An intelligent power distribution unit (PDU) is a networked power supply for IT equipment in a server cabinet that provides real-time remote power and environmental monitoring. Intelligent PDUs, or iPDUs, enable smarter IT infrastructure for increased uptime, increased efficiency, improved capacity planning, and reduced power consumption.
In comparison with basic, or “dumb” PDUs, intelligent PDUs have several features and capabilities that can help improve data center management, including:
- Metering. Whether at the unit, inlet, or outlet level, metering enables you to understand and trend power usage and capacity data to enable more accurate provisioning of resources and improved efficiency by tracking metrics like Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).
- Network interface cards/controllers. You can connect to and access intelligent PDUs over a network to enable remote control, power actions, and other functions critical for data center management.
- Remote management. Some intelligent PDUs allow you to perform power actions like switching devices on or off and power cycling them from anywhere at any time.
- Environmental sensors. Sensors attached to intelligent PDUs can collect temperature, humidity, pressure, air flow, and other data.
- Firmware updates. You can install firmware updates with enhancements and fixes by the manufacturer to maintain smooth operations.
- SNMP trap notifications. Alerts can be triggered based on certain conditions such as out-of-threshold temperature and load.
- Security management. Intelligent PDUs may have contact closure and powered dry contact door locks for cabinets and containment areas. They may also offer secure access and authorization to devices using encryption protocols, passwords, and directory services.
Types of Intelligent PDUs
- Metered inlet PDUs. These PDUs help users determine power usage and available capacity of circuits, making it easier to provision equipment. Metering at inlet-level allows users to avoid overloading the circuits and calculate efficiency metrics like power usage effectiveness (PUE).
- Metered outlet PDUs. Metering at the outlet level helps users to determine levels of power usage and available capacity at the rack, facilitating provisioning. A more specific function of such a model is to help users understand the actual power consumption at the device or server level, allowing for comparisons of efficiencies. This allows the data center to allocate costs to specific units and utilize resources effectively.
- Switched PDUs. Switched PDUs offer the services of a metered inlet PDU along with control over individual or group of outlets. 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, 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 PDUs 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.
Intelligent PDU Monitoring with DCIM Software
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is often used to enhance many of the features and capabilities available with intelligent PDUs in an integrated, single-pane-of-glass interface. Data collected from intelligent PDUs is automatically turned into actionable information via business intelligence dashboards and visual analytics. Remote management and power actions, bulk firmware updates, cloning configurations, and restoring from backups can all be accomplished through the same UI.
Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software makes it easy for you to centrally monitor and manage all your intelligent PDUs? Get your free test drive now!