Rack Mount PDUs Are Valuable, But Rack PDUs Offer Greater Flexibility

Posted by Enconnex Team on May 12, 2021

| Categories: Power Distribution Unit

Data center managers have a lot of choices when it comes to power distribution units (PDUs). One option is the rack mount PDU — which, it turns out, is a different animal than the rack PDU.

It has to do with how the PDU is mounted and the form factor of the unit. Rack PDUs are mounted vertically in the “zero U” space in the back of the server rack or cabinet. Best-in-class units have an ultra-low-profile design that provides easy access to IT equipment and increases airflow efficiency.

Rack mount PDUs are different. They mount horizontally within the server rack like other IT equipment. Typically, they are 19 inches wide, take up one or two rack spaces (1U or 2U), and have six to 16 outlets. However, newer rack mount PDUs offer many of the same features as their vertically mounted rack PDU cousins.

Generally, however, a rack PDU is the better choice for the modern data center. This is because rack PDUs provide more outlets, handle greater heat loads, and have a more flexible, space-saving design.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Rack Mount PDUs

Rack mount PDUs come in a wide variety of configurations. Basic 15A units have 125V receptacles with various plug options, while 60A units are available for single-phase or three-phase power supplies. Switched rack mount PDUs allow administrators to turn individual outlets on and off. Metered units provide data on current, watts, voltage, power factor, and more. Network connectivity will enable administrators to monitor and control the PDU remotely.

Rack mount PDUs can be a good choice for lower power loads or in conjunction with in-row UPS equipment. If there’s limited space in the back of the cabinet for cable management, it may make sense to install the PDU horizontally.

The biggest drawback of rack mount PDUs is that they take up space that could otherwise be used for IT equipment. In today’s high-density data centers, anything that consumes rack space could create capacity management challenges.

Many rack mount PDUs are designed to operate at lower temperatures, which means they have to be cooled like IT equipment. If the rack mount PDU fails, it will typically need to be removed and replaced, leading to unplanned downtime as the power supply is taken offline.

Older rack mount PDUs also require a separate network for connectivity. This increases networking equipment requirements and administrative overhead managing IP addresses.


Rack PDUs Eliminate These Issues

Vertically mounted rack PDUs eliminate these drawbacks. They don’t take up any rack space, and low-profile designs leave plenty of room in the back of the cabinet for cable management and airflow. 

Additionally, rack PDUs are designed to withstand the higher temperatures caused by hot air exhaust at the back of the cabinet. Best-in-class units have branch-rated hydraulic-magnetic circuit breakers with an operating temperature of up to 140 degrees. 

Hot-swappable components such as network management controllers mean that the PDU can be repaired or upgraded without interrupting the power supply. Today’s PDUs can be daisy-chained for network connectivity so that one port and IP address is used across multiple units.


Enconnex Offers Rack PDUs for Every Use Case

Enconnex is your one-stop source for high-quality rack PDUs. Our product line ranges from basic units to input metered, outlet metered, and switched solutions. Our PDUs offer the highest levels of reliability and performance, making them suitable for use in the largest hyperscale data centers. They are also cost-efficient enough to meet any need and budget.

You can select from a wide range of options, including the number, type, and configuration of outlets, electrical specifications, and more. Our power specialists are here to help you define your requirements and select the right PDUs for every use case.

Posted by Enconnex Team on May 12, 2021

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