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Who Put the ‘i’ in PDU?

Posted by RJ Tee on Nov 6, 2017 8:17:24 AM


As I was sitting around the other day and casting about for a topic for this blog post, my colleagues jokingly suggested that we talk about this trend of putting an ‘i’ in front of everything. You know, how an intelligent PDU can be called iPDU or even IP-PDU, the now-normal branding standard of our modern age, the world of iEverything. 

The ‘i’ in the first iMac stood for Internet, not necessarily intelligent. At the time, the idea of an internet-based personal computer was quite revolutionary. The ‘i’ moniker also brings to mind another intelligent ’i’ product, introduced by German sports car company BMW and infamously known as the iDrive. While it originally stood for intelligent, the ‘i’ quickly became known to stand for ‘infuriating.’

My favorite ‘i’ is in the title of the collection of short stories called by Isaac Asimov called I, Robot. In this instance, the ‘i’ can both stand for intelligent and for the first person personal pronoun. In other words the ‘I’ that means ‘me.’ This is the most personal of the uses of ‘i,’ and it is an interesting play on words since there is no personal ‘I’ in a machine. That’s because a machine does not possess a personality or even a soul.

Well, most of them...

So what out of all of this talk about iPDUs – or even better yet, IP-PDUs? This is me trying to swim back to the shallow end of the pool.

I must say that I think all the different meanings of ‘i’ apply in the case of intelligent power distribution units. As the name itself implies, the modern power strip possesses a lot of smarts. By this I mean it can provide volumes of physical data and other environmental information, as well as give you the ability to control its function remotely through it's own IP address, hence, the IP-PDU designation I'm suggesting.

But like the first knob shifter introduced by BMW, intelligent power strips (IP-strips?  Maybe I've gone too far...), or IP-PDU’s  , can also be infuriating. Their smarts come with a provisioning learning curve that makes it tricky for some to put the machine into drive. But with zero touch provisioning, much of this IP-based task has become automated.

And as for the existential question posed by the ‘i’ in I, Robot, I will leave that to you to decide. Do you have conversations with your rack PDUs? And when you speak to them, do they answer back? Don’t you sometimes feel like you have formed a relationship, one that has been very rewarding?

Server Technology was the first to automate configuration and provisioning of their Intelligent PRO Series PDUs via Zero Touch Provisioning, and can therefore occasionally wax philosophical about rack PDUs. For a more serious treatment of the subject, please see our Zero Touch Provisioning whitepaper, or head to our website to see all our intelligent PDUs.

 Learn More About  Server Technology's Intelligent PDUs

Topics: intelligent power strip, power strip, intelligent PDUs, Switched PDU, smart PDU

Need TAA-Compliant Rack Power Distribution Solutions? We’ve Got You Covered

Posted by Erik Stabile on Aug 1, 2016 4:14:34 PM


Procuring certain types of hardware for federally-affiliated data centers—like power monitoring systems—often requires IT managers to consider factors beyond cost and performance. In some cases, they must also ensure that the equipment is in compliance with federal regulations. Otherwise, it could result in significant penalties.

One important agreement that you need to honor is the Federal Trade Agreements Act (TAA). But what is the TAA, and why is it important?

 The TAA: Protecting International Trade

The TAA, enacted in 1979, outlines official trade regulations between the U.S. and other nations. Its purpose is to ensure a fair and open world trading system.

This document explains where you can source certain types of data center equipment. Not all products in your federal data center must be TAA-compliant; compliance will depend on the conditions of your federal contract. TAA regulations primarily impact Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts and General Services Administration (GSA) contracts.

You can see the list of TAA-designated countries here.

The Challenge of Procuring TAA-compliant Solutions

Unfortunately, there are many important manufacturing hotspots that are not TAA-compliant. China, for instance, is excluded from on the list despite being the world’s largest manufacturing economy and the source of many data center technologies. Other notable exclusions are the Philippines, India, Brazil and Vietnam.

This can add significant complications to the product procurement process. It can be very difficult to find a product that meets your cost and performance requirements, but does not meet TAA requirements.

It’s very important, though, that your business and your supply chain partners abide by the rules outlined in the TAA. In the event of an audit, noncompliance could result in massive fines from the federal government, lost contracts and suspensions from working with federal organizations.

The solution

Here at Server Technology, a leading global provider of data center power distribution and monitoring solutions, we offer an extensive list of TAA-compliant products for consolidating and monitoring data center equipment—particularly products in the smart and switched product families.   

We are able to provide TAA-compliant data center power solutions because we manufacture and assemble our parts in strategic TAA-certified locations. Aside from producing and assembling products domestically, Server Technology also operates in countries like Korea and Mexico.

By producing and assembling products in these locations, we can offer flexible and affordable product procurements for customers. If a product is requested that is not manufactured in one of these countries, the parts can be moved there to ensure regulatory compliance as well as speedy deliveries and installations.

Server Technology also offers comprehensive documentation for all TAA-compliant products. Rest assured, if your business is audited at any time you will be provided with the necessary materials for proving that your business is using TAA-grade equipment. We keep running records for all orders and will supply them when needed.

Some of the government organizations we have worked with include the Coast Guard, Air Force, Department of Energy, NASA, NAVY, ARMY and National Institutes of Health.

So whether you are looking for specific products that must be TAA-compliant, or you have a TAA quota that you must meet, you can rely on Server Technology for fast and easy access to power monitoring and management solutions.

For more information, contact the Server Technology sales team at 703-295-2059.


Topics: Data Center, power strip, rack power pdus, rack PDU, TAA Compliance

What to consider when choosing a Power Distribution Unit

Posted by Bob Parente on Dec 20, 2012 1:13:00 PM

gameplan resized 600

Considering Power Distribution Units (PDU) for your data center racks and IT equipment should require much more thought than simply selecting a ‘power-strip’ hardware configuration.  If you care about Green energy initiatives and desire to save on electricity cost by making the most efficient use of the energy you use, make the move to intelligent rack PDUs if you haven’t already done so. This is particularly true for a new data center build and collocations.  If you’re considering a collocation space, choosing the right PDU features will provide additional insight into your true energy use and a tool for capacity planning.  We are now seeing large data center growth with collocation providers that charge clients based on actual energy consumed, kilowatt hour (kWh).  A well thought out data center power distribution implementation will lead to reduced downtime, improved power monitoring management & control capabilities, and drive greater energy efficiency.   The best suited Power Distribution solution requires considerable planning. 

In determining the functional feature requirements for a rack PDU, System Solution Level Questions (1) should be evaluated and the Key Issues need to be considered (2) to help determine how any desired feature(s) is to be implementation.  Once an outline of feature “Must Have’s” and “Strong Wants” has been determined, Selecting the Rack PDU Hardware questions (3) need to be answered to make evident the best suitable Rack PDU Hardware.

  1. System Solution Level Questions (What are you attempting to accomplish?):
  • Will you be monitoring the IT equipment load (using PUE, DCIE, or DCeP rating systems) to measure power efficiency?
  • Are you looking to construct a database of power (kW and kWh) information for power monitoring, power reports and power trending?
  • Would it be beneficial to be able to create “clusters” of outlet data to develop power consumption trend data for groups of devices, racks, rows, types of devices, or facilities?
  • Is it helpful to see current load capacity of a given power circuit for capacity planning & load balancing based on actual IT equipment loads (per phase amperage draw to help minimize wasted energy due to unbalanced 3-Phase loads)?
  • Would it be useful to generate SNMP traps and receive an alert delivered to the desktop or portable device when a pre-defined power and/or environmental threshold have been exceeded at the rack or outlet level? 
  • Would automatic load shedding (turn off pre-determined outlets) upon a pre-defined event be beneficial?
  • Would it be advantageous to use a single IP address per rack for power & environmental monitoring, with management and control to the outlet level? 
  1. Key Issues to be considered:
  • Maintaining Uptime
    • Design in Power Redundancy
    • Real-time Status & Alarm Notifications
  • Greater Equipment Densities
    • Maximizing Cabinet/Rack Space
  • Power Monitoring, Management & Control
    • Secure Network Management
    • Current meters & Load Balancing
    • Temperature & Humidity Sensing
    • Capacity Planning
    • Outlet Control
    • Per Outlet Power Sensing
  • Enterprise Level Monitoring
    • kWh Reports
    • Power / Temperature / Humidity Trends
    • Capacity Planning
    • Inventory & Asset location information
  1. Selecting the Rack PDU Hardware questions:
  • What is the expected maximum power needed to the rack? (How was this number determined, from the PS specification, capacity planning tool, etc.?)
  • What voltage can be supplied to the rack?
  • Does the expected max power include planned power redundancy & growth?
  • Will each rack be designed for power redundancy with a standard A & B Input feed configuration?
  • What types of devices are being connecting in the rack?
  • Single or dual power supply devices?
  • Do you know the Power Factor for the devices within the rack?
  • How many outlets are required?
  • What types of outlets are required? (C19, C13, NEMA 5-20R…)
  • What racks are being used?  (Mounting considerations…)

Topics: -48 VDC, Power Distribution Unit, PDU, data centers, 3 Phase power, power strip, power solution, power management, 380V DC, capacity planning, Server Technology, power measurement

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