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Article Date: 10th June 2019

Vertiv - IT Power Distribution

IT Power Distribution - Power Distribution Unit - Data Centre

Vertiv - IT Power Distribution

A power distribution unit (PDU) is a device with multiple outlets used for distributing power to servers and other IT equipment within the data centre.

The PDU does not generate power but rather distributes power from the power source available during normal operation. In the event of an outage, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) picks up the power load while the generator ramps up to begin providing power to the facility. The floor PDU then distributes the power to the rack PDU(rPDU). The rPDU, which is the last link in the power chain, distributes power to the IT equipment in each individual cabinet and rack.

There are two types of PDUs, the basic type and the smart type, which is also known as the intelligent type. While both can provide reliable power distribution to critical IT equipment within a rack or cabinet, smart PDUs offer several intelligent features like monitoring, managing, and controlling power consumption to multiple devices. The smart PDU provides data centre professionals with remote network access to real-time critical infrastructure data to help drive informed decision making to ensure maximum availability and to meet important efficiency requirements.

The smart PDUs are classified into monitored and switched. Monitored PDUs provide a comprehensive view of power usage, both at the rack and via remote access and offer quick access to critical information to evaluate energy usage trends. Monitored PDUs also provide alarming capabilities to alert users of breaches in user-defined power thresholds. Switched PDUs are monitored PDUs with the added ability to remotely turn on, turn off, or reboot power at each outlet.

When selecting a PDU, organisations should consider their power requirements, their data centre space, and the level of power monitoring or management their facilities require. They should take note of the services being offered by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the PDU that can simplify deployment and management of critical power system assets. Some vendors provide as much as a 5-year protection plan to support the life cycle of PDUs.

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