Is Intelligent Patching Necessary?

If you’ve ever seen a busy data center, you know that some type of data center infrastructure management is necessary.

A data center’s connections can seem endless. The sheer amount of cable used can be breathtaking, and the number of patch panels deployed can quickly reach into the hundreds, with port counts reaching several thousand. And patch cords? They’re everywhere! Tracing one end to the other would require the sharpest eye and lots of patience.

Now imagine if every connection, port and patch cord in that data center were documented in an Excel spreadsheet. If you needed to make a change or find capacity for new connections, you’d have to e-mail the owner of the spreadsheet. Housing this information in a spreadsheet exposes it to the potential for human error:

  • Incorrect documentation
  • Forgetting to log a change
  • Old versions being used
  • Information lag
Spreadsheet Frustration

A Smart Solution

Luckily, data center managers now have a number of options for turning a once very manual, error-prone process into one that is efficient and intelligently managed. Whether it’s a DCIM, AIM, IIMS, IPLMS or intelligent patching solution, these solutions all strive for one goal: to provide a real-time view of the network to quickly identify incidents, automate routine tasks and help managers better understand capacity. They can also help managers better monitor network security and reduce energy consumption through optimum density mapping.

Download our 10 Steps to Holistic Data Center Design white paperData Center Management Acronyms

Here is a handy translation for these data center management acronyms:

  • DCIM (data center infrastructure management). DCIM solutions can range from software solutions to full-scale hardware, software and sensor solutions.
  • IPLMS (intelligent physical-layer management solution). This term refers to combining intelligent patch panels with software features to provide information on connectivity status of ports; it is typically associated with one particular vendor’s data center management solutions.
  • IIMS (intelligent infrastructure management solution). This term refers to management of all components of a modern IT environment; it is typically associated with one particular vendor’s data center management solutions.
  • AIM (automated infrastructure management). This solution includes both the hardware that automatically detects insertion or removal of patch cords (such as an intelligent patch panel) and the software that collects, stores and communicates this information.

Benefits to Expect

When a data center management solution is implemented, data center managers benefit from a more informed team. Work orders are delivered in real-time with precise information so routine tasks and issues are handled exactly when they need to be – there’s no more guesswork about which ports need managing. The uptime savings add up quickly, allowing the system to pay for itself in no time. It also eliminates the hassle of maintaining a cumbersome spreadsheet that must be manually updated after every change.

Check out our articles on the importance of mobility to intelligent patching solutions and getting buy-in for DCIM, as well as these tips for configuring and implementing DCIM.

You can count on Belden’s expertise to help you find the right data center management solution. Feel free to schedule a call with one of our data center experts!