necessary to be deemed compliant. The reason is that managing data center resources is an important part of achieving resilience, which is one of the primary reasons for the regulation in the first place.
Although all principles are important in the CRITIS context, the generation of reliable AS-IS documentation from the previously generated SHOULD-BE planning state is of particular importance. The early detection of missing redundancy, and reliable planning for redundancy, contribute enormously to achieving the required resilience.
Demographic change and skills shortage
The aging of the population and subsequent retirement of long-serving employees is hitting data center operators hard. Experiential knowledge acquired over many years and deep knowledge of the network infrastructure are being lost. At the same time, good network planners and technicians are scarce on the personnel market and training new employees is lengthy and costly.
Persisting knowledge in a management system for the data center infrastructure, including cabling, is a proven way to reduce the impact of loss of know-how, reduce reliance on knowledge from individuals, and facilitate the onboarding of new personnel.
Time of Change for cable management
These changes, as well as those brought about by digitalization in our world, create new challenges for data center operators. That’s why the use of professional cable management solutions in the data center is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. In our white paper “Structured cabling in data centers” we show you what happens if you do not face these challenges head-on.