If you've been a network administrator or IT manager for very long, then you've ran your share of cables and had to trace your way though plenty of "patchy" wiring jobs. There's a reason that they say that the first three rules of network troubleshooting are "check the cable, check the cable, check cable" and you know what? Having a scary wiring closet can make those jobs, well, interesting to say the least.

So, here at SolarWinds we've sponsored a contest to select the best "Clean, Creative, and Catastrophic" wiring closets out there. The contest was so popular, that numerous photos were posted to our Facebook page and Cisco even honored us by copying our contest (hey, they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?). I was given the honor of judging the contest and being the geeky, analytical person that I am, I devised a 10 point grading scale for each category and then used a separate five point scale to choose between the leaders in each category (I'm nothing if not thorough). In some cases, we had to enlarge the photos several times over and be pretty picky (the marketing folks that helped with this all think I'm crazy) but this was a close, close contest and wiring is serious business.

In each category, things were so close that I decided to pick my very own "honorable mentions". These folks came in as close seconds and deserve to be recognized.

In the category of Cleanest Cabling Closet, the "King of Cleanest  Cabling" is David Young from Kantar IT Partnership. This is some of the cleanest cabling that I've ever seen. Symmetrical, tight, easy to trace - I love it. Points were deducted for the mess at the bottom-left of the photo and for the odd green cable hanging down from the top-left but points were added for matching tie-wraps, cable management tray use, and the light at the top-center. No idea what it does, but it sure looks cool. I can just imagine it flashing and a horn sounding when collisions reach a certain level or etc...

An honorable mention for this category  goes to Jeppie Sumpter and the team at Western Kentucky University. Very impressive folks. Love the way that you used the overhead racks to run the cables, the use of multi-colored wiring, and etc.

In the category of Most Creative Wiring Closet, the "Most Most Creative Cabler" and winner for this category is Nathan Smith from St. Mary's Medical Center. To really appreciate this cabling job you have to watch Nathan's video. All I can say is "cool dude!".

An honorable mention for this category goes to Mitch Dickey from Frederick County Public Schools in Virginia. The more I looked at it, the more I liked this photo. So many different types of cabling all living together in harmony. It's a thing of beauty...

In the category of Most Catastrophic Wiring Closet and the "Complete Cabling Catastrophe" prize goes to Luis Guevera from Chicago. I'm not sure, but if you look really hard towards the back of the rack in the dark, I think I see the skeleton of the last person that tried to trace a cable in that wiring closet!!! I'm not even certain a "Texas sized" redneck like me would even fit behind that rack to trace a cable. It's giving me nightmares just thinking about it, especially with the fact that my back would be right up against the electrical supply boxes!!!

An honorable mention for this category goes to Daniel Parmelee from the Chicago Tribune. Daniel, buddy, I know that they eat a lot of spaghetti in Chicago but really? Do you use this wiring closet as a part of the initiation for newbie network admins that you hire? I can just imagine, "Hey, it's your first day and welcome aboard. Now, our CEO is having some LAN performance issues. Can you trace down his patch cable and replace it? Be sure not to jostle the other cables as they're kinda finicky..."

Each of the winners will receive a SolarWinds "Geek Kit" with the honorable mentions receiving SolarWinds shirts. Congratulations folks!!! Small pictures below - full size images available in all their glory for your unadulterated viewing pleasure on our Facebook page...

 

Flame on...
Josh
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King of Cleanest Cabling - David Young


Cleanest Cabling Honorable Mention - Jeppie Sumpter


Most Creative Cabler - Nathan Smith

 

Creative Cabler Honorable Mention - Mitch Dickey

Complete Cabling Catastrophe - Luis Guevera


Complete Cabling Catastrophe Honorable Mention - Daniel Parmelee