Expert Blog: Powering the Big Data Crunch

Kelvion New Plate Heat Exchanger

Sandi RendenAuthor: Sandi Renden Director of Marketing at Server Technology, a brand of Legrand

The rise of big data and the proliferation of vastly differing applications to mine the data are dramatically changing the power distribution unit (PDU) landscape. It is defining how server racks are configured.

High-Performance Computing (HPC) continues to evolve and diversify to better match specific compute problems. Server racks must also evolve and be configured with denser outlets that offer alternate phase such as (WP/Flyer), longer sustainability for the dynamic rack configurations, and perhaps most importantly – the ability to quickly get your hands on the right rack mount PDU when the new server rack configuration is determined.

Aligned like rows of dominos, the data center core is comprised of server racks that are erected in neat rows, with seemingly endless configurations that scale to meet computing needs. IT staff is constantly adjusting thousands of nodes and cables as well as plotting the watts, threads and per RU to support the highest compute density in the most economical manner. However, like a malfunctioning traffic light, these racks are always changing and if the inventory and provisioning are not properly managed -accidents will happen.

But, the secrets of a well-constructed server rack are not as elusive as one may think. Server module capacities are fixed – so that’s easy; multi or granular blade I/O configurations need to be contended with; redundant power grid capabilities are always a good thought; hot-swappable power supplies and core types Opteron, Intel, SPARC and SNMP, SSH or CLI management are all aligned like those white dots on the domino. These are among the first calculations undertaken by IT staff, but if an intelligent PDU is not also considered – the compute ability will tumble like tiles at the Universal Domino League show.

Intelligent PDUs

Server TechnologyPDUs should not be the afterthought of server-rack configurations. No longer are these basic PDUs, rather, these power units have evolved to become smart PDUs with anywhere from 12 to 42 outlets (48 outlets if switched PDU). Today’s HPC environments require an alternating-phase, build-your-own, rack-mount PDU option that has the same rich-feature sets as the ‘bragging rights’ allocated to server rack assemblies.

Rack-mounted PDUs now have as many options as the punch-list items contended with when assembling the server rack. PDUs can be configured with everything from individual outlet control, temperature and humidity monitoring, input current monitoring, branch circuit protection, and more. If the rack is completely assembled and it’s discovered that the current PDU is no longer capable of powering the HPC obelisk erected, the perfect PDU power solution for your needs can be quickly configured online and delivered in days. Configurable PDUs such as the HDOT Cx, have 2-in-1 outlets that can work as both a C13 or a C19 outlet and have the ability to adapt to different rack configurations – enabling one PDU to support many changing rack configurations.

Each component of the power chain, from the building entrance to the rack power distribution, is crucial to enabling equipment availability. Today’s rack-mounted PDUs pack more density, flexibility, and intelligence to effectively deliver the required HPC power while also rendering the visibility into rack-power environmental conditions so the entire compute chain does not – unlike entertaining domino competitions – fall over and ruin your day.

About Sandi Terry Renden and Server Technology (Legrand)

Sandi Terry Renden is Director of Marketing at Server Technology, a brand of Legrand in the Datacenter Power and Control Division. According to Server Technology, Sandi is a passionate leader and creative visionary, with over 25 years of management, digital marketing and sales execution experience, with a proven track record of success recruiting and retaining talent, hitting sales targets and developing multi-channel digital marketing and branding campaigns for non-profit and profit organizations in both B2B and B2C. She has international working and cultural (residency) experience on three continents (Americas, Asia, and Europe.) Sandi has earned a BA in Marketing from the University of Utah and an MBA in Marketing.