Posted on June 24, 2013 by Rob Suijkerbuijk
Tired of your PDUs in basic black? How about red and blue?
In an industry known for its indifference to fashion, offering PDUs in a choice of colors might seem like a rather frivolous effort. But read this story, and the reason behind the product differentiation becomes clear. The idea actually came from a Raritan client—one with extensive experience in the construction and operation of data centers.
Planning for visual clarity in your data center
That company was eBay, and the idea behind the color spec was very simple: Color makes it very easy to distinguish an A feed from a B feed. eBay not only ordered their PDUs in blue and red, but also the corresponding power cables. The result: a very simple and visually clear way of distinguishing the roles played by different PDUs. In data centers with server densities comparable to eBay, it becomes difficult to tell just how the entire power-supply system fits together. With color-coding both mid-size and large data centers like eBay can confidently tell which feed they were dealing with at all times.
Planning to make your data center easier to use
Take another seemingly trivial design tweak: One of our clients, a large multinational company, noted that the little screen on the PDU’s controller was hard to read when it was rack mounted in certain orientations. The information could display sideways, or worse, upside down. We took a good lesson from Apple in its use of accelerometers in iPads and iPhones, and built the same rotation solution into our controllers. Now it doesn’t matter what orientation a PDU is mounted in; the information on the screen turns around to always be legible.
Color and text orientation are small alterations, but it’s the small details that often determine data center managers’ happiness with a product. That’s exactly why we at Raritan never limit ourselves to our existing product portfolio and price list. We make a point of asking and listening carefully to suggestions our clients have to ensure they are satisfied and can accomplish what they need to. Sometimes, the solution lies in a tiny, but important adjustment — one that Raritan is more than willing to execute for their clients.