The Raritan Blog

PDU: What Is It?

Posted on October 16, 2018 by Jessica Ciesla

A Rack Power Distribution Unit (PDU) is exactly what it sounds like. In layman's terms, a PDU is a device that is fitted with numerous outlets. Each outlet distributes electric power to storage devices, networking equipment, and servers within the cabinets or racks of a data center. However, it is important to note that not all PDUs are created equally.

PDU Basic vs. Intelligent

A PDU can be sorted into two different categories: basic or intelligent. A basic PDU is a power strip that can be used in various data center environments to provide reliable power distribution. Monitored PDUs also fall under this "basic” category. They have no network connectivity, cannot be accessed remotely, and are built to simply provide a user with a local display with information on the electrical current. 

Unlike a basic PDU, an Intelligent Power Distribution Unit (iPDU) (also called an intelligent PDU) is a more technologically advanced solution. An iPDU offers networked power distribution, so that data center managers can leverage real time remote power metering and environmental monitoring. Through intelligent PDUs, data center efficiencies can be increased and costs can be reduced, resulting in improved uptime.

There are four main types of intelligent rack PDUs: 
•    Metered Inlet PDUs. -- This type of intelligent PDU displays data both locally and over a network at the inlet-level.
•    Metered Outlet PDUs. -- This type of intelligent PDU has the same features metered inlet PDUs, while also offering local and over a network monitoring at the outlet-level. 
•    Switched PDUs. -- This type of intelligent PDU has the same features as a metered inlet PDU, while also enabling authorized users to remotely secure power-cycle outlets.
•    Switched PDUs with Outlet metering. -- This type of intelligent PDU has the same features of both switched PDUs and the outlet metered PDUs, giving data center managers the "best of both worlds."

Benefits of An Intelligent PDU

Intelligent PDUs are the optimal choice if you want to reduce costs, manage existing capacity, increase availability, and enhance energy efficiency. While iPDUs are more expensive than their basic counterparts, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) actually goes down site wide when you can save cost elsewhere, like reducing energy consumption due to cooling or equipment that’s just idling. Through real-time power monitoring, increased insights into data center infrastructure, and environmental sensors, iPDUs help data centers more effectively manage space, cooling, power, and workload. 

 Choose the Best PDU For Your Data Center

Choosing the PDU that is right for your data center is made easier when you work with a trusted source.  Raritan is proud to offer intelligent PDUs that are engineered-to-order to meet your specific needs. Through an intelligent PDU, you can provide the environmental monitoring, networked power distribution, and real time insights needed to increase data center efficiencies, reduce costs, and enhance uptime year over year.

To learn more about Raritan’s intelligent PDUs, click here

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Common Electrical Terminology
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