Running an energy-efficient and economical IT platform

Energy consumption has become a vital consideration for the IT element of manufacturing operations. Here, Rittal offers its ideas to run a more energy-efficient and economical IT platform.

In order to understand energy consumption, users need transparency and data: which is why Rittal has integrated measurement functionality and detailed energy analyses within its new PDU (Power Distribution Unit) product range. The new PDUs can be configured online to deliver power distribution quickly and easily across any IT rack, according to individual requirements. This intelligent power distribution system enhances Rittal's IT infrastructure range, which includes IT cooling, monitoring, physical security and turnkey data centres, as well as cloud services.

It has been estimated that data centres consume as much as 500 billion kilowatt hours of energy globally. By 2030, this demand could rise as high as 2,000 billion kilowatt hours. In addition, it's widely anticipated that the energy demands of individual IT systems are going to rise, driven by new technologies such as 5G networks and IoT: so measuring and streamlining power consumption is now becoming more important for data centre operators.

Rittal's new portfolio of PDU products offers detailed energy metering within the IT rack to help cut IT operating costs in the data centre. "Despite the many efficiency gains that have been achieved in IT so far, energy consumption is continuing to grow in many data centres. With our new range of PDUs, we are helping data centre operators to analyse energy costs precisely and to make the most of any further potential for optimising costs", explains Luis Brücher, Vice President Product Management IT at Rittal.

Rittal's new PDU range is made up of five basic models that are functionally based on each other and can be individually configured.

  • "PDU Basic" single power distribution model functions passively and conducts the power distribution in the IT rack.
  • "PDU Metered" includes measuring capabilities at each phase, e.g. for voltage, power and frequency, as well as for other data.
  • "PDU Metered Plus" model takes this a step further by allowing energy data acquisition per output slot.
  • "PDU Switched" delivers measurements per phase and features switchable output slots.
  • "PDU Managed" combines the functions of the Metered Plus and the Switched, allowing power distribution and data acquisition per output slot, plus power management with switching functions for each slot.

One of the key characteristics of the new PDU generation is its slimline design. Rittal PDUs can be installed in the zero-U-space; in other words, in the space between the side panel and the 19" mounting frame. This means no height units are blocked and allows for maintenance and installation, even with a fully configured IT rack. Rittal IT racks are designed for easy installations without the need for any additional tools - simply by using a clip-fastening on the 19" frame. With third-party IT racks, the same installations can be carried out using the universal fasteners supplied.

Rittal's modular production enables customers to choose a custom configuration to allow a PDU to be adapted to meet the needs of a specific application. The company can select the length of the cable, the connector to be used, agree the number and type of socket locations, and configure protective contact outputs. Additional modules can be configured to expand a PDU's functionality in areas such as residual current measurement or overvoltage protection features. Thanks to the modular concept, individual components, like the PDU controller board and surge protection, can be replaced while the unit is still running, helping to boost the data centre's availability.

To make selection quick and easy, Rittal has developed a web configurator that guides the customer through various options and towards their final, preferred solution.

Security and monitoring are key functions within intelligent PDUs, and either one or both of an IT rack's electronic handles can be used to monitor and control access to the rack. Other functions, such as an alarm relay, a digital input, and an alarm signalling device, further support the idea of including the PDU within a comprehensive IT security plan. The sensors on the CMC III monitoring system mean the environmental data such as temperature, humidity, or the status of switching contacts can be recorded. Residual current monitoring is available as another option.

The PDUs have an important role to play in user safety. Their intelligent logic elements can prevent the doors from being opened if a potentially dangerous situation has been detected, perhaps because of a current drain-off via the PE (Protective Earth) or one of the other paths within the IT rack. They also feature an integrated web server to enable remote management. Administrators are able to access the information through an intuitive web interface. Access rights can be assigned automatically through directory services such as Active Directory.

As well as a detailed point-and-click display showing measured values on the web interface, the PDUs parameters can also be queried via SNMPv3 from higher-level DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) software systems. Support is provided for the most common protocols such as TCP/IPv6, TLS, and OPC-UA.

There are specific application scenarios for each PDU model. For example, a "metered PDU" supports load management in the IT rack and lets IT experts decide whether the cooling is matched to the load of the active components. The "Metered Plus" model offers one measurement per output slot, which in turn enables detailed billing based on an individual consumer's demand. Operators of co-location data centres can use this to monitor the costs of rented server space and entire IT racks.

The "PDU Switched" model has a switching function, which means users can interrupt a power supply to an individual slot, or switch it on again if needed. This makes it much easier to administer remote IT locations such as autonomous edge data centres. The "PDU Managed" model allows users to measure and switch across each output, to give user-oriented billing with full control over the slots. In large decentralised edge infrastructures, managed PDUs are suitable for recording costs per site, while at the same time remotely monitoring the IT systems.

Overview: Key facts

  • Broad range of measurement functions for detailed energy analysis in the data centre
  • Flexible configuration, and adaptable across various applications in a company
  • End-to-end monitoring functions increase the security of the entire IT infrastructure
  • Rapid and space-saving installation
  • Remote administration and maximum security access

Learn more at

Rittal Ltd

Braithwell Way, Hellaby Industrial Estate
S66 8QY

+44 (0)1709 704000

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