The digital transformation has disrupted business models, as new technologies emerge and reshape the way enterprises operate to meet consumer demands. As technology evolves, data centers must adapt as well. In order to better serve the shifting needs of enterprise customers, data centers must be reliable, scalable, and agile in order to keep pace with the varying demands of their customers. Highly organized and efficient data centers will ensure just that.  

“The next-generation data center provides a simpler, more adaptive infrastructure that is capable of responding to disruptive change, melting technology silos, and integrating legacy and new architectures into a single, manageable ecosystem,” according to experts from Kyndryl, an IBM spinoff company.

Key elements of next-generation data centers meld legacy solutions with innovative technology solutions to create manageable ecosystems. With more reliance on networking solutions, such as cloud, internet, web-based applications, etc., network requirements and capacity in multitenant data centers is on the rise. Furthermore, the approach to enabling connectivity has shifted as well; it’s now one of the most important elements of data centers.  

Gartner Analysts David Cappussio and Henrique Cecci issued a report titled, “Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, But It’s Morphing.” In it, they note multitenant data centers must combine interconnection with high-speed access for enterprises, and, rather than bringing an enterprise and its applications to the network, the network should be brought to the enterprise.

This presents a challenge to data center operators. So, what are meticulous data center operators to do with all of these network connections to manage their cabling solutions?

The shifting focus of data centers to emphasize connectivity capabilities is quickly becoming a requirement for customers. For example, DC Blox, a data center operator throughout the Southeast U.S., specifically offers connectivity as a core solution, enabling customers with private 100 Gbps-plus network connections; low latency connectivity to internet exchange (IX) points; and an array of solutions, including Ethernet, dedicated internet access (DIA), and Transit. In order to do so, companies like DC Blox must have network infrastructure engineers on staff who know the particulars of connectivity solutions and the requirements to maintain cabling in the facilities.

Thus, network cabling specialists who design, install, and provide ongoing support for cabling infrastructure are important. However, in today’s global economy, just having a company that specializes in data center cabling is not enough. Consider the global supply chain challenges underway. From toys to chips to manufacturing facilities and distribution chains, product shortages and workforce labor issues are straining the global supply chain.

For cabling solutions, this can tie up traditional installations — many companies purchase cabling parts and solutions from resellers, who, oftentimes, do not have the stock necessary to support the requests. Keeping stock on hand is expensive and requires working capital, which many companies, particularly in the post-COVID era, struggle with. Furthermore, resellers are provided with solutions only after the core company’s supply is accounted for and delivered directly to customers. This points to a "buy direct" solution.

Reliable Structured Cabling

Networks and the cables used to carry data through them are the backbone of any business. With data center providers, it’s the connectivity within the space that facilitates the exchange of data, and these cables must be working in top order. With an ever-growing demand for connectivity, enterprises need reliable solutions that can scale and adapt as industry shifts take hold. Modern data centers are complex and diverse environments that require structured cabling and ongoing management to support the avalanche of demand. After all, a reliable, structured network allows data centers to provide their customers sustainable business growth for years to come.

Reliable Cabling Management

Building and managing reliable, structured cabling infrastructure is necessary for all successful data networks and is a core element customers are looking at when choosing a partner. An organization's future success largely depends on its ability to manage, monitor, and maintain its IT systems, so both data centers and enterprises must work closely together to achieve their goals in the most efficient and effective way possible.

As more enterprises transition from traditional methods to an increasingly digital environment, there will be an uptick in the amount of data traffic across any given network. As the quantity of data increases year after year, it is essential to ensure companies have enough capacity to cope with demand. To do this properly, data centers need to invest in a cabling infrastructure that can support today's needs while taking into account future growth.

Proper cabling systems can significantly benefit data centers because they make installation and management more sustainable, efficient, and effective. Data centers built in the 1980s or 1990s are probably due for an upgrade. The life span of a single cable depends on how well it was installed, the type of support system in place, and how well it is maintained. Just like any other technology, wear and tear can impact performance in ways that go unnoticed. A cabling system that has not been upgraded since the '80s may be incompatible with new servers; even if the servers still function under the old protocols, they will work more efficiently when paired with modern cabling systems and upgraded interfaces.

When upgrading cabling infrastructure, it’s critical to consider opportunities for tailored equipment. It’s important for data centers to understand what cabling solutions are right for their customers and their own technologies to best manage infrastructure and expectations.

Finally, with the growing concerns surrounding global supply issues in the telecom space, data center managers should seek out a direct-to-manufacturer relationships. In doing so, orders can be expedited, real-time delivery updates can be provided, and operators can work with their customers to implement tailored cabling structure solutions that meets their needs today and into the future.