Keeping spreadsheets current by hand is a daunting task….but what if you’re tracking your cabling in spreadsheets? How daunting is that? Yikes. As my company, Graphical […]

Need a Cable Management System Software Solution?

Keeping spreadsheets current by hand is a daunting task….but what if you’re tracking your cabling in spreadsheets? How daunting is that? Yikes. As my company, Graphical […]

Keeping spreadsheets current by hand is a daunting task….but what if you’re tracking your cabling in spreadsheets? How daunting is that? Yikes.

As my company, Graphical Networks, makes software that helps organizations manage cabling through cable management software (in addition to other capabilities), I speak with a lot of people who are interested in getting a cabling management software solution to replace methods that aren’t working out that well. So, when I ask people how they currently keep track of their cabling infrastructure, the answer varies:

  • ”We actually don’t track our cabling infrastructure!”
  • ”We have Visio diagrams”
  • ”We have to manually walk to each device and follow the cable”
  • ”We try to document cable connections through spreadsheets”

That last one, documenting cable connections through spreadsheets, is the one I hear most frequently….

Obviously, there are a lot of different ways to treat cabling infrastructure changes: from ignoring them to tracking changes in time-consuming spreadsheets. None of these methods, however, are automatic, fast, or reliable…and, when it comes to tracking cabling, reliability, automation, and speed are key.

The Problem with Improvised Cabling Management Solutions

If you’re using spreadsheets, how is that working for you? There’s one main pain point that will determine if you ,i>really need a visual tool: it’s getting rather hard to keep track of cabling connections when it spans to multiple connections, jumpers, and cable splits off too many other connections. Forget trying to keep track of all this stuff in a spreadsheet!

So, from copper, ethernet, fiber and its fiber splices, how does one manage and visualize all these cables? Through cabling management included in an enterprise-grade software solution.

A software solution that includes cabling management can solve your headaches in the following ways:

  • Keep track of all port connections – which leads to finding unused ports.
  • Manage all network equipment — which equipment is not being utilized? Can you repurpose your existing equipment? Can you move the current cable, fiber strand(s) in the unused equipment, elsewhere?
  • Reduce troubleshooting time with circuit path traces, to find the equipment and the impact of the equipment going down.
  • Search for information quickly, in seconds, instead of trying to find the right spreadsheet, or Visio diagram.

Cabling management capabilities are usually included as a part of Inside Plant and/or Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software solutions…

What is Inside Plant and DCIM software?

What is “Inside Plant”? According to Wikipedia, the inside plant is considered “all the cabling and equipment installed in a telecommunication facility.”

Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM), according to Gartner, is “DCIM tools monitor, measure, manage and/or control data center utilization and energy consumption of all IT-related equipment (such as servers, storage and network switches) and facility infrastructure components (such as power distribution units [PDUs] and computer room air conditioners [CRACs]).

If you are looking for a DCIM solution that also works seamlessly as cable management system software, ask your DCIM vendor how they support managing cables. Don’t just assume that cable management is included as many DCIM software vendors will focus on the power availability and not cabling.

Now…there will be some overlap with software vendors who offer Inside Plant/Outside Plant and DCIM, as they will allow you to keep track of your network inventory with cabinet/rack diagrams and showing cables. Software solution vendors, such as netTerrain, provide a cable management system as a standard built-in feature; netTerrain combines network discovery/mapping, DCIM, and Inside/Outside Plant in one solution!

To sum up, If the pain from not having a cabling management system is enough to finally move from your spreadsheets, and Visio diagrams, into a centralized, visual CMS solution, begin by searching for an Inside Plant/DCIM solution. netTerrain, for example, takes cable management solutions a step further with cable management, by offering an Outside Plant feature set, to document all of your cabling, both inside the building and outside of the building.

Many of our customers who use netTerrain chose it because they needed a better way to manage cables — one that will allow them to document, visualize, and manage their data centers, telecom rooms, office floor space cabling infrastructure. Please check out my article that discusses Inside and Outside Plant in more detail by clicking here.

Fred Koh
Fred Koh
As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.

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