Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cheap PDUs are Cheap for a Reason



Cheap components, poor engineering design and the inconsistent inclusion of standard features are just some of the problems that leave data centre managers frustrated by low cost PDUs, with many paying a high price to fix easily avoidable errors.

The Enlogic team decided to investigate why this was happening and upon inspection of a range of the many low-cost PDUs currently on the market discovered that corners had clearly been cut both in the design and manufacturing of the units.  

What they found astonishing was the use of low-cost fuses, coupled with a poorly engineered design, which results in PDUs that provide unstable switching. Sometimes it switches, sometimes it doesn’t. Another common fault was that some of the features offered as standard in the PDUs were only partially implemented and others were missing all together.

A PDU represents the last line of defence before the data centre’s electrical power reaches the servers. Those servers are the lifeblood of a data centre, so it’s vital that they receive clean, reliable power at all times.

If a baker were to only select the cheapest value ingredients for his cakes he may well be able to sell them at low-cost, but they wouldn’t taste as nice and no one would buy them.  Selling budget cakes will ultimately fail to satisfy customers’ taste buds. Low-cost products can still be a waste of money if they don’t meet necessary standards. For a data centre to run smoothly it’s crucial that the right ingredients are sourced.

Of course everyone wants to feel like they are getting value for money, and in this economic climate it is more important than ever that vendors are able to offer their customers the best deals on technology for their data centres. However, price must not be the only deciding factor when choosing a PDU. It may be a small piece of equipment but it is by no means insignificant.

Saving a little money on one small component of an electrical distribution system, which has probably already cost a fortune, seems like a poor decision. It’s far more sensible, and potentially cost effective in the long-run, to select a reliable PDU, with engineering that can cope with the activity and pace of a thriving modern data centre.

So, when sourcing technology for a data centre the most important thing to remember is to truly understand what you’re paying for to ensure you’re investing the right budget in the right technology for your business.

This post was written by Mike Jansma, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Enlogic http://www.enlogic.com/

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