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Choosing the Right PDU for your Data Center

It’s no surprise that every data center comes with a varying set of needs and the same applies to power distribution units (PDUs). With a number of options available in the market, it can get quite overwhelming when you go about the search for the PDU best suited for your data center.

Here are a few useful steps that will help you through the process:

Factor in your power requirement

It goes without saying that your power requirement is the most important factor to consider while choosing a PDU. Depending on the size of your data center facility, type of equipment, and the number of individual equipment that you possess, you will need to choose a larger or smaller sized PDU with the required input voltage.

Even though it may not seem necessary for your current usage, we also recommend that you opt for a three-phase power (as opposed to single-phase) for your PDU. This will enable better balancing of loads while keeping amperage low and voltage high for improved efficiency in the long run.

Identify the functionalities you require

A basic PDU is ideal for unfiltered, uninterrupted power distribution to multiple devices without line filtering. However, if you require a PDU with current usage displays, then you will need to opt for a metered PDU which offers real-time usage information with a digital meter.

If you require the ability for remote network monitoring, a switched (intelligent) PDU would be ideal. Such a PDU comes with network-grade distribution of power and advanced features such as remote monitoring, on/off controls and message notifications. It is also best suited for organizations with a large number of strips.

Take your future electrical needs into account

While it is important to determine the maximum power throughput required for your current power needs, it is also important to plan (well in advance) for the future growth of your data center and the subsequent increase in electrical loads.

Often, planning for foreseeable future growth saves you the trouble of having to purchase entirely new equipment within the next few years. A PDU usually comes with a considerably long life, so this is the only way to make the most of it.

Check for adaptability with your data center’s layout

Depending on the size and overall layout of your data center, your PDU requirement will be different. For example, a large facility can easily accommodate an enterprise-grade PDU at the heart of the data center. However, this may not be possible in a smaller facility where space is a constraint.

This is why PDUs are available in two types of mounts – horizontal and vertical. While horizontal PDUs are the more conventional kind, they take up a significant amount of RU space. Vertical PDUs, on the other hand, are preferred when there is a constraint for space and the need to power high-density racks with lesser cabling.

Consider the specifications of the PDU

Once you have taken all the above factors into consideration, you will have a fair idea of the type of PDU you want to choose for your data center. Now it is time to look into some of the more specific details :

  1. Amperage and power rating – balance the two and also ensure that the PDU is equipped with a breaker to prevent short-circuiting

  2. Plug type – ensure that it matches your needs, including input voltage, number of phases and amperage

  3. USB ports – consider the need for PDUs with USB ports which eliminate the need for copper-based network infrastructure

  4. Retention clips – consider the need for retention clips to prevent accidental unplugging

  5. Power cord length – check the length of the PDU input power cord and make sure it is adequate for your needs

We hope that these tips have helped you gain a clear understanding of how to find the perfect PDU for your data center. If you need help with the process, reach out to Hardy Racks – we offer both expert consultation services and supply best-in-class PDUs.

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