Types of Intelligent PDUs and Their Functions
February 21, 2016

The Global Data Center rack PDU market has been forecasted to grow at a rate of 10.14 per cent between 2016 and 2020, reported WhaTech on January 25, 2016. This data was first published by a report called 'Global Data Center Rack PDU Market 2016-2020', which studied the growth prospects of global rack-mounted PDUs. This was also echoed by the Gartner forecast in November 2014 which stated that there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2020, thereby increasing the need for intelligent power distribution. While rack PDUs can be categorized according to their functionalities, namely power filtering, remote monitoring, control by LAN or SNP and intelligent load balancing; the market is divided distinctly into two segments according to product types: non-intelligent and intelligent PDUs. The former provides basic, but reliable power distribution, while the latter provides additional features like power metering, environmental monitoring and remote outlet, thereby creating sub-categories of its own.

Different Types of Intelligent Rack PDUs

Metered Inlet PDU: This system helps users to determine power usage and available capacity of circuits, thereby making it easier to provision equipment. Metering at inlet-level allows users to avoid overloading the circuits and also to calculate efficiency metrics like power usage effectiveness (PUE).

Metered Outlet PDU: Metering at the outlet level helps users to determine levels of power usage and availability capacity at the rack, thereby facilitating provisioning. However, a more specific function of such a model is to help users understand the actual power consumption at device or server level and thus allowing for comparisons of efficiencies. This allows the data center to allocate costs to specific units, thereby utilizing resources effectively.

Switched PDU: This type of power distribution unit offers the services of a metered inlet PDU, along with a control over individual or group of outlets. Therefore, with a switched PDU, an authorized user can power devices remotely and in a specific order. It also allows them to delay power sequence so that there is no inrush of power, thereby increasing the lifespan of the devices. Such a model is crucial in a remote deployment as they allow one to restore services by rebooting servers. It can also help to save power by allowing the user to switch off devices that are currently not in use.

Switched PDU with Outlet Metering: This type of model, as the name suggests allows all the capabilities of switched PDUs, including authorized operation from a remote location, in addition to outlet metering.

The intelligent PDU forms and gives even better results when integrated into the DCIM solution that provides real-time load monitoring and can warn users of impending energy capacity issues, states an article published by Sunbird DCIM in December, 2013. The analytics from the combined functions of the PDU and the DCIM will not only help to drive energy efficient behavior and sustainability initiatives, they will also help support customer bill-back reports thereby directly impacting business.

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