Intelligent Rack PDUs: The hidden answer to more resilient edge computing sites

The global edge computing market size will exceed $68 billion USD by 2028, according to Grand View Research. That number represents a 38% compound annual growth rate from 2021. Although edge computing sites are much smaller than traditional data centers, the criticality of many of these remote sites remains quite high. For example, consider retail stores that must keep Point of Sale (POS) systems online or warehouses that need edge systems supporting physical infrastructure ― such as rack PDUs (power distribution units) ― to secure uptime and keep the supply chain moving. So much key data is created at the edge, and IT professionals need a cost-effective strategy for managing and supporting these important distributed IT spaces.

To keep edge computing environments up and running, a business must maintain a network infrastructure that includes power protection and distribution, cooling, rack enclosures, software including remote management capability, edge intelligence, local data processing, and services. These components of the network’s critical infrastructure are the foundation of availability.

Edge environments can be particularly challenging to manage because many edge computing sites don’t have dedicated on-site IT support staff. Space constraints also pose a significant issue. Therefore, efficiency in both power and data cable management within racks can emerge as a critical success factor. In addition, when edge systems are left in a disorganized, chaotic state, the risk of human error-driven downtime increases significantly.

How intelligent power distribution units (PDUs) support edge computing

Solutions that minimize downtime and maximize human efficiencies are critical to success in distributed IT because user expectations for edge technology are the same as they are for traditional on-premise data centers. But it’s much more difficult to manage multiple small, distributed sites. That’s why it’s important for edge deployments to be highly resilient and remotely manageable.

One such solution is the new generation of intelligent rack power distribution units (PDUs). Rack PDUs provide power to servers, storage, networking equipment, and other devices residing within racks. Intelligent rack PDUs have built-in power load monitoring and enable remote reboot of equipment if required. In edge environments, the rack PDUs, if equipped with the proper sensors, can also monitor temperature and humidity levels in the front and back of the rack. If temperatures exceed the user-specified threshold, then alarms are generated so quick adjustments can be made to maintain uptime. In addition, the new advanced PDUs also allow for additional sensors to be connected that can enable all sorts of extra monitoring, such as water leak detection or the generation of alarms when an enclosure door is unexpectedly opened.

Benefits include space management, uptime, and flexibility

The newest generations of rack PDUs, like the NetShelter™ Rack PDU Advanced, offer IT professionals advantages specifically designed for edge networking and computing. These benefits include:

More outlet flexibility

A four-in-one combination outlet works with 4 different plug types: C14/C16/C20/C22. That means it accommodates more equipment types than usual, and allows much more flexibility when random, spontaneous IT equipment changes occur. The combination outlet also greatly reduces the risk of discovering that the equipment plugs don’t match the available outlets during rack equipment installation. The flexible outlets also make it easier to support PDU standardization across multiple regions and sites. This design saves administrators and installers time when completing their deployment, stocking, and management tasks.

More outlets

As more servers populate taller racks, it becomes more likely that the devices in the rack will exceed the outlet capacity of most traditional PDUs. The new generation PDU units support up to 48 outlets − twice as many as normal, assuring that all devices in the new, taller racks have access to power.

Higher power

To accommodate ever higher rack density deployments, the advanced PDUs provide up to 50% more power (now up to 35kW) to ensure support for growing edge environments. The higher power capacity units also minimize the number of PDUs that need to be installed in each rack, which helps to free up valuable rack space.

Higher resilience

The new PDUs can also be equipped with up to 8 optional sensors that relay important real-time information surrounding rack temperature, humidity, and security status. The Network Management Card (NMC) can also be replaced without having to power down the PDU or connected devices. This lowers the risk of downtime in the event of a power system anomaly. In addition, because of the unique NMC power sharing ability, rack PDUs can be linked together via the two ethernet ports, which will allow the NMC to continue functioning in the event of an AC power loss to a given PDU. In this way, network communication is uninterrupted, attached sensors still operate, and alarm traps remain available. Combined, such tools increase rack resilience.

Configuration flexibility

In the United States, NetShelter Rack PDU Advanced units are available as configure-to-order components via simple and quick local factory configurations, ideal for the massive diversity that characterizes today’s edge computing environments. Whether edge systems are installed in retail stores, factory floors, antiquated network closets, oil platforms, or other remote locales, a rack PDU can now be configured to accommodate the IT deployment need. In this way, unique requirements, such as longer power cords or a different colored chassis, for example, can be easily addressed.

Explore the new generation of PDUs

To learn more about how next-generation advanced PDUs can help IT professionals increase the uptime and resilience of edge computing sites, visit our NetShelter™ Rack PDU Advanced webpage.