November 18, 2020

Why Use Serialized Labeling in Your Data Center

by: Align

When labeling the patch cords in a data center, many prefer a full end-to-end pathway. In this case, “end-to-end” includes the cabinets your devices reside in, the device ports, the patch panel ports, the RU heights, and more, which can be overwhelming.  

Businesses also tend to make frequent changes and add to their existing data center infrastructure, which can have a large impact. However, there is a linear affect that one small change can create; one small change in the pathway of your data will cause you to change both ends of the label associated in that end-to-end throughput. If your cabling goes through structured cabling, that means four labels at a minimum. Human error can play a huge role into this process if the person in charge is not careful.

A Less-is-More Approach

There are many clever ways out there to mitigate this risk, but ultimately, to manage this data, the solution can be simple:

Provide a unique serial number on your labels (i.e., “0001,” ”0002,” etc.) The time and labor spent to update your documents for one small change—and the relabeling nightmare associated with that change—can be alleviated by assigning a cable with a serial number, and the right documentation to back that string of data. 

Benefits of Serialized Labeling

For example: If you have a top of rack switch in a cabinet, your label likely contains, “Cabinet, RU height, Hostname, and port”. Your network team has just alerted you that the hostname for the top of rack switch has changed. Like most data centers, there are typically multiple devices plugged into a switch, which may be fully populated—let’s use a roundabout number of 48 ports.

Now, all 48 of those cable labels need to change—all of which could have been avoided if serialized labeling was used at the start. The serial number can be repurposed in any way, as long as the documentation stays current.

Reduce Unnecessary Risks and Ensure Correct Labeling

Serialized labeling allows all change work to be done remotely, rather than physically, saving the labor costs to manually change the labels and mitigating the risk of working within a live environment. Further, serialized labeling does not affect the ability to ascertain data from a label; instead, it allows you to maintain your connectivity documentation from afar without the additional physical effort of removing and changing a label. 

Align’s expert Data Center Solutions team is well-versed in building and maintaining data center documentation to capture every change. We work to design a flexible data center and support documentation that allows any tech to follow patch cable labeling standards.

Contact us today to learn more about Align's Data Center Solution and how our team of experts can help reduce risk for your next project. 

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