Power Distribution Units (PDU) for the server rack in IT or AV

What is a server rack PDU?

Power distribution units in use in the IT infrastructure or in AV installations

A PDU or Power distribution unit is typically found as power strips and distribute the power from the mains supply to several sockets. They are primarily used in data centers, server and technology rooms or offices. PDUs are often located in 19-inch racks and can be installed horizontally or vertically.

Power distribution units are simple and straightforward to install in server racks. They are used in server racks to distribute the power to the servers and other IT devices. A distinction is made between different types of device connections: The most common device connections are IEC C13, IEC C19 and protective contact sockets (Schuko plugs).

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Active and passive power distribution units

PDUs can be divided into two types. There are power distribution units as intelligent and smart active PDUs and as simple passive PDUs.

Intelligent active PDU

An active PDU is equipped with artificial intelligence that has additional useful functions. Intelligent power distribution units can monitor data interfaces and control and switch them remotely. Remote control takes place via a LAN interface so that they can be controlled remotely via TCP/IP and protocols such as SNMP, Modbus or HTTP/HTTPS. They can be embedded in monitoring programmes to read out the values. This supports the monitoring of energy consumption, while users utilise the data received to improve energy efficiency through active monitoring.

Voltage, electricity, temperature and humidity can be monitored and measured with optionally available sensors. Intelligent PDUs can become alarm devices with the help of sensors and programmable limit values. If a threshold value is exceeded, the power distribution unit notifies the user by e-mail, for example. This is advantageous for optimising the security and reliability of the server rack in the data centre.

Passive PDU

A passive power distribution unit is the simplest type of power distribution unit and is connected to the power grid as a plug-and-play device to distribute the power. It has no additional smart or intelligent functions. It is mainly used in small data centres or offices.

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