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A Brief Overview into Electric Power Distribution Systems

 The critical day-to-day operations of a modern-day business rely heavily on effective power distribution for effective power management and monitoring of data centers and other vital pieces of equipment to keep the business up and running effectively. Modern data centers require huge amounts of power to function.

What is a Power Distribution Unit?

A PDU or a power distribution unit is a device that’s fitted with multiple outputs to effectively distribute electricity to racks of computers and networking equipment situated in a data center. The PDU’s play a critical role in today’s connected world by maintaining required power levels and eliminating any challenges faced by data centers in terms of power protection and management.

Importance of PDU’s in Data Centers

  • Power Distribution

The amount of power that needs to be distributed depends on the amps that the servers require to function. This plays one of the most critical factors in deciding the number of PDU’s that would be required to service that requirement for proper power management.

Moreover, the power requirement varies across every rack deployment according to the servers they hold. The more powerful the server, the more power density the rack would require. Therefore, having high-grade PDU’s and bigger circuits capable of handling the additional load requirement is crucial to keep things running smoothly.

  • Power Efficiency Practices

A data center consists of more than just servers that need power. The power distribution system also needs to be able to handle the load of the air handlers, cooling and ventilation systems, along with additional requirements such as lighting, environmental controls, security alarms, anti-fire systems, etc., all of which require an exceptional amount of power.

However, some amount of power needs to be directed towards keeping the uninterrupted power supply charged in case of power failure. An efficient power distribution system is smart enough to conserve power and direct power when required while reducing the amount of power directed to less critical equipment.

It does so by dimming or shutting downlights when not required and using advanced analytics to drive cooling systems depending on usage trends. Thanks to the advancement in power distribution, the amount of power consumed by data centers globally has only grown by 4% since 2010. In contrast, the number of facilities continued to rise during the same period.

Types of Data Center Distribution units

PDU’s or Power distribution units are primarily available in 4 ranges:

  • Basic PDU: They are merely more than a power strip that comes with a surge suppressor. They are only suitable for small server rooms and aren’t usable in larger data centers or deployed for servers that are mission-critical.
  • Metered PDU: They are designed to keep a tab on power consumption and can provide insights on the efficiency of power distribution throughout the rack. This helps in better management of power and cooling efficiency.
  • Monitored PDU: These PDU’s are wired directly with a data center’s business intelligence platform to offer real-time data about usage metrics. They are used in data centers offering cloud-based services requiring exceptional performance.
  • Switched PDU:They are similar to monitored PDU’s; however, the way they differ is that they allow the option to remotely monitor and control power usage throughout the facility, which is not possible to do via the control room using any other types of PDU’s.

Efficient electrical distribution is critical for the proper functioning of data centers; therefore, partnering with a reputed electrical company is crucial for maintaining efficiency so that data centers can function at their optimum via better power distribution and management.


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