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From education and retail to healthcare and industrial, digital transformation and edge computing are driving more critical infrastructure than ever to distributed IT environments. With IT equipment racks spread across multiple sites that typically lack on-site support staff, rack power distribution units (PDUs) can provide the monitoring and control vital to minimizing costly outages. Let's review some key considerations when choosing rackmount PDUs for edge deployments.​

1. Standardize on a flexible hardware platform

The core function of rack PDUs is to distribute power from the site to the equipment housed in the rack. The cord and outlet configuration of the PDU will be driven by the limitations of the site and the requirements of the IT devices supported. Although configurations may differ from location to location and from rack to rack, increasing the number of different PDUs supported increases management complexity. A hardware platform that supports a range of PDU voltage, capacity, plug, cord and outlet options will satisfy various site requirements without increasing management overhead. In addition, Eaton's C39 outlet can accommodate a C14 or a C20 plug. Not only does this provide more options for the initial installation, it also means you won't need to replace the PDU every time the connected equipment changes.

2. Select a rack PDU that supports network management

Network management provides the remote monitoring and control you need to manage power at edge sites effectively. You can see what's happening, receive alerts and make proactive or corrective changes, either through direct actions or automated responses. Whether you choose a Metered PDU or a Managed PDU (also known as a switched PDU) depends on the level of monitoring and control you need. Metered Input PDUs offer branch-level power monitoring, while Metered Outlet PDUs provide outlet-level power monitoring. Monitoring with ±1 percent billing-grade accuracy helps you optimize energy use, reduce costs, detect spare capacity and balance loads. Managed PDUs add remote individual outlet control.

3. Consider remote outlet control

Managed PDUs provide the ability to turn on or turn off power to individual outlets remotely. This allows you to fix problems without making site visits by power cycling and rebooting malfunctioning devices remotely. You can also lock out unused outlets to prevent unauthorized or accidental use that can cause overloads and downtime. During power outages, Managed PDUs support automated load shedding of nonessential devices to increase UPS runtime for critical equipment. 

4. Consider temperature monitoring 

Edge locations typically lack the dedicated cooling and precise environmental control of on-premises data centers, so it's doubly important to integrate temperature and humidity monitoring with your rack PDUs. You can daisy-chain up to three Environmental Monitoring Probes (EMPs) to monitor the top, middle and bottom of your rack enclosures. PDUs rated to work in temperatures up to 140°F (60°C) also help reduce cooling costs without losing functionality. 

5. Unlock the potential of rack PDUs with software 

How will you manage hundreds or even thousands of rack PDUs across multiple sites? Having the right software solution allows you to manage and monitor the day-to-day as well as handle mass firmware updates. This keeps the time needed for power system administration to a minimum. You can implement changes quickly, efficiently and with minimal risk of error. Greater control over your distributed power infrastructure allows you to mitigate power events before they cause damaging outages. 

Complete portfolio 

Eaton rack PDUs complete portfolio

Eaton rack PDUs are distinguished for their quality, dependability and versatility. They provide network-grade power distribution for applications ranging from edge computing to hyperscale data centers. The Eaton Brightlayer Data Centers software suite equips data center and IT managers with a full suite of applications that includes everything from data center infrastructure management to advanced, automatic remediation's and cloud-based analytics that help predict power component failure.

To learn more about these PDUs and other Eaton products, please reach out to our schedule a workshop with our practice.

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