PDU accessories that simplify power management

PDU accessories that simplify power management

A few simple accessories can make all the difference.

Remote power monitoring and intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) are arguably the two most important facets of power management in the data center. Together, they provide a complete view of power infrastructure throughout the data center, while ensuring that facility-wide power distribution is well-managed. In terms of the big picture, that's a good start.

But as the old platitude goes, "it's the little things in life." When it comes to data center power management, a few well-selected PDU accessories can help make all the difference. 

1. Locking cords

Downtime is downtime – whether caused by a 1,000-year flooding event or a technician who accidentally unplugs a set of critical servers because the cables weren't properly secured. 

Then of course, there's the strange but common case of power cords unplugging themselves. This phenomenon occurs in response to ambient vibrations that permeate the data center. These "bad vibrations" can be caused by trucks on a nearby freeway, construction work, the whirring and humming of CRAC units, seismic activity and passing trains.

Data center managers have begun using PDUs with locking outlets to help solve this problem on the power delivery side. That said, plugs feeding into the device also need to be secured. Fortunately, there's a simple fix here: a locking cord set for the device side. In conjunction with locking PDUs, data center managers can prevent accidental unplugging of key equipment. 

2. Cable management kits

Poor cable management in the data center in unsightly, unsafe and unreliable. Unplug the wrong device, and the result can be unplanned downtime. 

Better cable management really starts with common sense. For instance, TechRepublic contributor Jack Wallen recommends double-measuring cables before cutting them to avoid excess, labeling and/or color-coding cords for easier identification, terminating them once the connection starts to falter, testing them before live deployment, keeping them cool and more. 

Of course, all of this can only help to an extent. When volume is involved, your best bet is to look into a cable management kit with all the following: 

  • Color-coded labels for more granular identification.
  • Plastic ties to tether cables together.
  • Plastic tubing to group cables. 

Combined, these accessories can help keep cables well-organized. 

At home, it's inconvenient; but in the data center, it's disastrous. At home, it's inconvenient; but in the data center, it's disastrous.

3. Brackets

"Different types of brackets will serve various functions."

At the end of the day, there's only so much space in the data center, which means managers and technicians need to make the most of it. Depending on setup and the type of power strip in use, the best placement for PDUs may be horizontally in the rear of the rack or vertically, alongside the interior of a cabinet. Orientation of the outlets will also be a factor (i.e. facing outward, away from the cabinet, inward, up or down).

To ensure ideal positioning of PDUs, different types of brackets will serve various functions. For instance, panel mount brackets are needed for PDUs in which outlets are facing up away from the ground. Meanwhile, flush mount brackets (some of which can be adjusted to add or remove depth) are most useful when outlets face away from or toward the cabinet. 

Last but not least, perforated brackets can also be added to the rear of the cabinet to help with cable management (plastic ties can be weaved through the holes and wrapped around cables). 

As elementary as this all may seem, selecting the right brackets – along with the aforementioned accessories – can help maintain order in your cabinets and maximize space. If nothing else, this mitigates the risk of unplanned downtime, and makes the task of adding and removing equipment much more manageable. 

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