Structured cabling is an important part of any colocation installation. Proven industry expertise is required in network infrastructure design and installation. The resources needed to implement structured cabling solutions manage the installation for a wide range of clients. Consequently, colocation customers should consider the important reasons to utilize structured cabling for data center colocation implementations.
The client gets a complete design package that includes design elevations and material lists. Structured cabling should have the look, feel and support of the colocation provider offering. The offering should meet or exceed the proposed design and implementation specifications and be provided directly by the colocation provider.
The structuring cabling should be at market price parity and consistency. With the volume of business the colocation provider offers, leverage their increased buying power with their suppliers, and consequently trickle down to greater overall cost savings on labor and materials, which is passed on as the lowest pricing for the highest quality structured cabling design and implementation.
There are significant performance, composition and cost differences in cable types available in the market place. This applies to both copper and fiber cable. It is important to understand the performance requirements and standards associated with the active components (servers, switches, routers) when considering the physical infrastructure that will interconnect and support the active component assets.
The physical construction of the cable needs to be considered within the environments the cable is going to be used. If cable is installed today, knowing that additional cable may be installed in the future in an overhead or under floor system, the construction and composition of the cable should be considered as future cable may be installed on top of existing cable. Again, for pennies per foot, a higher quality cable should be considered so that performance degradation does not occur when future cables are installed on top of existing cables. There are also significant differences in connectors and termination hardware. It is important to utilize components that have been manufactured and rated to comply with the overall solution being installed.
The installation, testing and warranty of structured cabling solutions should be implemented by those that have been formally authorized and trained to install in accordance with manufacturer and industry standards. The solution should be warranted by the manufacturer of the components through the colocation provider installing the solution. Such certifications occur both at the company and individual installer level. Upon completion of the installation, the installer should be able to provide a Certificate of Warranty that is issued by the manufacturer to the customer owning the solution. This is a result of not only using properly certified installers but also by having the installer issue the certified test results of the project to the manufacturer. Upon submission of the proper paperwork and the certified test results by the installer to the manufacturer, the project is filed and warranted.
Colocation providers should incorporate checks and balances as part of their structured cabling process. To ensure the highest quality at the lowest price, colocation providers should internally audit completed designs to ensure they are within market pricing and that the quality of work is in line with the industry.
As you can see, colocation is not just about space, power, cages and cabinets. Structured cabling is a critical component of the colocation solution for enterprise organizations. As infrastructure specialists, Savvis offers comprehensive design and installation services associated with structured cabling solutions. Savvis provides the physical connectivity to a customer cage and also has the expertise to design and install services associated with infrastructure builds within the cage environment. These elements are critical when delivering a high-performance, reliable and secure network system infrastructure to the colocation customer.
Drew Leonard is vice president, colocation product management, at Savvis, a CenturyLink company.