Datacentres are increasingly becoming the foundation for most successful business operations across Africa. The challenge of having to maintain power distribution efficiency and reduce downtime remains a critical business concern.
The issue of virtualisation, with its promise of delivering better utilisation, is also creating a heightened need for agility throughout and among datacentres.
The issue of agility is further reinforced by the rising use of cloud-based solutions and co-located datacentres, which in turn drive the need for higher accuracy in billing, often down to the single outlet level in a rack.
Furthermore, datacentres are also implementing converged infrastructure environments enabling it to meet the on-demand computing challenges of today’s business environment, albeit on the proviso that they manage the fluctuating power distribution requirements that meeting such challenges entails.
Considering all these factors, datacentres are closing managing every facet of operations to ensure efficiency, energy and power readiness remains a key component of this equation. The modern datacentre functions much like a utility, providing computing capacity in response to changing demands.
High-level power distribution strategies are needed for peak efficiency and keep a watchful eye on all aspects of power distribution at a granular level.
Eaton Electrical in Sub-Saharan Africa recommends the use of rack power distribution units (PDUs), devices with monitoring and management capabilities that offers datacentres comprehensive functionality that addresses their most pressing operational needs.
For instance, increasing cooling costs that datacentres have to keep to a minimum even as density increases. The modern hot-air containment solutions many datacentres have implemented require higher rack PDU operating temperatures. Consequently, rack PDUs that have the ability to function at high operating temperatures can help datacentres to reduce overall costs.
Adding temperature monitoring can also help datacentres reduce cooling costs by accurately identifying where heat and humidity are building in the datacentre, allowing operators to respond accordingly.
Administrative overhead is another critical area for businesses and requires constant diligence. Rack PDUs designed to reduce administrative overhead are key components in creating an efficiently operating datacentre and can free up datacentre staff to concentrate on more strategic tasks.
Furthermore, rack PDUs with branch circuit colour-coding that matches corresponding colour-coded outlet sections can make it easy for datacentre staff to know which branch circuit breaker connects with specific outlets. This can reduce the time spent troubleshooting the source of problems and can simplify load balancing as well.
Ease of installation is more than just a convenience and time-saver; rack PDUs that are easy to install save on startup and provisioning costs whilst the best way to facilitate agility is to make sure a vendor can provide the rack and the PDU. Compatibility goes a long way in ensuring ease-of-use and optimising the way the two components work together.
The process of selecting a rack PDU should begin with examining the power rating of the PDU and the technologies of the datacentre. When designing a datacentre, operators typically take into account the planned capacity of the rack to calculate power distribution efficiency and cooling requirements.
Rack capacity is then used to select the appropriate input plug for the rack PDU. Datacentres today often want a PDU capable of carrying the full power load as well as accommodating the possibility for expansion.
When such future-proofing is pursued, any excess capacity that is being provisioned can be handled seamlessly simply by implementing a larger-capacity PDU.
Once the power rating of the PDU is considered, datacentres should next evaluate technologies when selecting a PDU. Typically, rack PDUs come in three categories: basic, metered and managed distribution.
As computing demands continue to increase, datacentres can no longer afford to examine power distribution solely at a high level.
To ensure peak operating efficiency, datacentres must monitor and manage power distribution at a granular level and advanced rack PDUs have the features and reliability that today’s datacentres need to maintain their own operation and support the changing and accelerating demands of the business.
For more information on Eaton power distribution products or to chat about a PDU strategy for your datacentre, you’re welcome to get in touch with Craig Heidemann, Product Manager for Eaton at Tarsus Distribution HQ.