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The Advantages of an Uncluttered Rack, Part I

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 15, 2018 2:52:00 PM

messy-cabled-data-center-racks

Alternating phase power distribution technology from Server Tech is one of my favorite subjects. It has benefits that extend well beyond the electrical distribution world. In fact, it is one of the few power products whose secondary benefits meet and sometimes exceed the fundamental purpose of a three-phase distribution product. I discussed it in a previous post.

Server Tech’s Alternating Phase PDUs may well set the new standard for the phrase, “the gift that keeps on giving.”

alt-phase-pdus-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving

Every data center, from the humble corporate server room to the latest and greatest hyperscale offering nestled on an ice shelf in Greenland, is tasked with minimizing risk by balancing the demands of space, power, and cooling. While we at Server Technology tend to focus on the power leg of that three-legged stool through our rack PDU products, it is with the cooling leg that an Alt-Phase PDU really stands out.

How can an in-rack PDU take on such a weighty role and then address risk?

In most data center environments, cooling is a challenge with origins inside the rack. One source of the problem is imbalanced loads. As equipment is added to the rack, either on day one or after it has been installed, it could be powered from a branch that is already loaded. As these loads become more imbalanced, additional heat load is created by the IT equipment. Not only does this decrease your efficiency, but it compounds cooling demands by artificially inflating the heat load of the rack.

Another common issue is related and exacerbates the original one. I’m talking about excess cabling at the back of the rack. As if managing the communications wiring were not headache enough, add to the mix the thick power cables whose plugs need to be routed to different elevations of the rack in order to find an open receptacle. With Server Technology’s Alt Phase PDU, that open receptacle is now adjacent to the IT gear, which means far shorter power cables traveling an even shorter distance to find a home. This means no more woven mesh of power cables to act as a curtain trapping the heat being rejected at the back of the server equipment.

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It’s like a breath of fresh air for your equipment.

Now we arrive at the issue of risk management. As the power and communications cabling gets more entangled, it becomes more difficult to complete move, add and change work within the rack. This makes the task of documentation more difficult, and it also makes it more likely that removing equipment will become a risky activity. Keeping cabling close to the source device takes the guesswork out of removing the old and installing the new.

For more information our Alternating Phase products, take a look at our Alt-Phase White Paper Executive Summary, or head over to the PDU Buying Guide. At Server Technology, we are your Alternating Phase power experts.

click to build your own alternating phase HDOt PDU

Topics: cooling, Alternating phase, heat, load balancing, Data Center Density, alt-phase

On the Benefits of Alternating Phase

Posted by RJ Tee on Feb 9, 2018 10:49:00 AM

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Originally Posted on Oct 10, 2017 - Updated Feb 09, 2018

We’ve extolled the virtues of single phase 60A power distribution to the rack.  But there are still may situations in which a three phase deployment is required to power the needs of racks that consume 12kW or more.  In other words, situations that begin with ‘high’ and end with ‘density.’

The tricky part of three phase power is the accompanying balancing act.

We don’t mean from a financial or breaker panel standpoint, or even being able to walk a tightrope.  Just the simple chore of making sure the phases are equally loaded.  That’s easy enough to say about monolithic deployments of IT gear, but much tougher in real-world applications with multiple device types all cozied up in 42U of space.

To be sure, the issue of equally loaded phases is not just a matter of additional heat load or power inefficiency.  Poorly balanced circuits can overheat and breakers can trip.  And ‘trip’ is not a word we like to hear in the mission-critical world.

Now, here is where it gets interesting.

Server Technology takes a unique approach to the placement of the outlets on the power strip with a method called ‘Alternating Phase.’  Traditional PDUs have the X, Y, and Z phases grouped together:  X,X,X; Y,Y,Y; Z,Z,Z.  In an Alternating Phase configuration, those phases are grouped X,Y,Z; X,Y,Z; X,Y,Z.  Plugging into a different phase is then a matter of inches, not a long power cord run to the bottom of the rack.  To get a visual, take a look at our Technical Note to see pictures of the resulting differences between the two methodologies.

Want to learn more about Alternating Phase?  Take a deeper dive with this white paper.

Certainly Alternating Phase outlets are more difficult to wire inside the PDU itself, right?  Server Technology has tackled that problem in a unique way.  Instead of using wiring, we keep the form factor of the PDU small by distributing power via a multi-layer circuit board to each of the phases.  Our patented approach also solves two other potential issues:  heat gain within the rack PDU, and the potential for human error during the manufacturing process.

Don’t take it from me.  Look for yourself at our HDOT Alternating Phase Flyer, or venture over to our Online PDU Building Tool to generate your own unique alternating phase rack PDU.  For help getting started, look at all the available PDU features from Server Technology.

click to build your own alternating phase HDOt PDU

Topics: HDOT, build your own PDU, 3 Phase power, three phase, Alternating phase, load balancing, three phase power, BYOPDU, alt-phase

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