How to select different types of PDUs in the data center?


Power distribution units (PDUs) are essential in data centers as they distribute power to IT equipment and prevent power overload. Selecting the right type of PDU for your data center can be challenging. This article will provide guidance on how to select different types of PDUs in the data center.


1. Understanding the Load Requirement

The first step in selecting a PDU is understanding the load requirement of the IT equipment in your data center. This can be determined by calculating the power consumption of each device and aggregating the figures. Doing this is critical for providing the amount of power needed to power your applications and equipment efficiently.

Technically, the current rating of the PDU should exceed the load requirement by at least 20% to prevent overloading and to provide room for expansion. Therefore, when thinking about which PDU to choose, you need to consider the power needs of the load.


2. Types of PDUs

PDUs come in different shapes, sizes, and types. Therefore, when choosing a PDU, it’s essential to understand the various types of PDUs and their features. Here are the types of PDUs:

a. Basic PDU

Basic PDUs are the most cost-effective and standard type of PDUs. They deliver power to the server, network, or storage equipment and offer a source of power distribution to the rack. Basic PDUs come with standard features such as input cords, LED status display, circuit breakers, and outlet receptacles.

b. Metered PDU

Metered PDUs provide real-time power usage information to users. They can monitor the energy consumption of each device, giving an accurate view of how much power is consumed. This information is valuable for data center managers because they can efficiently manage energy usage and reduce data center costs. Metered PDUs come with input cords, LED status display, circuit breakers, outlet receptacles, and a meter.

c. Switched PDU

Switched PDUs offer remote outlet control to minimize the risk of power overload. Switched PDUs allow a data center manager to control the power supply of individual pieces of equipment or groups of IT equipment remotely. This feature enables data center managers to reboot frozen servers or other IT equipment without interrupting the device. Switched PDUs come with input cords, LED status display, circuit breakers, outlet receptacles, switch, and software.

d. Intelligent PDU

Intelligent PDUs provide remote monitoring and control over power usage. They allow data center managers to manage power usage effectively and switch off/on servers remotely. Intelligent PDUs come with input cords, LED status display, circuit breakers, outlet receptacles, switch and offer SNMP/Ethernet or Modbus capability.


3. Voltage

PDUs come with various voltage options. Therefore, choosing the correct voltage level for your data center equipment is essential. The voltage requirement will depend on the location where the data center is set up and the level of equipment being powered. For example, in the United States, the standard voltage is 120V; in Europe, the standard voltage is 220V. It’s critical to ensure that the voltage provided by the PDU matches the voltage of the data center equipment.


4. Outlets

PDUs come in different outlet configurations, and it’s essential to select the right outlet configuration based on your data center equipment and the required load. There are mainly two types of outlets – IEC and NEMA.

a. IEC Outlets: IEC outlets are commonly found in Europe and other countries that use 220V or similar power sources.

b. NEMA Outlets: NEMA outlets are mostly used in the United States and other countries that use a standard 110V power source.


5. Rack size

PDUs come in different sizes, and it’s essential to select the right size for your data center rack. They come in various lengths, such as 1U, 2U, 3U, etc. Different sized PDUs have different outlet capacities, and choosing a PDU with a lower outlet count than needed can hinder growth. Therefore, you should choose a PDU that will fit your cabinet size and provide enough power outlets to meet the power needs of the data center efficiently.


6. Power Cords

Power cords are essential parts of PDUs, and it’s essential to select the right power cords for your PDU. Different PDUs require a different inlet type of power cord. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the power cord you choose matches the inlet type of the PDU.


7. Budget

PDUs come in different prices, and the cost of each type varies based on the features it offers. It’s essential to keep the budget in mind while selecting the right PDU for your data center. Basic PDUs are the most cost-effective, while intelligent PDUs are the most expensive. Therefore, you need to weigh the features, performance, and cost of the various PDUs and select one that fits your data center’s budget.



The right PDU selection is an essential step in building a robust data center, as it ensures your IT equipment is running smoothly and efficiently. Factors such as load, types, voltage, outlets, rack size, power cords and budget must be considered when selecting a PDU. By understanding the above factors, you can make an informed decision on which PDU is ideal for your data center.


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