We’ve all seen the network racks showing perfectly run cables. Sites like Reddit or Twitter (#cableporn if the URL doesn’t work) use the phrase ‘Cable Porn’ to show them off, they look amazing and I wish I could have them.
And don’t get me wrong, I love seeing this neatly made racks and the beautiful artistry that goes into getting a rack organised and working that you see here. However they aren’t realistic in schools. For me the effort and time it would take to run a second cable outweigh in my opinion that beautiful look. For me you need to do your best but still maintain a rack that is functional, and well get to what I mean by functional but first. We need to stop having a go at those who don’t have beautiful racks, I see countless threads online with headings like;
Inherited this horrible rack.
My predecessor sucked at his job, check out the rack!
How can they let it get that bad?
We need to stop judging IT Professionals when we don’t know what they working conditions were like. Even if you have directly taken over their role, sometimes the act of someone leaves forces a company to take a look at how they listen to that person. So while you may get what you ask for, or have time to do things like making racks pretty your predecessor doesn’t.
I’ve worked for companies where I can schedule time to fix the racks up, but also companies where that is just not an option. It’s hard to scheduling downtime, and when you do its for critical things like updates and work that isn’t just making cabling look better. And even if you can schedule out of hours downtime, and you don’t have critical updates most companies don’t see the benefit in paying you over time to clean a rack.
We also need to remember that in a lot of cases, the racks are not in visible areas. In some companies the IT Professional is the only person who will ever see the rack, so if its usable what does it matter if its a mess.
And then theres the cost to consider. I recently fixed a rack that took me a few hours, from a time side it wasn’t that bad and needed to be done, the door would no longer close due to years of adding longer than needed cables to the rack and just pushing it closed without thinking about it. However it was nota. cheap exercise, apart from my time, there was the fact it cost over $1,000 to buy new cables to get it all done. And this is one of the 10+ racks in the network I oversee. But even at $1,000 I know schools and businesses that don’t see the value, or have the money to upgrade a working rack. Because despite the spaghetti mess, the working was working.
I wouldn’t call the After shot a beautiful rack, and I’m aware the UPS still needs to be mounted. However it is now functional and tidy. And for me that is where I want my racks to be.
For me these racks both look good and are functional. I only patch ports that I need, though when something new needs to be added it only takes a couple of minutes to patch. Where as if I had long cables running through cabling trays all linked together with velcro might look good, though to add another cable goes from a few minute job to much longer.
And for me that is 5 minutes taken away from helping our users, at the end of the day no one really cares what your network racks look like, they are tucked away in cupboards and hidden rooms. Even server rooms while they need to be neat and tidy, and easy to track, remove or add cables they don’t need to be perfect.
We need to stop judging and vilifying IT Professionals who have messy dirty racks, it’s a part of life. And I would rather have one working for me who spends more time helping using and has a functional rack than countless hours making the racks look like works of art that no one ever sees.