Many administrators of networks and cabling systems within data centers are on what feels like a neverending quest to achieve higher levels of cabling management in computing environments that are densely populated with network ports. The trick is, the advantages of these management systems can be partially or wholly negated by their occupation of rack units (RUs) within the data center. That is why "zero-U" systems that reside outside the 42 units of a typical rack or enclosure have emerged. Some of these systems, while not taking up any space inside a rack or enclosure, do occupy floor space in a data center.
One of the latest zero-U solutions, which also occupies zero floor space, comes from Siemon. The company's new cable tray rack mounts directly to overhead ladder rack or cable tray, providing 4U of space above cabinets or racks. The company says the cable tray rack is ideally suited for use in zone distribution areas (ZDAs) or equipment distribution areas (EDAs) in data centers.
The cable tray rack can be used with copper patch panels or fiber enclosures, and according to Siemon it allows system managers to increase cabling density without sacrificing orderly cable management. "By moving patching fields out of the cabinet itself and into easily accessed overhead spaces, ongoing moves, adds and changes are simplified," the company said when it announced the new product. "This flexibility can also help speed the deployment of new data center equipment, allowing precabled connectivity to be installed in overhead spaces and simply connected via patch cords as new cabinets and/or equipment is added." The company says the overhead placement of the rack can also improve thermal management efficiency and airflow by minimizing the cabling congestion inside cabinets that can obstruct equipment-cooling efforts.
Siemon says the product can be attached to all common overhead cable tray and ladder rack systems; it can be mounted below, above or flush with cable tray in a parallel or perpendicular configuration. The product has a 60-pound load rating, the company says. It is built with a 12-gauge cold-rolled steel frame and a black powder-coat finish.