What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (2023)

What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (1)


  • Alexander S. Gillis,Technical writer and editor

What is a power distribution unit (PDU)?

A Power Distribution Unit (PDU) is an electrical power control device in onedata center. The simplest PDUs are large power strips with no surge protection. They are designed to provide standard outlets for data center equipment and have no monitoring or remote access capabilities. More advanced PDUs offer real-time monitoring and remote access capabilities.

PDUs manage and distribute power and are typically installed directly onto oneframe. The power source could be AC ​​(AC) or direct current (direct current). It can come from oneUninterruptible power supply, a utility or generator or other secondary source of energy. PDUs are also designed to handle power requirements, which are typically much larger than power strips and surge protectors found in the home or office.

(Video) An Introduction To Power Distribution Units (PDUs)

Power distribution units ensure that a company's IT infrastructure and data center are adequately supplied with electricity. Organizations also use PDUs to monitor energy efficiency and uptime. Marketquest.bizestimatedThe global PDU market size is projected to be nearly US$1.4 billion in 2021 and is forecast to grow to over US$1.6 billion by 2028.

What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (2)

What do PDUs do?

PDUs do essentially the same job as power strips: they provide power to multiple devices at the same time. Data centers and other industrial environments cannot connect all of their equipment to one power supply. There are just too many of them. Instead, PDUs distribute power to multiple devices, includingServer, computers, network and storage devices, and telecommunications equipment.

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(Video) Types of Power Distribution Units

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A PDU can typically power up to eight devices simultaneously. PDUs can be mounted in equipment rack enclosures to power rack-mountable IT equipment such as servers, switches, and routers.

These power supplies can also provide comprehensive power management and remote monitoring. For example,Data center infrastructure managementDevices can measure the power consumption of a PDU in order to calculate itenergy consumption effectivenessor other statistics.

Depending on the manufacturer and model, each PDU can process larger amounts of energy than a conventional power strip. They usually supply several equipment racks with power.

What types of PDUs are there?

PDUs are available in rack mount, floor mount, cabinet and portable form factors:

(Video) 4 Data Center Power Distribution Units

  • Rackmount-PDUsmount directly on a device carrier. You can control and monitor the power supply of specific servers,Switchand other data center equipment and help balance power loads.
  • Floor mounted PDUsprovide an alternative to a facility's primary power source and data center equipment racks.
  • Kabinett-PDUsare units that have main and singlecircuit breakerand electrical panels for performance monitoring. These are used when an organization supplies power to multiple racks with multiple high-current
  • Portable PDUsare portable, unassembled devices intended for consumer use in homes and offices.
What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (3)

PDUs are also described as simple or intelligent, with several types of intelligent PDUs. These include the following:

  • dosed input and output
  • switched
  • Control cabinet with output measurement

Simple PDUs vs. intelligent PDUs

PDUs are categorized as simple or intelligent.

Basic power distribution units

Basic devices are only used for power distribution. The following two types are considered basic PDUs:

  1. Basis-PDU.This is a power strip that distributesvoltageand power to multiple outlets.
  2. Monitored PDU.This is a simple PDU that also displays electrical data.
What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (4)

Intelligent power distribution units

Smart PDUs provide power distribution and other features such as power metering, monitoring, remote outlet switching, remote outlet control, and notifications of potential problems. Types of intelligent PDUs include:

  • PDU with metered inlet.These metered PDUs determine the power consumption and available capacity of circuits, making it easier for the devicesdeployment. They also help calculate efficiency ratios and avoid overloading a circuit.
  • PDU with metered outlet.The measurement performed at the outlet helps users determine power consumption and rack availability. This type of PDU allows users to make comparisons to determine if a device is energy efficient.
  • Switched PDU.These PDUs have the same features as metered inlet PDUs, but they also give users control over individual outlets and groups of outlets. The outlets can power devices remotely. And switched PDUs allow users to turn off devices when not in use, thereby conserving power.
    What is a PDU (Power Distribution Unit)? - TechTarget.com (5)
  • Switched rack PDU with outlet metering.A switched rack power distribution unit has the same functionality as a metered switched PDU.

    Simple PDUs are ideal for simpler IT setups. However, an organization with a more complex environment is likely to need intelligent PDUs.


Benefits of intelligent PDUs

The advantages of intelligent power distribution units include:

  • Improved data center management.Smart PDUs include features to help with thisData center management, such as measurement and remote functions.
  • Reduced energy consumption. Power consumption monitoringenables companies to better assess electricity consumption. Devices can also remotely turn off outlets when not in use to save power.
  • Better control of the Force.Remote toggle functions are available for controlling individual outputs.
  • Energy Consumption Data.Smart PDUs can monitor energy consumption and provide data on where and how energy is being used.

Selecting a PDU

Before installing a PDU, an organization must decide what type of PDU it needs. Specifications to be observed and questions for suppliers anddealerconsider the following when making this decision:

  • Where is the PDU installed?Will it be rack mounted, placed on the floor or in a closet? Or does it have to be portable? Will it be mounted vertically or horizontally?
  • What input power is required?Is it AC or DC? Is it rated for the standard voltage—120, 240, or 330 volts—used in the organization's country?
  • How much power does the device need?The total power required by devices connected to the PDU must not exceed the maximum rated load of the device.
  • How many sockets are required?A PDU with more outlets than needed should be selectedAnticipating future needs.
  • What kind of plugs are needed?Some PDUs may offer a mix of outlet types to match the plugs of the various devices that plug into them.
  • Are more functions needed?Organizations with complex environments are likely to need in-depth monitoring, which requires an intelligent PDU. The specific type depends on the features an organization needs.

Installing a PDU

The specific steps to install a PDU may vary depending on the PDU type. A general installation of a rackmount PDU includes the following steps:

  • Align the brackets for vertical mounting.
  • Attach the brackets to the PDU.
  • Connect the power cord.
  • Route and attach the cable to its power source.
  • Secure the power cord with cable ties.
  • Connect the servers or rack equipment to the outlets of the PDU.

Learn how to avoid problems that may arise along the wayConstruction of server cabinets.

(Video) Rack Power (PDU) terms and technology

This was last updated inApril 2022

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