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9 Benefits of Rack PDUs

November 9, 2020

Rack power protection and control are key components of optimizing your rack, the room that it resides in, and the business that depends upon it.


Rack power distribution units (also known as rack PDUs or Eaton ePDUs) are a key part of an integrated system that protects the equipment within the rack. The right unit can allow you to monitor and control the power at the individual outlet, switch power on and off, remotely shut down the power during an emergency power outage, or simply distribute power efficiently and safely. Rack PDUs can deliver the customization and protection capabilities you need within your rack.


Here are nine benefits you may have not known about rack PDUs.


1. They enhance the reliability of your IT installation.


Even a sophisticated power infrastructure designed to guard against unplanned downtime and data loss can be threatened with a simple accidental plug disconnect. To guard against this, some rack PDU suppliers have developed a plug retention feature that takes up no extra space and delivers maximum reliability without the drawbacks of older solutions.


2. They tell you where your energy is going.


Rack PDUs can provide energy monitoring right down to socket level if required, and they can measure energy usage with ±1 percent billing grade accuracy. This means users can quickly determine exactly where energy is being used and ensures rogue hardware that’s consuming more energy than it should is quickly identified. Accurate metering also simplifies load balancing and reveals locations where there’s spare power capacity.


3. They help cut your cooling costs.


The trend to use less cooling means higher temperatures in the rack enclosure. Older rack PDU systems may not be able to cope and make it necessary to provide additional cooling, but new generation PDUs can work continuously at up to 140ºF.


4. They simplify maintenance and upgrades.


Older rack PDUs often get in the way of other rackmount hardware, making it difficult, for example, to hot-swap server components in order to maintain operational continuity or to install hardware upgrades. The latest PDUs have a low-profile design, which allows full access to all rackmount equipment. In addition, they incorporate hot-swappable components such as meter boards, which can be fitted or exchanged without interrupting the supply to the loads. As an additional benefit, the best rack PDUs are color-coded so maintenance technicians can see at a glance which circuit breaker controls which socket.


5. They put you in control of your power.


With switched rack PDUs, users can remotely turn the power on and off to individual socket outlets. The switching can be carried out manually or under the control of power management software. This makes it possible to disconnect non-essential loads in the event of mains supply failure so UPS runtime is maximized. It also means individual servers can be remotely restarted to help restore normal operation after a problem, and servers can be completely shut down when the demand is light outside normal working hours.


6. They simplify the administration of your power system.


Today’s rack PDUs support mass configuration and updating, which keeps the time needed for power system administration to a minimum. Changes, which occur frequently in today’s dynamic IT environments, can be implemented quickly, efficiently, and with minimal risk of error.


7. They save you money on network components.


Network connections are essential for all advanced rack PDUs to provide access to their control and monitoring functions. With older types, a separate network port is needed for each PDU. This arrangement is expensive and unwieldy, as administrators have to deal with multiple IP addresses. The latest rack PDUs reduce physical infrastructure costs with daisy-chain network connectivity, where a single port and just one IP address can be used for multiple PDUs.


8. They provide you with on-the-spot status information.


Rack PDUs have integrated displays that can be rotated to suit the installation orientation and show key information, such as alarms, right on the device. This makes it possible to check the operation of the power system at a glance and is an important aid to the rapid detection and correction of faults.


9. They are convenient and flexible.


The best rack PDUs are easy to install and offer a choice of mounting positions. They’re lightweight yet robust and their aluminum chassis dissipates heat efficiently and provides excellent ground conductivity.