New Industry Products

Raritan Expands High-Voltage Intelligent Rack PDUs to Meet Power Density Requirements of Cloud Computing and Data Center Containers

June 17, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

Raritan added new high-power 400V models to its portfolio of intelligent rack power distribution units (iPDUs) to support the power requirements of data center racks with high-density equipment. The new PX iPDUs help distribute higher voltage power directly -- and more cost and energy efficiently -- to racks that house blade servers, high-density 1U servers, network switches, storage devices and other high-power consuming equipment.

Demand for more power in racks has been increasing. It is expected that the average rack power will soon double to 12.0kW from the 6.0kW average in 2006. To meet power demands, some companies already have racks wired to provide as much as 30kW.

Distributing 400V power directly from power panels to the rack, to support the high-power needs of high-density servers and network storage devices, is becoming an accepted practice for data centers of all sizes around the world. 400V three-phase power is connected to two high-power Raritan rack iPDUs, which supply each server with 230V, single-phase power -- well within the operating range of the power supplies of virtually any IT equipment. 480V/277V designs are also available for next-generation cloud data center and container designs.

Maintaining 400V power to the IT equipment rack is more energy efficient because it eliminates the need for "step-down" voltage conversions -- and the related transmission losses -- along the power path. Compared to 208V distribution, 400V power reduces energy costs by about two to three percent.

"Our intelligent power distribution approach combined with our large portfolio of high-voltage iPDUs, provide an easy and safe way to distribute high power to racks, while lowering energy consumption and TCO," says Herman Chan, Raritan Vice President of Product Management.

"We’ve expanded our iPDU portfolio to offer configurations up to 44kW, supporting the high-power requirements of high-density blade racks and data center-class network switches. Our intelligent platform enables reliable power delivery and smart monitoring of power, energy, temperature, humidity, airflow, and pressure -- all with an easy to use web interface."

There are several benefits for distributing higher voltage three-phase power to data center equipment racks. Running higher voltage at lower current means both fewer cables, which simplifies deployment, and smaller cables -- which use less copper, weigh less, take up less space and cost less. This translates to less under-floor air obstruction and improved cooling.

The intelligence in Raritan’s PX iPDUs provides real-time monitoring of the data center environment to maintain health of IT equipment and the rack. User-configurable critical and noncritical power and environmental thresholds can be set, and alerts sent so data center managers can take corrective action. PX iPDUs gather extensive and accurate power information, including data on voltage, current (amps), power factor, apparent power (kVA), active power (kW), environmental temperature and humidity, pressure and airflow, and energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh).

-- Temperature Monitoring -- With trends moving to higher rack power and higher rack inlet temperatures, care must be taken to ensure there is sufficient cooling while minimizing overcooling. Raritan offers optional sensors -- which plug into iPDUs and don’t require additional network connections -- to track temperature and humidity at the rack. Users can define thresholds and receive alerts when thresholds are crossed for environmental events, such as over cooling and hot spots.

-- Circuit breaker monitoring -- If the current coming into a rack PDU is greater than the current at the rack PDU’s outlets, then Raritan installs a branch circuit breaker for each group of outlets. Unlike some PDU vendors, Raritan ensures that each branch circuit is independently protected and monitored to improve reliability and operational flexibility. The iPDU monitors the circuit breakers and sends alerts if a circuit breaker gets close to tripping. The three-phase iPDUs monitor the three lines and send alerts if the lines become unbalanced.

-- Outlet-Level Metering -- Raritan rack iPDUs provide precise energy consumption data for every single power supply, of every single server. Accurate to ISO/IEC "billing grade" standards, Raritan’s PX iPDUs provide +/-1% accurate kilowatt-hour information for each individual asset in the data center. Built with both IT and facility standards in mind, the PX iPDU can pass this information upstream to building management and asset tracking systems in real time.

All PX models are fully supported by Raritan’s Power IQ® energy management software that provides additional monitoring and management capabilities to show which devices are consuming the most energy, whether power conservation efforts are working, and if there are hot spots or over-cooled areas. Enterprise-wide data gathered by Raritan’s intelligent PDUs, third-party rack PDUs, and in-line meters enable Power IQ’s analytics to calculate and chart active power, energy consumption, cost and carbon footprint for servers and other IT devices.