Colocation wields enough influence to change the data center industry for years to come. As these hyper scale providers seek out next generation automation, power distribution units (PDUs) are evolving to accommodate the shift.
PDUs and Compartmentalization
Colos must become faster and more affordable, and this evolution is starting to favor high capacity PDU’s of one MVA and higher.. Next generation IT gear is driving down the need for harmonic mitigation allowing for Lower K-factor transformers, and multi-output transformers are being introduced to allow voltage output to adjust to changing needs.
Most importantly, PDUs are being constructed with an eye on compartmentalization of the active power path, which provides extra safety, allowing maintenance staff to access portions of the unit without suiting up. Your crew should be able to add loads to a powered unit without risk. Components should be isolated, and breakers should be easy to add, test, and replace on an energized unit.
The Cost Effective PDU Strategy
Colocation providers cannot afford cascading faults, so the next generation of PDUs will offer safety without adding to the cost. Metering, transformers, distribution breakers, and the like will be separated. Main circuit breakers will be segregated in a way that doesn’t expose components. Transformers must have superior thermal traits, and distribution breakers and future loads will need to tolerate servicing without being shut down. These adjustments require more thought than investment, so for once, innovation doesn’t come with a heavy price tag.
Colos are constantly being consolidated and virtualized, partly because the Internet of Things is driving requirements for more compute, storage and data transmission. Only three years ago, you could achieve power loads of 5kW from 10 servers. Today, 50 servers can fit onto a rack that commonly consume over 20kW. PDUs will have to meet those high demands, a task that will be easier to fulfill given that the technology is advancing rapidly. All you need is proper planning and gear that places priority on safety and serviceability