Data Center Power Infrastructure

Greater computing power means
greater power requirements

Greater computing power means greater power requirements

Floor Mounted PDU Floor Mounted PDU

Powering Your Data Center

When a single processor pulls over 400 Watts, and you have multiple processors in a node, multiple nodes in an enclosure, multiple enclosures in a rack, and multiple racks in a mission-critical system, expertise in power utilization and distribution is a must. A wrong choice, a bad calculation, or a neglect of one of the many details can lead to system down time or worse – damage to equipment, or even personnel. It can also lead to waste, in time, money, and environmental resources. Understanding the power requirements for your data center is just as crucial to your system’s operation as having enough compute and storage.

Gone are the days where a few single phase 120V PDUs would do the trick in every rack. We are now using 208V three-phase PDUs in most racks, and in some cases 480V 3-phase PDUs.

The engineers at Aspen Systems can ensure the optimum choices are made when choosing your HPC power or Data Center power solution. We will design and build a highly efficient, cost effective, green computing solution. Whether you need help from the ground up designing a power system for a massive top-500 supercomputer, or need a customized solution given known requirements for power, cooling, and space, our engineers can customize a power layout perfectly suited to your needs.

Power - APC Smart-UPS SRT 6000VA RM 230V
UPS units can save critical data and reduce downtime

It isn’t just PDUs that are required for power manangement. Remember that you will also need UPS units to protect your data and systems from power spikes, surges, brownouts, and blackouts.

Contact Aspen to find out which solution is best for your organization.

In partnership with

Rack Enclosures - APC Infrastructure Logo
Eaton Logo
Servertech logo

Floor Power Distribution Units (PDUs)

APC InfraStruxure Floor-mounted PDU 60kW
APC InfraStruxure PDU 60kW 480V/208V

Floor PDUs

Much like a computer’s power supply supplies power to that computer’s individual components, an out of rack floor-mounted PDU is designed to transform one or more power feeds into a number of lower capacity distributed feeds, such as in-rack PDUs. Often the size of a rack themselves, and sometimes taking up an entire room to power a large data center, these units send power out to a large number of equipment racks.

Do you need a floor PDU? There are a lot of things to consider that the team at Aspen Systems will guide you though, from determining the load required, to working with your facilities manager to determine the best options, to ensuring room for future growth. From the simple details that are sometimes overlooked, such as making sure there are enough outlets in a PDU to physically plug in all necessary equipment, to more nuanced issues like ensuring the environmental impact policies of your institution are met, we will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure the most appropriate solution.

APC Galazy VX 750kVA PDU
APC Galaxy VX 750kVA Floor-mounted PDU
400V, 3Phase In-Rack PDU from ServerTech
A Customized 400V, 3Phase In-Rack PDU from ServerTech

In-Rack PDUs

Modern clusters can require significant power. Each rack in your Aspen Systems cluster is normally equipped with rack mounted PDUs which provide power to one or more nodes. Each unit is an important part of phasing power to your servers. Normally, one or more PDUs are installed in the rear of the rack behind the node mounting infrastructure and do not impact the rack space available for mounting your other hardware. Aspen Systems can provide your cluster with switched PDUs. Cluster administrators can use these switched PDUs to remotely power off any system in the cluster. Metered PDUs are available as well, which administrators can poll for circuit status and load. Various APC metered vertical server rack PDUs pictured left.

Power - Various APC Metered Vertical Server Rack PDUs

In-Rack PDUs of various sizes
3-phase PDU in-rack
208V 3-phase Metered PDU at work Inside a rack

Growing demand for computing power and constraints on physical space have led to more densely packed rack enclosures. And as the number of rack-mounted servers, blade servers, network switches and routers has increased, so has the need for power in the rack.

These PDUs are usually connected directly to outlets on the wall, under your raised floor, or in your overhead rack infrastructure. They can also be connected to UPS units which are located in your Aspen Systems rack(s) or elsewhere.

Customized Solutions

Many data centers have specific requirements that can only be met through customized solutions. If you have a situation or configuration that requires a solution that can’t simply be picked up off the shelf, and are wondering if the team at Aspen Systems is capable of providing a customized solution based on your specific needs, the answer is yes, we can do that. Contact us via Email, call us at 1-800-992-9242,Phone, or through our live chat to find out more about your customization options.

Plug Types

One of the most common customer errors is to specify incorrect plug types for their cluster installation. National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) plugs and receptacles are commonly used in North America, and use designations such as “NEMA L6-30R” to identify receptacle and plug types. The “R” stands for receptacle, which is the receptacle you provide at your facility to plug your cluster into, while “P” stands for plug. Note, also, that IEC standards for naming conventions are slightly different. For instance, the IEC C13 is the female (receptacle) and the IEC C14 is the male (plug).

Various HPC Plug Types

You may need to consult with your electrical personnel at your facility to determine exactly what receptacles you have or can support. Speak with your Aspen Systems sales engineer if you need assistance about your options or what type of receptacles your current facility has.

Please see the full power connection reference provided by Hubbell Incorporated or contact an Aspen System’s Sales engineer by Email, Phone, (1-800-992-9242), or through our live chat to help you make sense of all of your options.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards

As your data center grows and your power requirements graduate to higher levels, you will find that you require more powerful hardware to meet your power, infrastructure, and environmental requirements. It is important to ensure that you are using the correct plugs and receptacles that can properly handle the kind of power a modern, robust data center demands.

The following table contains examples of some of the high-voltage, high-amp plugs and receptacles in the “pin and sleeve” style. IEC Standard naming conventions

 3-wire (P+N+E)4-wire (3P+E)5-wire (3P+N+E)
208V 208V 2-pole, 3-wire, single-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 250V 2-pole (3-wire) single-phase
208V 3-pole, 4-wire, single-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 250V 3-pole (4-wire), three-phase
208V 3-pole, 5-wire, single-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 250V 3-pole with neutral (5-wire), three-phase
480V 400V three-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 480V 2-pole (3-wire) single-phase
400V three-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 480V 3-pole (4-wire) 3-phase
400V three-phase power plug and receptacle
Up to 480V 3-pole with neutral (5-wire) 3-phase

IP (Ingress Protection) Ratings

IP Ratings for IEC plugs indicate how well-protected the connections are from dust and water. Having higher numbers means more protection.

For instance, an IP rating of IP-63 would be protected against dust particles, but only slightly against water.

1st DigitDust Protection 2nd DigitMoisture/Water Protection
0Non-protected 0Non-protected
1Protected against particles > 50mm 1Protected against dripping water
2Protected against particles > 12mm 2Protected against water when tilted 15°
3Protected against particles > 2.5mm 3Protected against spraying water
4Protected against particles > 1.0mm 4Protected against splashing water
5Dust-protected 5Protected against water jets
6Dust-tight 6Protected against heavy seas
  7Protected against some immersion
  8Protected against immersion

Please note that this is NOT an extensive list, but rather a small sample of the options you have available. Please contact the team at Aspen Systems BEFORE selecting your power hardware to ensure the correct components. We are available via Email, Phone, (1-800-992-9242), or through our live chat.

More Efficient Power Means Less Heat

Every Watt of Power used in your system will generate heat due to thermodynamic properties of the components that make up a system. No computer system, regardless of the scale, uses every joule of electricity at 100% efficiency. Some heat will inevitably be lost, and that escaping heat can damage your system if it is not controlled. Along with your power strategy, you also need to be concerned with the cooling strategy, as the two go hand-in-hand.

Aspen Systems has you covered in this regard, as well. Read about the various methods of Liquid Cooling to take control of the heat generated by your data center’s power consumption.