Change is inevitable, and data centers should be designed with this undeniable concept in mind. Companies that cannot shift with the times or trends because of antiquated technology and infrastructure lose business to more agile competitors.
Power management solutions play a fundamental role in implementing more versatile data centers that can quickly evolve to address the demands and challenges of the future.
Remember, energy consumption continues to go up. A 2015 NRDC report indicates that data center electricity consumption is projected to increase to roughly 140 billion kilowatt-hours annually by 2020. This is the equivalent annual output of 50 power plants, costing U.S. businesses $13 billion annually in electricity bills. Furthermore, in a recent Green Grid research into European data center usage, energy efficiency and operating costs are the most common areas of the data center reported as requiring improvement. Furthermore, the difficulty in predicting future cost (43 percent) and the cost of refreshing hardware (37 percent) are cited as top challenges of developing resource efficient data centers, along with a difficulty of meeting environmental targets (33 percent).
This means administrators must examine cost as well as availability as critical design factors. Business are asking managers to ensure uptime and availability at all times. All the while reducing the cost of operating the equipment. These are the keys to a successful IT operation; as it has become critical to rely on intelligent PDU hardware to achieve success. In this comprehensive guide from Raritan, we explore the concepts, considerations and approaches in designing, selecting and deploying the appropriate rack PDU for typical data center applications.
How things have evolved
Over the past few years, system availability has become a “given” and data center management attention is now being focused on operational costs, efficiency improvements and resource optimization. With the annual expenditure for powering the average data center surpassing the cost to purchase the IT equipment itself, the use (and waste) of energy is now targeted as a priority. Beyond the actual cost to power the data center there are the related issues that impact both current operations and future expansion—e.g. physical space and utility power availability, CO2 footprint and potential government regulation. Since almost all of the power delivered from the utility to the data center is consumed either directly by the devices plugged into rack PDUs or indirectly by the infrastructure to bring power to the rack and cool the devices, the once obscure rack PDUs have become visible on the data center management radar.
Not surprisingly, many of the major strategies to address the above issues and improve overall data center efficiency depend on new capabilities not available in the commodity outlet strips of a few years ago.
Consider these capabilities:
- In order to maximize the use of data center space and other resources there has been a trend to deploy racks densely packed with 1U servers or power-hungry blade servers. Today’s rack PDUs typically handle loads of 5-10 kW with 20 outlets and there are PDUs now designed to support 20+ kW and 36 or more outlets.
- To create individual awareness, accountability and/or chargeback for power usage and CO2 footprint, some rack PDUs are equipped with highly accurate, real-time power measurement capabilities at the PDU and outlet level.
As you can imagine, a wide variety of rack PDU configurations is available based on parameters such as: number of phases, voltage, total amps, branch circuits, number of outlets, socket type, plug type, rack units consumed, and physical dimensions. Many data center operators have created a science out of maximizing server utilization and data center efficiency. Today, data center providers are making investments in improvements which will positively impact the efficiency of their facility’s infrastructure, as well as the power and data center capacity that supports their clients’ IT gear.
Moving forward, data center managers will need to work with their ecosystem to ensure the best possible performance and utilization. Data center sprawl is a real-world issue, and intelligent PDUs are designed to help with next-generation requirements as well as enabling unparalleled capacity.
Download this guide today to not only learn about the basic ingredients for delivering adequate, reliable power to the rack, but also the factors and best practices that will contribute to a reliable, operationally efficient and environmentally sound data center for today and for the future.