Intelligent PDUs Play a Critical Role in Modern Data Centers

Posted by Enconnex Team on May 20, 2021

| Categories: Power Distribution Unit

A high-performing IT environment has never been more important. The pace of business continues to accelerate, even as organizations have had to retool their operations to support work-from-home models. The IT infrastructure must be able to respond to rapidly changing business requirements.

That is driving increased interest in software-defined solutions that allow for fluid provisioning of resources and high levels of automation across the IT environment. But data center managers recognize that “software-defined” begins with the underlying facility. A software-defined data center must allow for the monitoring and collection of data across all components, including IT systems, applications, and power and cooling infrastructure.

Intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) play a critical role in the modern data center environment. They collect data on various power metrics and enable the monitoring, management, and control of the power used by IT equipment. Intelligent PDUs also connect to the network, giving data center personnel remote access to real-time data to help maximize the performance and availability of the IT environment.


Types of Intelligent PDUs

Most PDUs have display panels that show a variety of metrics. Given the scope and scale of the modern data center, however, it’s impossible for IT staff to visit each PDU to monitor power usage. The geographically dispersed nature of the IT environment only exacerbates the problem.

Network connectivity makes the PDU a “smart” device. Data center personnel can access the PDU’s data through a web interface, SNMP, SSH, or telnet session. Best-in-class intelligent PDUs also provide RESTful APIs that allow for integration with data center infrastructure management (DCIM) applications and building management systems (BSMs).

There are two basic types of intelligent PDUs:


Metered PDUs

Metered PDUs capture metrics such as voltage(V), current (A), active power (kW), apparent power (kVA), energy (KWh), and power factor. Some metered PDUs monitor the power input to help ensure that circuits aren’t overloaded. Others monitor usage at the outlet so that IT personnel can better understand the power consumption of individual devices.

Switched PDUs

Switched PDUs enable IT staff to control individual outlets via the network, making it quick and easy to power cycle equipment in a large or remote facility. They also enable the use of power sequencing to avoid accidental overloads, and reduce the risk that technicians will plug equipment into any available outlet. Switched PDUs may also provide input or outlet metering.


What to Look for in an Intelligent PDU

The ability to access the PDU remotely is the most important feature of an intelligent PDU. When selecting a unit, you should also consider:


IP Address Aggregation

When PDUs are connected to the network, they use an IP address and a switch port. This can quickly get expensive and unmanageable in a large data center. Some intelligent PDUs allow the aggregation of multiple devices on a single IP address, reducing costs and management overhead.

DCIM Integration

Integrating an intelligent PDU with a DCIM solution gives IT staff a single-pane-of-glass view of real-time power data. DCIM solutions also provide dashboards and reports that help data center managers optimize availability and power efficiency.

Environmental Monitoring

Best-in-class intelligent PDUs support environmental sensors, which can monitor temperature, humidity, and other conditions without the need for a separate monitoring solution.


Intelligent PDUs from Enconnex

Enconnex offers a variety of intelligent PDUs, including input metered, outlet metered, switched and outlet metered / outlet switched units. Our intelligent PDUs provide multiple connectivity options and have hot-swappable intelligence modules for easy field replacement. You can daisy-chain up to four PDUs for IP address consolidation, and integrate with DCIM solutions and BMSs. Contact one of our power specialists to discuss your specific requirements.

Posted by Enconnex Team on May 20, 2021

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