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Five ideas to monitor Rack Electrical Power Useage

14 Oct 2015

Five ideas for monitoring power in Server Cabinets

The vast majority of Server Cabinets use standard Power Distribution Units or Power Strips to provide multiple outlets which supply the various items of equipment housed in the 19” rack. For a number of reasons there are increasing benefits to knowing the power consumption of the items in the rack whether it be to investigate the possibility of improved efficiency or charging tenants etc.

There are a number of ways that power monitoring can be achieved each with its own benefits or disadvantages and this blog+ provides an outline of some of them.

     1. Intelligent Power Distribution Units

IP PDU’s are an obvious choice. They replace the standard PDU’s and can provide a comprehensive range of benefits. They are identical to the standard PDU’s in terms of input and output options but can offer the following:

  • Monitoring of the total power leaving the PDU.
  • Monitoring of individual outlet sockets - useful to detect any item of equipment drawing more current due to impending failure.
  • Remote switching of output sockets – useful if a server “hangs” and needs rebooting or if equipment can be shut down to save power.
  • Any combination of the above
  • Environmental Monitoring facility

A disadvantage is that the existing PDUs probably have to be scrapped.

      2. In Line Power Monitors

In Line Power Monitors are interposed between the Standard PDU and the power supply. (The In Line Monitor is plugged into the power supply and the standard PDU is plugged into the In Line Monitor).

This is an easy way of monitoring the total power used while retaining the existing PDUs. Although it cannot record individual device power usage it can offer an environmental monitoring facility.     

         3. Individual device in line power monitors

These monitors are installed on the output of the standard PDUs. Each output from the standard PDU is plugged into an input channel on the power monitor and the equipment being supplied is connected to the channel output. This kind of power monitor usually has a maximum of four channels but up to four power monitors can be connected to monitor up to 16 devices.

      4. Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS)

ATS can also be provided with Power monitoring capability. Although they also only record total power into the PDU the also provide dual power capability to equipment with only a single power lead.

All of the devices above include an environmental monitoring facility which can be fitted to any combination of the following devices up to a maximum of 8 units. Sensors available include Temperature/Humidity, Infrared motion detectors, Door Closed monitors, Smoke Detectors and Water/flood detectors     

     5. Portable Power monitoring equipment.

Finally, if constant monitoring is not required, portable power monitoring equipment is available which can be used, without interruption to the electrical supply. Current is measured using “clamp on” transducers and one power monitoring kit can be used on all the racks in a facility so is occasionally the most economical choice.

Those are my 5 ideas of items we can offer – has anyone any different solutions?


An In Line Monitor

An In Line Monitor

A portable power monitoring Kit

A portable power monitoring Kit

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