The Raritan Blog

Intelligent PDUs and the New World of Data Center Expansions

Jessica Ciesla
June 21, 2021

Expanding your data center does not always mean a building addition for extra capacity.  Intelligent PDUs play the role of providing flexibility and scalability at the rack.  

Relative to other facility types, data centers are expensive to build and maintain. While five to ten times higher construction costs are the new normal in the industry, growing companies must prepare for an even greater event that is very likely to come along: the inevitable upgrade or expansion. In the past, this has traditionally meant creating additional space, adding more power, and increasing cooling capacity for additional rows of equipment; however, today’s data center “expansions” can be as much about increasing density and improving efficiency as an increase in the footprint of the center. 

Flexibility, Scalability, and a Positive Impact on the Bottom Line 

Data center design experts have a number of tools at their disposal that were created to incorporate flexible, scalable elements into the design of data-center facilities. What about the rest of the operation, like the rows of racks that occupy the data center? The short answer is that flexibility and scalability are at the heart of all intelligent rack PDU designs. In addition to being more efficient overall, intelligent PDUs are equipped with the processing power needed to bring, well, the smarts need to support expansion at the rack and row. 

Intelligent PDUs are the key to flexibility and scalability within the rack row, and here’s why: 

  1. They can help improve the efficiency of the power distribution system. This comes in two forms: higher voltages and better management of the electrical infrastructure. 
  2. They support environmental-sustainability initiatives and lower PUE. Intelligent PDUs can improve energy efficiency by providing the electrical-load data needed for better management of the mechanical system (which is where the big savings are found). 
  3. They provide improved control of the operation at the rack level. Small increases in operational efficiency, on a rack-by-rack basis, add up to great gains across an entire data center. 
  4. They can support increased data-center uptime. Equipment that is operating at its peak—neither underloaded nor overloaded—tends to stay operational. Equipment that is not operating within an optimal range tends to experience greater failure rates. 
  5. They allow for greater capacity planning and utilization of the electrical system. Full use of existing electrical infrastructure helps avoid the cost of capital upgrades for increasing capacity.  In other words, better utilization of existing resources means avoiding additional costs. 

By bringing intelligence to power distribution at the rack level, today’s data-center manager can introduce a level of flexibility and scalability at the point of consumption. This closely coupled approach—once the guiding principle of mechanical best practices—is the key to supporting growing density, consumption, and efficiency. 

Big Thinking at the Rack 

Supporting the investment made in data center physical infrastructure construction starts with smart PDUs at the rack. Contact us here at Raritan to learn more about intelligent rack PDUs and how they can support your data center expansion needs.