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Ask the Engineer – What considerations should be made when selecting a ‘power-strip’, or Server Technology CDU (Cabinet power Distribution Unit) to power the IT equipment in my rack/cabinet?

Posted by Bob Parente on Dec 9, 2010 12:16:00 PM

In most cases it is much more than ‘simply considering the power-strip hardware configuration’.  How a Power distribution solution is implemented can lead to reduced downtime, improved power efficiencies, improved power monitoring, management and control.  The best suited Power Distribution solution requires considerable planning.  First, system solution level questions must be evaluated (1), key issues determined (2), and then the required CDU features can be realized (3).

1.  System Solution Level Questions (What are you attempting to accomplish?):

  • Will you be using PUE and DCIE rating systems to measure power efficiency?
  • Are you looking to construct a database of power (kW and kW-hour) 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 at the CDU (per phase amperage draw on individual LED displays)?
  • 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? 

2.  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

 The determined goals resulting from the above key issues will indicate what Server technology product family is best suited to accomplish your goals (Basic, Metered, Smart, Switched, POPS).  For a description of the capabilities associated with each of these product families please refer to the Products page associated with Basic, Metered, Smart, Switched and POPS on the server technologies web site:


3.  A product selection tool is available on the Server Technology web site to help provide models that fit the user defined criteria based on Voltage, Amperage, desired features and outlet configuration: http://www.servertech.com/products

Topics: ask the engineer

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