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RJ Tee

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Picking the Right Rack Mount PDU For Your Data Center

Posted by RJ Tee on Apr 12, 2017 10:40:19 AM

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Decisions, decisions. We often stress over relatively easy decisions more than we reasonably should. One decision that shouldn’t be all that difficult – once you’re armed with the proper knowledge – revolves around which type of rack mount PDU you’ll need to help power your data center for the foreseeable future.

When picking a rack mount PDU for your data center, pinpointing your exact needs before shopping will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run. Perhaps density is your primary concern. Or maybe uptime is on the top of your checklist, along with capacity planning. That’s where Server Technology comes in. We offer smart, switched and other intelligent rack PDU options ranging from ready-made units with super-fast shipping to PDUs precisely customized to meet your every need.

Let’s explore some of those options here. 

Build Your Own

It’s the ultimate in customization. Server Technology’s Build Your Own PDU tool starts with a blank canvas and lets you paint in your power needs – everything from rack mount PDU type to power options, number and types of plugs/outlets and even unit color. Begin by selecting from metered, smart or switched units and construct your own PDU from there. Once you’ve built your virtual PDU, you’ll see it on the screen along with a datasheet and quote for your units. If your needs are very exacting, this is the place to begin. Start building your own rack PDU here.

Fast Movers

Designed to minimize the time between order and delivery, our line of Fast Movers represents some of the most popular PDU configurations based on customer feedback. These rack PDUs can be quickly assembled and shipped, usually within three to five days of your order, meaning reliable power is only days away when you need it in a hurry. This is perfect for those considering a move to a colocation. Often, in a colo setup, your SLA begins the minute you sign the contract, so it’s imperative to move quickly on your power needs. Each of our Fast Movers is fully compatible with our award-winning  Sentry Power Manager software for remote monitoring and management from anywhere in the world.

Smart and Switched Family

Maybe your needs are somewhere in between a fully customized rack PDU and our Fast Movers. For that, check out Server Technology’s Product Selector, which gives you the best of both worlds – quite a few customization options along with some of the fastest shipping in the industry. Here, you’ll find everything from basic to metered, smart and switched PDUs with POPS and PIPs options. These units provide options including individual outlet control, temperature and humidity monitoring, input current monitoring, branch circuit protection and more.

Whatever your needs, Server Technology’s commitment to our customers translates into some of the most dependable, powerful rack mount PDUs on the market. Start shopping PDUs today.  

Topics: rack PDU

Top Reasons Your DCIM Strategy Isn’t Working

Posted by RJ Tee on Apr 10, 2017 10:31:26 AM

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Awhile back, you and your team implemented a data center infrastructure management (DCIM) strategy to help control your rapidly-growing department. At the time, your thinking was that DCIM would streamline operations, aid in knowledge-based decision making and help your business respond to changing workloads. The whole point was to make life easier for you and your team members, while also making the data center more efficient and cost-effective for your business (which is now riding almost entirely its network infrastructure).

Let’s face it, though: Things aren’t going exactly as they planned. Your data center is still wasting vast amounts of power on a daily basis, and it’s still suffering from sporadic bouts of downtime. And on top of it, you’re continuously operating in the red zone and upper management is not happy about it.

So, why are your DCIM tools failing to get the job done? Just recently, our Product Manager Robert Faulkner sounded off in The Stack about why so many IT administrators are having trouble with their strategies.

Here are some of the main issues that administrators are having with DCIM:  

  1. A lack of manpower: One thing Faulkner pointed out in the article was that IT teams are being asked to do more and more in their data centers but with fewer resources — including manpower. “This brings up a catch-22 scenario where data center managers have to account for the time it takes to install, implement, integrate, and continually manage and monitor a massive system, while still fighting the seemingly never-ending battles associated with overall business growth,” Faulkner explained. Small IT teams, therefore, require tools that help them work smarter.
  1. Human error: Between 40 to 90 percent of data center downtime can be attributed to human error. So according to Faulkner, the main priority from a power delivery perspective should be to keep workers out of the data center whenever possible. Remote monitoring and management is, therefore, critical for success.
  1. A lack of actionable data: Many DCIM strategies will attempt to monitor and measure every part of the data center. However, they’re not getting much value out of the data they’re collecting because it’s typically all over the place and unrefined. As a result, many data center administrators are making decisions based on assumptions instead of using cold, hard data. This can lead to all sorts of capacity planning issues.

Ultimately, the root cause of the problem comes down to a lack of specific, purpose-build monitoring tools in the data center. Any business looking to improve its power management strategy, in other words, needs to collect real-time intelligence from the PDUs which are powering servers, storage, and network gear.

How Server Technology Can Help Your DCIM Strategy

Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM) platform comes with access to an open API that can be used to share critical power and environmental data with other systems like BMS and DCIM. It allows users to see critical information related location, system, outlet, cabinet, PDU, branch, sensor, and phase.

To learn more, click here.

Topics: SPM, DCIM

FITARA - Data Center Consolidation Deadline Could Be Pushed Back

Posted by RJ Tee on Apr 3, 2017 11:11:30 AM

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Since 2014, federal data centers have been optimizing their facilities under the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), a money-saving initiative imposed by the federal government that will force certain data centers to close by 2018.

As of right now, the project is moving much too slow. According to MeriTalk, the most recent FITARA scorecard — released on Dec. 6 — shows that federal data centers are far behind where they need to be in their optimization efforts.

How poorly is the project progressing? Twelve out of 24 graded scores generated a C or worse for their efforts. At this pace, it’s unlikely that the majority will meet their goals by 2018.

Fortunately, Uncle Sam is feeling a bit generous right now and may extend the deadline beyond 2018. But he’s not happy about it.

Director of IT issues for the Government Accountability Office Dave Powner recently sounded off about the pace of the project.

 “2018 probably isn’t enough time to get this done. A key recommendation moving forward is extending the sunset provision in FITARA,” Powner stated. “The question is how long to extend it. If an agency really can’t optimize by 2020, should they be in the business of managing a data center? They need to ask themselves that. If agencies can’t operate these things, they need to think long and hard about getting out of the business.”

So, why are federal agencies having such a hard time consolidating their facilities? According to Powner, a major reason is that only a few agencies have tools for server utilization. Right now, there are 4,400 remaining data centers and just 1200 have server utilization tools.

Server Technology is an obvious choice for federal data centers in need of energy utilization tools.

First and foremost, Server Technology’s products are Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant, meaning they are made here in the U.S. So federal agencies will have no problem in using Server Technology as a vendor. And plus, since products are made domestically Server Technology can offer fast shipment times for products and accessories. Most products ship between three and 10 days.

The products that can help federal data centers the most are Server Technology’s Web-based power management console, the Sentry Power Manager (SPM), as well as Server Technology’s intelligent power distribution units (PDUs). Federal data center administrators can use these products to gain a clear understanding of power usage and server utilization at the cabinet, zone and location levels.

It should also be noted that Server Technology offers a wide range of products under the umbrella of intelligent PDUs. There is even a “Build Your Own PDU” feature, for custom builds with up to 42 C13 outlets.

To learn more about how Server Technology’s power management solutions for government agencies, click here.

Topics: federal government, government data center, fitara

Educational Efficiency - Rethinking Your Current Strategy

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 31, 2017 11:33:06 AM

 

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If you were in the position to start from scratch with power distribution, what would you do? For many of our education customers looking at planning a new facility, the answer is to completely rethink the norms.  Many data center managers are making do with the power distribution that came with the building, and for most, the system is not current.  No pun intended. 

Given a new-build situation in which all ideas are on the table, more and more users are looking for better efficiencies and going to higher voltages to support their IT loads.  “We were fortunate to be able to explore all of the options that are out there,” states Dave Fahey, North America Sales Director for Server Technology about a recent campus project.  “The first thought when we sat down with the engineering team was to go with what they knew.  Fortunately, they approached the project with an open mind and looked different distribution voltages.”

Here are a few things to help keep your mind open as you head down this road:

Avoid transformation.  The most typical scenario is to begin with a 480/277 service, commonly delivered to large commercial buildings in the US.  Instead of dialing the service down to 208/120V, either at the UPS or PDU level by way of a step-down transformer, users are specifying an autotransformer in their UPS or PDU that delivers 415/240V to the rack level, and 240 to the appliance.  This method not only saves on equipment cost but also generates a 2% energy savings that would be assigned to the transformer loss.

Mind the gap.  By going to 415/240V, users understand that they will be delivering much higher voltages to the rack, which must be accommodated in the design.  It is important for staff to be educated on working near higher voltages, and to update company change management processes to reflect this accommodation.  Additionally, temperature monitoring and PDU-level controls will be essential.  And don’t forget the plug – electronic equipment operating at 240V will need IEC-based cords!     

Efficiency up, cost down.  The procedural changes are worth their weight in increased efficiencies and energy savings.  On top of the 2% gain realized by eliminating the transformer, most server and storage equipment operates more efficiently at 240V than either 208V or 120V.  Add in savings from avoiding line losses, and users can expect savings in the 4 to 5% range.  According to a Server Technology white paper on the topic, even at a modest 750 kW load, this energy savings translates to $32,850 per year assuming a $.10 kW/h rate.  Over the lifespan of the facility, say 10 years, this equates to $328,500 in savings at the given load.  And the higher the load, the higher the efficiency, and the higher the total savings.

While there may be a learning curve involved with working with new voltages, the reward from higher efficiency is certain.  “It is mostly a matter of rethinking what you know,” comments Fahey.  “Our customer was able to learn about a different side of the power world, and I’m glad they did because the cost savings helped fund the program.”

To see if rethinking your current strategy is right for you, take a look at our white paper on power efficiency gains, or ask us a question in the form on the right.

Topics: education

HDOT Family Welcomes Per Outlet Power Sensing PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 28, 2017 8:28:00 AM

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Just when you thought it couldn't get any better- our award winning HDOT PDUs now contain embedded Per Outlet Power Sensing (POPS) with device-level power monitoring, making this the most innovative product line yet.

Every data center should seriously consider using HDOT PDUs — with +/- 1 percent billable-grade accuracy — to drive efficiencies, maximize uptime and slash operating costs.

So, what makes POPS so remarkable?

Data center operators can use this feature to measure voltage, current, apparent power, active power, crest favor and power factor at the outlet level. Plus, warnings and alarms can be set up to monitor current, power, and power factor for both low and high values. This can help to reduce power faults, resulting in a safer and more effective data center.

Of course, customers who are familiar with the HDOT product line will find all of the same great features in this new product. HDOT PDUs still come with full switching capabilities (for remote power toggling), alternating power distribution (for distributing power on a per-receptacle basis) and PRO2 architecture (our proprietary hardware and firmware platform offering modern security protocols and advanced protection for ensuring system reliability and uptime.

Learn How the HDOT® Alt-Phase PRO2 Switched POPS® PDU  Provides For All Your Current and Future Data Center Power Needs

One of the great parts about this product line, it should be noted, is that it’s fully-customizable. Server Technology offers a special Build-Your-Own PDU feature, with an updated — and simplified — four step configuration process.  

Implementing POPS into the HDOT PDU product line was a true engineering feat, and it’s something that everyone should experience.

Click Here To Build Your Own HDOT PDU  with Alt-Phase and POPS

 

Make Better Power Management Decisions - Use SPM and Switched PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 24, 2017 11:45:45 AM

John F. Kennedy once said that leadership and learning are indispensible to each other. In other words, if you want to be a good leader you need access to knowledge that will help you make informed decisions.

This quote applies directly to you, as an IT administrator who is responsible for ensuring that your servers remain up and running, and operationally efficient. After all, you can’t expect to make accurate power management decisions if you’re relying on guesswork and intuition. You need cold, hard data.

Here’s some good news:

Server Technology has the resources that you need to start making more informed data center power management choices. The two products that can help the most are Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM)— a real-time, Web-based power management console — and switched power distribution units (PDU).

SPM is unique in that it allows for real-time visibility right down to the cabinet — and even device — levels. Armed with this intelligence, it’s possible to identify the areas where your servers are hogging the most resources. You can also set up SNMP alerts with SPM, for instant notification when servers exceed their allotted thresholds. Environmental thresholds can be established, too, so that corrective action can be taken if temperature or humidity levels spike or plummet.

One of the coolest parts about SPM is that you can use it to safely scale your power usage. For example, once you understand how certain cabinets are using power, you can then expand your operation to monitor individual “zones,” or groups , of cabinets. SPM will let you accurately predict the available resources for each zone, so that you’ll be aware of how much wriggle room you have when adding more cabinets.

Of course, using SPM you can scale even higher and understand your power usage metrics at an individual location. For instance, you may want to turn up more cabinets in a key data center located at the edge of the network. Using SPM, you will be able to see how much capacity you have in your remote infrastructure, and whether it’s a good idea to make the upgrade—or whether you need to invest in more system resources first. This data can help you avoid running into a capacity pinch.

This is particularly useful for startup operations, which are often forced to scale rapidly.

Oh, and as for our Switched PDUs? They will not only collect real-time intelligence, but they also make it possible to perform remote power toggling functions.

So it’s time to stop guessing about your data center’s power usage, and start taking a different approach —one built around real-time intelligence.

To learn more about Server Technology’s approach to data center power management, click here.  


Need better insights into your data center?  Try Sentry Power Manager for a 120-Day Free Trial!

 

Topics: SPM Sentry Power Manager, SPM, Switched PDU

An Interview with Server Technology’s Marc Cram: Smart PDUs Translate to More Efficiency

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 22, 2017 12:22:53 PM

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With people, there’s such a thing as book smart and practical smart. In the case of Server Technology’s Intelligent PDU line, you get the best of both worlds – a product that not only boasts powerful specs on paper, but also makes a real difference in your data center’s efficiency efforts.

We recently sat down with Server Technology’s Director of OEM and Global Accounts, Marc Cram, to discuss the benefits of choosing Switched or Smart Rack PDUs in your data center and how they can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings in the long run.


Question: We’ve talked in the past about the power usage and environmental monitoring capabilities of intelligent rack PDUs, but what are some other advantages to choosing an intelligent rack PDU from Server Technology?

Marc: The beauty of working with the power information gathered from our intelligent PDUs is that you only have to learn one standard interface. A server from Dell and a server from HP have two sets of power and separate interfaces. Cisco network hardware would have a third interface, and so on. If you have a diverse ecosystem in your data center, all those devices need power, so if you’ve got a common element to plug into like an intelligent PDU, then you only need one interface to gather all that data. That’s a common frustration for many people because every vendor tries to lock you into a proprietary interface. With our systems, by going through a Server Technology rack PDU, we provide the “magic decoder ring” that shows you how to get data out of our PDU to put into whatever tool you want to use. You can use Sentry Power Manager or an open source solution. So, you gain flexibility as well as access to the data because we don’t lock it up. Sentry Power Manager is great because it’s closely coupled with our hardware. This gives you speed both in deployment of the PDUs and configuration management.

 

Question: So, we know that Server Technology’s intelligent rack PDUs feature alerts via SNMP traps to show power and environmental conditions. But is it still up to the data center operator to act on this information?

Marc: Not necessarily. We have some customers with the expertise to write interfaces to our system that lets them automatically go back and reset a frozen piece of hardware. For instance, if a server gets bluescreened, they can ping the server and, if it quits responding, they can go back and cycle power to the outlet and reset it. So, it can definitely be automated.

 

Question: Are there any particular units from Server Technology you’d consider powerhouses when it comes to providing efficiency and actionable data?

Marc: The High Density Outlet Technology (HDOT) units we manufacture offer a high degree of semi-customization. The data center operator can specify if they want a certain number or type of outlets in certain regions of the PDU through our online configurator tool. This gives them the flexibility to say, “I’ve got a common form factor in shape and size of PDU, but I can change what’s in the rack and change the outlet set on the PDU to power what’s in that IT rack.”

The HDOT units also have integrated support for sensors. This allows you to identify temperature and humidity, for instance. Knowing this, you can correlate the power load in the rack to see how quickly temperature follows power load or vice versa to see trending information.

 

Question: So, what’s the alternative for data center operators not on intelligent rack PDU systems?

Marc: In that case, you’re reliant on having homogenous systems where everything is the same, such as every slot in every rack. With that, you also need a common interface and have to rely on whatever power metric and capability that server has on the power supply, which might be built into the motherboard. If there’s an external sensor within the data center, you need have it somewhere in proximity to the servers, but that’s not always reliable.

 

Question: So, it really makes more sense to go with an intelligent rack PDU for long-term efficiency, then?

Marc: Right. When you’re buying an intelligent PDU, the capital expense up front may be slightly higher, but the total cost of ownership is lower. And it’s much more reliable. It also conserves the number of Ethernet ports you need in the rack.


Question:
So, who are Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs ideal for?

Marc: We envision these are well suited for several types of customers. There’s the small company with individual racks in multiple locations across the globe that needs to be able to roll those closet servers into a single screen with Sentry Power Manager. But intelligent rack PDUs also work well for a medium enterprise data center with 5,000 square footage of floor and 15 to 20 racks of gear.

Demo A Smart PDU Today

As Marc mentions, Server Technology’s intelligent rack PDUs can provide a wealth of actionable data on power usage and environmental conditions, allowing data center operators to make critical changes as needed. This, in turn, reduces overall costs of operating the data center. To learn more about Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs, visit our Smart Rack PDU and Switched Rack PDU pages today.

Migrating to the Cloud? You Still Need Intelligent PDUs

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 17, 2017 11:28:24 AM

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We see this problem time and again with cloud computing: First, a business will partner with a hosted cloud provider offering affordable access to premium infrastructure; then, the business will migrate its workloads and wait for the cost savings to roll in.

Oftentimes, though, the cost savings never materialize. In fact, it's very common for a business to spend more money on cloud services in the long run than it would on legacy network expenses.  

Here’s why:

Cloud providers typically sell bare metal infrastructure at scale, but not much more than that. Unless a business opts to layer managed services on top of its cloud infrastructure, it will still be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, and for keeping operating costs at a manageable level. Cloud providers, in other words, are not there to hold your hand; they only provide servers. Countless organizations have learned this the hard way.

One responsibility that tends to go overlooked during cloud migrations is power management. Many IT departments today are still using archaic power outlets in their data centers and cloud environments that do not have IP connectivity. These units are highly prone to power faults, and lack real-time reporting components. As such, they are often the root cause of high costs and unexpected outages.

Instead of using traditional power outlets, IT administrators are encouraged to use intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) containing embedded solutions for recording and reporting power usage metrics, and for evenly distributing power across the cabinet. Intelligent PDUs are necessary for supporting today’s heavy workloads and advanced computing processes.

Here are some reasons to use intelligent PDUs with cloud servers:  

Perform rapid-response troubleshooting: Server Technology’s intelligent PDUs come with full switching capabilities, meaning it’s possible to use them to toggle power on and off from any remote location. This saves time, and eliminates the need to travel or rely on remote crews when performing system maintenance. This feature can be easily managed in Server Technology’s Sentry Power Management (SPM) platform — a secure and user-friendly Web-based management console.

Manage environmental settings: The servers you are using today are resilient, meaning it’s possible to experiment with different environmental settings in order to maximize performance and efficiencies. Still, you’ll want to be very careful when raising or lowering data center temperatures. Using intelligent PDUs from Server Technology, you will gain access to real-time environmental data and alerts. If a cabinet surpasses its environmental threshold, an SNMP alert can be triggered so that immediate action can be taken.

Obtain accurate metrics: All power usage data can be easily tracked, stored and exported into reports using intelligent PDUs and the SPM platform. By analyzing accurate power usage information at the cabinet level, it can help to save money in the data center.

 

Learn More About  Server Technology's Intelligent PDUs

Topics: intelligent PDUs

Experience the Most Game Changing PDU to Date

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 13, 2017 11:16:22 AM

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Stop and think about how much your data center has changed over the last several years. It seems like just yesterday you were tinkering with massive, UNIX-based servers that used around 18 W of power. Today your servers may be physically smaller, but they pack a much bigger punch with some exceeding 80 W.

These smaller servers can be stacked much more efficiently into your cabinets, meaning your cabinets are in all likelihood much denser than they were in the past. What’s more, they are playing a much greater role in your business’s daily operations. In the past, they provided ancillary services to your business. Today, if something happened to your data center or its servers your organization would come to a grinding halt.

And yet, you are still supporting this critical infrastructure with the same types of power strips that you used back in the 1990s!

This means your business is at increased risk for downtime — especially if you are experimenting with different power settings.  

What’s more, you currently have little to no visibility into how your data center is using power at the cabinet level — meaning you could be wasting a large amount of money on a daily basis without even realizing it. Traditional power strips do not contain any built-in technologies for recording or reporting power metrics.

It’s time to replace these outdated power strips as soon as possible, and make the switch to a new line of intelligent power distribution units that contain the necessary features for supporting a modern data center.

Server Technology offers the most game changing family of Switched PDUs on the market, enabling:

Remote switching: Server Technology’s Switched PDUs will allow you to toggle cabinet power on and off from a remote location, meaning you don’t have to be physically present in your facility to make critical changes. For this reason, they are ideal for use in edge data centers or colocation facilities.

Real-time environmental monitoring: Switched PDUs also contain embedded environmental sensors for collecting and transmitting temperature and humidity levels. With this feature, all of your team members can receive alerts when your equipment exceeds its allotted environmental thresholds.

Web access: These products can be used in conjunction with Server Technology’s Sentry Power Manager (SPM), a secure Web interface for data center power monitoring and management functions. SPM is a user-friendly portal.

Server Technology’s Switched PDUs are American-made and Trade Agreements Act (TAA) compliant, meaning they are safe for use in government-owned data centers. Server Technology’s products have been used by many different government owned entities, as well as businesses across all vertical markets.

Most products can be shipped within three to 10 business days.

Click To Learn More About Server Technology's  Switched Rack PDU Solutions

Topics: Switched PDU, Switched, Switched POPS

Three Questions to Ask About Three Phase Power Distribution

Posted by RJ Tee on Mar 10, 2017 9:30:24 AM

Across the globe, data center managers are making the move to 60A service at the rack level. Why? One big reason is because it better supports higher-density applications. As a result, three-phase power distribution is seeing a boost in popularity. Put simply, it just makes sense for data centers from economic and efficiency standpoints.

A popular choice for those looking to make the move to alternating phase power is the HDOT Switched power distribution unit from Server Technology. These rack-mount PDUs simplify time consuming processes such as cable management and load balancing. Offering up to a 30 percent footprint reduction, HDOT PDUs let you install more servers per rack and create a much more efficient flow over standard one- or two-phase power by using three-phase power distribution.

As you weigh your options for power distribution solutions, it’s crucial to ask all the right questions. In particular, you should train your focus on the issues of load balancing, its impact on power bills and related power loss.

Questions to ask when considering three-phase power distribution:

  1. Are my phases properly balanced? If all three phases aren’t correctly balanced, more heat will be generated. This leads to higher cooling costs.
  2. What’s the impact on my power bill? When loads are unbalanced, inefficiency follows, and so do skyrocketing power bills.
  3. Am I running too high of a load on my single phases? This is a risky approach and can result in tripped PDUs and upstream breakers. This leads to power loss at the rack level.

Opting for a switched rack-mount PDU from Server Technology can help alleviate the potential problems of a single- or two-phase load by distributing alternate phased power on a per-outlet basis rather than per branch. And, when you choose an HDOT unit, you’re getting the highest outlet count in the most compact form factor on the market.

As densities and power in the racks continue to grow, and as data center managers install more and more gear in the cabinets, it’s no secret power requirements are also rising. With an HDOT Switched rack PDU in your corner, you’ll not only survive, but thrive when it comes to efficiency and savings.

Topics: HDOT, Alternating phase, HDOT Switched, three phase power