A power distribution unit (PDU) is a device with multiple power outlets that provides electrical protection and distributes power to IT equipment within a rack. PDUs can either be basic (also known as “dumb”) or intelligent, and there are multiple types of intelligent rack PDUs.
- Basic PDUs. These are power strips that distribute the correct voltage and current to multiple outlets that power IT equipment in racks.
- Monitored PDUs. A type of basic PDU that that visually displays current electric information locally.
- 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 availability 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 rack 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.
In comparison with a basic PDUs, intelligent PDUs have several features and capabilities that can help improve data center management, including metering, remote power control, environmental sensors, firmware updates, SNMP trap notifications, and security enhancements.
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is often used to enhance many of the features and capabilities available with PDUs in an integrated, single-pane-of-glass interface. Data collected from 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 PDUs? Get your free test drive now!