Power quality has always been an issue – possibly, the big issue – in the data center. Voltage anomalies and harmonic currents can cause all manner of havoc, and data center operators therefore invest accordingly to ensure a reliable and stable power supply.

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The rack PDU, therefore, is a critical element in any efficient, well-run data center server hall, but one that is often under-appreciated.

Jason Chantelau is product manager at Legrand’s Data, Power, and Control Division and has more than 25 years of experience in the sector. He sees the need for many data center operators to upgrade to intelligent PDU firmware and metering in order to better manage power quality in real-time.

“Many organizations today are missing the value of having intelligent PDU metering solutions for monitoring and addressing their power quality issues, specifically, at the rack [because] monitoring power quality events in real-time at the rack is the only way to understand power quality within your facility,” Chantelau told DCD’s Stephen Worn in a recent DCD>Talks interview.

“A power quality meter should include features like capturing and viewing waveforms. Maybe it’s detecting disturbances with short-term under- and over-voltages, or maybe even measuring things like harmonic power flow?”

Of course, they also ought to have alarm and notification features built-in as standard so that when measurements contravene pre-set tolerance ranges, data center staff can be alerted in order to remediate accordingly.

“I think it's also important to highlight that the latest generation of our energy metering circuitry can measure the total energy consumption on the AC inlet level at 0.5 percent accuracy. What does that mean to the customer? That means our new architecture allows us to produce one of the most energy-efficient intelligent rack PDUs on the market today,” says Chantelau.

When Legrand is designing and developing its technologies, he adds, it is really thinking about people, tools, and processes; the challenges they entail, and how the products Legrand produces can help data center operators overcome them.

“The first one I'd like to highlight is a new feature with our newest generation – circuit breaker trip forensics. I bring this up because it’s a pain point for our customers. When they have to identify a device that tripped a breaker, it can be time-consuming to recover that process.

“So with our PX4 and PRO4X, for example, with its enhanced circuit breaker trip forensics capability, it will automatically identify the outlet and therefore the device that caused that trip. That’s going to save our customers a tremendous amount of time and allow them to resolve those issues faster,” says Chantelau.

After all, a major part of data center engineers’ performance comes down to the time taken to troubleshoot issues as they arise, and anything that can slash that time to zero – more or less – will both cut costs and improve uptime.

Click here to listen-in to the full DCD>Talks interview with Jason Chantelau.