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I am thinking about getting new PDUs for my racks. I would like ones that are:

  • Metered (Maybe remote monitored)
  • Vertical
  • Meet my power requirements (Voltage and amperage)
  • Right number of outlets (~20)

What else, if anything, should I think about when buying PDU's?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

You hit the big ones.

I'd add to your list:

  • Include temperature/humidity monitoring (Especially if you're managing the datacenter)
  • Multi-Branch
    • Multi-Infeed if you want to power every rack off more than 1 breaker/more than 1 UPS system
  • Remote-Managed (switchable outlets)

For what it's worth we used ServerTech's "Sentry SMART CDU" line at my last company. They cover all of the above items at varying price points. I'm pretty sure APC and others have equivalent hardware though.

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I like PDUs that allow you to remotely power on/off individual outlets as needed.

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+1: remote control for the PDU's has saved me many late night trips back to the office. – Zypher Feb 1 '10 at 16:08

Units that allow you to use some form of restraint to prevent plugs being inadvertently unplugged. How practical that is will depend somewhat on the style of plugs used in your part of the world.

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Ooh yes! Forgot this! You'll absolutely DESPISE the little clips that hold your power cords in when you have to do work on a server, but it's totally worth it to not have someone accidentally take down something critical because they bumped the plugs. – voretaq7 Feb 2 '10 at 17:32

If the PDUs can be remotely managed and whether you have to manage each separately or if they can be managed under a single IP/interface.

What kind of remote management is offered (web interface, ssh, snmp).

Whether the metering is for the PDU as a whole or if it can do per outlet metering. From experience, APC PDUs only show total load and not per-outlet load.

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Only think I can add is make sure that the cables are long enough (if your plugs aren't well placed).

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I realise you're in the US, so I don't know if this makes any difference for you, but in Australia our 15-amp sockets have a much wider earth plug (so you can't jam them into a 10-amp socket by mistake).

So if you require 15-amp outlets, don't waste your money on a 10-amp PDU (speaking from experience).

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Actually this is a good point: PDUs can be found with different socket types (in the US it's usually NEMA/5-15 or C13 style sockets). I believe it's usually 200-volt (208/220/240) that have the C13 sockets. It helps to buy ones that match the cables you have unless you intend to re-buy length-sized cables :) – voretaq7 Feb 2 '10 at 5:40

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