Whitepaper Library > Raritan > The iPDU Handbook:A Guide to Intelligent Rack Power Distribution

The iPDU Handbook:A Guide to Intelligent Rack Power Distribution

Published By: Raritan
Published:  Jan 11, 2017
Length:  80 pages

The rack power distribution unit (rack PDU) has emerged from obscurity. As the last link of the elaborate data center power chain, the traditional role of the rack PDU has been to deliver stable, reliable and adequate power to all the devices in the rack or cabinet—servers, storage, network equipment—which are plugged into it. Although it provides the electrical heartbeat to all the systems that run the critical applications that support the operation of the business (or that, in some cases, are the business); it was often considered a simple commodity, just a power strip. Typically, IT merely told facilities how much power was needed, based on device nameplate specs—and often with redundancy, so there was plenty of headroom and minimal risk of downtime. Little thought was given to efficiency or what other value a rack PDU could provide. That was yesterday.
Over the past few years, system availability has become a “given” and data center management attention is now being focused on operational costs, efficiency improvements and resource optimization. With the annual expenditure for powering the average data center surpassing the cost to purchase the IT equipment itself, the use (and waste) of energy is now targeted as a priority. Beyond the actual cost to power the data center there are the related issues that impact both current operations and future expansion—e.g. physical space and utility power availability, CO2 footprint and potential government regulation. Since almost all of the power delivered from the utility to the data center is consumed either directly by the devices plugged into rack PDUs or indirectly by the infrastructure to bring power to the rack and cool the devices, the once obscure rack PDUs have become visible on the data center management radar.
Not surprisingly, many of the major strategies to address the above issues and improve overall data center efficiency depend on new capabilities not available in the commodity outlet strips of a few years ago.
To consider a few of these capabilities: ? In order to maximize the use of data center space and other resources there has been a trend to deploy racks densely packed with 1U servers or power-hungry blade servers. Today’s rack PDUs typically handle loads of 5-10 kW with 20 outlets and there are PDUs now designed to support 20+ kW and 36 or more outlets. ? To increase IT staff productivity and conserve energy by employing lights-out and/or remote data center operation, some rack PDUs provide real-time monitoring, reporting and alerts as well as secure, reliable outlet switching. ? To identify ghost (no definable function), underutilized or grossly inefficient servers for possible elimination, replacement, consolidation or virtualization, some rack PDUs provide individual outlet monitoring. ? To create individual awareness, accountability and/or chargeback for power usage and CO2 footprint, some rack PDUs are equipped with highly accurate, real-time power measurement capabilities at the PDU and outlet level. ? To optimize IT workload and make informed decisions for infrastructure capacity planning, IT and facilities managers need rack PDU management software that continually collects data on power consumption, analyzes trends and correlates with IT workload data.

Tagsdata center