Data Center Facilities Infrastructure
5 minute read

Universal PDU and Combination Outlets Solve Common Rack PDU Challenges

This article will explore how The Vertiv™ Geist™ Combination Outlet and Universal PDU solves traditional rack PDU problems in the data center and edge space.

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Data centers take many different forms, but at the core they are responsible for processing, storing and delivering information. With over 60 percent of the global population accessing the Internet, the data center industry must continuously adapt to stay relevant and meet the continuously increasing consumer demands. Consumers now expect extraordinarily fast connection speeds and minimal latency with the rise in global remote working and Internet streaming services. That means more diverse data centers, more IT equipment and more power.

The increasing demand to support the digital architecture of the world has introduced new challenges for those deploying critical IT infrastructure. The traditional rack power distribution unit (rPDU) is no exception. A universal power distribution unit is now readily available and provides a solution to many of the challenges companies have encountered with the traditional rack PDU design.

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Top 5 challenges with traditional rack PDUs


Global customers use multiple rPDU models across different regions due to varying power configurations and requirements. Today, a single rPDU model cannot be deployed in every rack or data center location globally due to different power requirements. This is unlike other IT equipment in the data center. Servers and network equipment are designed to run with input power in the 100V to 240V range. While the input power will vary based on region, the hardware itself remains the same which significantly reduces the complexity of selecting and deploying all over the world.

Solution: A rack PDU with adjustable input and output power capabilities enables customers to deploy a single rPDU in all racks and locations around the world regardless of regional power type or per rack power requirements.


Changing rack power requirements require a new rack PDU to be purchased and installed in order to adapt to new business needs. In the ever-evolving landscape of data center deployment, power to the rack can be a fluid situation. Adding a high-density rack in a row that operates on a lower kW will necessitate a higher power input. In addition to the whips from the busway or the rack power panel, this will also require a new rPDU that is suited for the increased power. This creates a scenario where multiple rPDU models are now needed within a single row deployment, adding to the list of managed SKUs in the equipment profiles for the data center.

Solution: A rPDU with the ability to have the input power modified by simply swapping out the power cable and connecting to the appropriate power source.


Mounting large vertical power strips and routing cables on high amperage and voltage rack PDUs in cabinets where rack designs limit the space that rPDU components must fit. IT equipment is the deciding factor on rack dimensions, and the rPDU is looked at solely on fitment within the rack. When adapting a high-density rack, the knockout size within the cabinet frame may not be suitable in clearing a high-power plug such as a 60A, 3 Phase connector.

Solution: A rPDU with a detachable power cable allowing the rPDU to be installed and power cable routed and connected without the need to maneuver around a heavy cable. 


Available outlets on a rack PDU are not located in a convenient location to simplify cable management or the needed outlet type is not available. In conjunction with the power configuration, the outlet types and quantities are a key factor in the process of selecting an rPDU. Having the correct outlet in the correct U space for a power supply is crucial to the function and layout of the cabinet. Not every rack will have the same IT equipment, so this leads to the need of having multiple rPDU models with a mixture of outlets in the locations needed. When adding or moving equipment, outlet options impact the selection of the rPDU and could lead to additional rPDU models being purchased. 

Solution: A rack PDU with flexible or 2-in-1 outlets supporting both IEC C14 and C20 plugs as every receptacle on the rack PDU to simplify cable management and simplify equipment adds, moves and changes.


Country-specific compliance leads to a rack PDU that does not have the appropriate safety marks for use in all deployed countries. This presents a challenge for global deployments. Country-specific safety and compliance regulations can prevent a single rPDU model from being deployed in every region. For example, the safety mark required in Australia, is not required in Germany. Conversely, the safety marks used in North American markets are not used in European territories. A data center must meet the local requirements from governing agencies, and the selection of rPDU models will vary based on what country the rPDU is to be deployed in.

Solution: A rack PDU using components recognized by all major global markets meeting all global compliance requirements.

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Goodbye, traditional rack PDU – hello, universal PDU

This new era requires every industry to adapt rapidly to changing technology. Vertiv is leading the charge in rack power distribution innovation and has revolutionized the rPDU with the introduction of the Vertiv™ Geist™ UPDU (Universal Power Distribution Unit) and the Combination Outlet C13 / C19. Now a single model can be deployed in every rack and in every location around the world. 

WWT faces similar rack PDU challenges as many of our customers. Our ATC data center environment is a dynamic space with rack power needs constantly changing. The Vertiv™ Geist™ Combination Outlet C13 / C19 solves our real-world challenges of needing to use different model rPDUs due to outlet type requirements.

To learn more, follow WWT’s Facilities Infrastructure topic or request a Power Briefing or Facilities Infrastructure Workshop.