Filed under: Network Products, Server Racks and Enclosures
I guess I should start out by saying that rack cable management, while a very necessary and worthwhile thing, has never really excited me. It’s all business – no bells, whistles or sparkles, because why would you need them? Rack cable managers are usually hidden in the dark recesses of server enclosures, so they’re strictly utilitarian. Yawn.
Then I got a look at the Climatronix Stretch Connect™ System, and the fun-loving part of me felt a glimmer of hope. While the Stretch Connect is based on the standard black powder-coated cable management bar design, its top and bottom edges have a very interesting cut-out pattern that not only adds a little visual flair, but is also the key to Stretch Connect’s method of functionality.
Method of functionality? That would be how the Stretch Connect actually controls cables, which, like any other cable bar, is to have patch cords routed and fastened along it. But unlike other cable bars, which tend to make heavy use of cable ties and hook-and-loop wraps that fully loop either around or through both the bars and the cables lashed to them, Stretch Connect employs reusable stretchy connectors, which simply, well, stretch across the front of the bar to hold patch cords in place.
These reusable stretchy connectors have wide grips at the ends, which not only give you a good handhold, but also fit snugly into the cutout edging I mentioned earlier. To fasten patch cords against the Stretch Connect, you just hold the cords in place, slide one end grip behind the cutouts, stretch the strap across the cables, and slip the other connector end behind the opposite cutouts. Fast, simple, and a lot more fun to look at (and use) than most other lacing bars out there.
It’s official: LEDs have taken over, and are now making products that have always been cool or useful even more amazing with the addition of lights that practically never burn out. First it was appliance displays, followed by Christmas lights and HDTVs. And now: patch cords?
Meet EVO6™ Self-Tracing Patch Cords from Mertek. I’ll confess, my first (too quick) glance at the name brought on a cringe-worthy thought of Rachael Ray cheerful rasping on about EVOO (for you non-Food Network afficionados, that’s a pseudo-cutesy acronym for extra virgin olive oil), but that soon gave way to rapt admiration for the genius that is EVO6. EVO6™ patch cords are Cat6 (hence the “6″ part of their name), but that’s beside the point: all you really need to know is that their connectors have build-in LEDs, and that you use said LEDs to instantly trace the patch cords and find their precise connection points… at both ends.
The process is easy, because in addition to LEDs being built into both connectors of each patch cord, there’s also a tiny built-in button on the cord boot. Push it, and the LEDs are instantly activated, meaning that your patch cord will be blinking red at both ends. No feeling your way along the cable’s length, no guessing, no need for additional cable tracers - just push a button and you’re done.
Sounds like you just freed up a lot of time… maybe now you can catch up on Rachael Ray and her EVOO.