PDU Maintenance & Repair
There are many important components of a successful data center. But, without power, none of them will matter much. Power distribution in a data center is one of the most important things any data center manager should be monitoring to ensure that there is always a steady and reliable stream of power that facilitates maximal uptime. Every data has a power distribution unit, also known as a PDU, that tells power where it needs to go, when it needs to go, and what amount needs to go. Needless to say, it is incredibly important and it is for that reason that proper PDU maintenance is essential for any data center.
For optimal data center security and efficiency, a reliable PDU subsystem is critical. There is, of course, no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to implementing the ‘perfect’ PDU for a data center. This is because every data center is unique and the optimal PDU system will depend on your location, your facility size, your infrastructure, and more.
If your facility does not yet have a consistent PDU maintenance and repair schedule, it is likely your PDU has been neglected. And, that is the best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is that you find out your PDU is in disrepair when it is already too late and a power failure occurs.
Data Center PDU Maintenance & Repair Best Practices
There are many components of a PDU so it is important to understand your PDU well for proper maintenance to be effectively carried out. TestGuy further elaborates on this point, “PDU’s typically consist of a main input circuit breaker, an isolation output transformer, a monitoring/operation control panel, an integrated communication server, and a subfeed breaker system. The unit provides power distribution, voltage transformation, metering, status monitoring, and load profiling housed in a single, free-standing cabinet…Periodic inspections of the PDU should be made to determine if components, wiring, and connections exhibit evidence of overheating. Particular attention should be given to bolted connections to ensure efficient current paths…System function tests prove the correct interaction of all sensing, processing, and action devices. Consult the manufacturers literature for the specific device under test for the correct operational checks procedure.”
Preventive PDU maintenance inspections and repair should be consistently scheduled, well-documented, and should meet or exceed manufacturer specifications to be thorough. Maintenance is ideally completed by a specialist that is qualified and capable of not only maintenance but also identifying what potential repairs or replacements may be necessary. This is vitally important because it is often less expensive to replace things that are still functional but show signs they could fail any time than to wait and risk downtime which could be exponentially more expensive.
Essential Elements of Effective Data Center PDU Maintenance & Repair
Manufacturer maintenance specifications should serve as a baseline benchmark to meet. Truly effective PDU maintenance often requires more than meeting minimum requirements. Manufacturer recommendations are based on having tested their components in optimal conditions at all times which, as we know, is impossible to maintain in a real data center setting. PDU maintenance must be adjusted to account for your data center environment and the conditions of PDU use.
A complete data center PDU maintenance inspection should include a visual inspection of all components (we mean all, including all hardware, switches, disconnects, bulbs, circuit breakers, displays, etc.) as well as cleaning off any dust. Dust gathers on equipment and diminishes its energy efficiency so keeping your PDU clean and dust-free is very important. Your PDUs experience a myriad of factors that may cause disturbances or simply create environments that are not ideal for operation. Humidity, temperature extremes, vibration, or and other things may jeopardize the electrical components in your data center PDU.
To properly, and more importantly, safely clean your PDU, you must de-energize electrical equipment because the power should be off before you begin. And, when you are finished and ready to turn electrical power back on, make sure all equipment is dry because the last thing you want to do is turn the power back on to electrical equipment when it is wet.
Additionally, you should look for any missing components or components that look a little ‘worse for the wear’ to determine if replacement or repair is necessary. Also, it is a good idea to check all monitoring, alarm, and operational components to see if they need calibration and to verify that they will continue to work properly.
The Advantage of Using Professional PDU Maintenance & Repair Service
Additionally, there are more complex tests that should be run and that is where an experienced professional comes in because they will do things like infrared scanning of internal connection, verify proper circuit loading, and check the system for optimal load balancing between phases. This is important because these are common failure points for data center PDUs. It is also a good idea to inspect and test your grounding system because it is an essential safety component of your data center operations.
Don’t Forget to Document Your PDU Maintenance & Repair
A PDU maintenance schedule should be consistent and it should be documented well. Documentation shows what testing was last completed to help guide what may need to be done next time. It also takes extensive notes and even photos or videos of things so that proper preventive maintenance can take place or so that a need for replacement or repair can be determined.
When you have consistent maintenance procedures and they are well-documented, it is much easier to prevent things from falling through the cracks or being overlooked until there is a power failure and it is too late. Further, good documentation helps ensure that whoever comes to perform maintenance next is able to do so in a consistent manner according to the needs of your unique data center. With professional data center PDU maintenance, you will be able to rest assured that your system inspections are performed to rigid parameters and the highest of quality that meets and exceeds manufacturer specifications.