The 2017 holiday shopping season officially begins this week with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that 164 million U.S. consumers — approximately 69 percent of all Americans — will shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, and 24 percent say they’ll spend more than they did last year.

In 2016, more than 122 million consumers shopped online on Cyber Monday, according to NRF data. Retailers must ensure that their data centers are prepared to handle the onslaught of traffic to their e-commerce sites.

Power is a fundamental component of data center operations. A highly reliable power source that maximizes system availability is essential. However, ever-increasing data center densities have made it more difficult to effectively plan for power requirements. Technicians tend to plug new equipment into the first available outlet with limited knowledge of the available electrical capacity. This can result in tripped circuit breakers and power fluctuations that cause downtime or even damage sensitive equipment.

The power distribution unit (PDU) sits at the front lines of the data center’s electrical capacity. At the most basic level, a PDU is an oversized power strip with standard electrical outlets for plugging in data center equipment. There are also floor mounted PDUs that can supply 300kVA or more to power multiple rack or cabinets.

Intelligent PDUs provide metering at the inlet or outlet level, displaying data on power usage and available capacity. Inlet metering helps technicians avoid overloading circuits and makes it easy to calculate metrics such as power usage effectiveness (PUE). Outlet metering provides data on power consumption at the individual device level for allocation of costs. Intelligent PDUs can also alert technicians when a circuit breaker is tripped — a particularly valuable feature in high-density environments.

Switched PDUs make it possible to turn individual outlets on and off to power cycle individual devices, enable power sequencing delays or prevent unauthorized installation of devices. Switched PDUs provide inlet metering, and some offer outlet metering as well. They should include security features and access controls to prevent tampering.

Intelligent PDUs collect data on amperage, voltage, power consumption and energy consumption in real time. This helps data center managers understand power load trends in order to better plan for capacity. The data can also help identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency, such as decommissioning unneeded equipment, replacing inefficient equipment or consolidating servers.

In addition, intelligent PDUs can support add-on features such as sensors and physical security systems. Environmental monitoring sensors measure temperature, humidity and airflow, and detect smoke, water or vibrations. Door lock systems enable ID card access to cabinets or aisles, and log all access attempts for auditing and reporting.

The remote management capabilities of intelligent PDUs make it possible to access this functionality and data without visiting the data center. Intelligent PDUs also support intelligent asset tags for automated asset tracking, and integrate with data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software to track changes in the data center and provide real-time visibility into overall data center operations.

While retailers are especially concerned about availability during the holiday shopping season, organizations in every industry must ensure optimal data center operations every day of the year. Let Rahi Systems show you how intelligent PDUs can help you enhance power reliability and efficiency and help you plan for growing capacity requirements.



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