Google has been awarded a patent on a cable management system for rack-mounted servers, which simplifies the process of swapping out equipment by making it easier to unplug a single server or module. The patent was submitted Sept 29, 2003 and awarded on March 22.
While written in dense and precise language, the patent describes a system that allows cables to easily slide back and forth through a slotted corner bracket in a vertical cable management enclosure running along the side of the rack. Cables exit the enclosure through barbell-shaped openings at each tier of the rack, where they can connect to the equipment, and be easily swung out to the side when unplugged, remaining untangled and close at hand for easy reconnection once the device is back in the rack. I could describe it further, but it's best to go here and click on "Drawings" for a PDF drawing.
Is this a novel design? Data center managers and techs are better positioned than I to know whether this particular approach is unique to Google or commonly used by other providers or rack manufacturers. You can share your analysis and observations in the comments.