1. First things first. What is a PDU?

A power distribution unit (PDU) distributes reliable network power to multiple devices. It does not generate or condition power, but delivers AC power from an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), a generator, or utility power source to servers, networking hardware, telecom equipment, and other devices.

2. What does a PDU do?

In its most basic form, a PDU does the same job as a power strip. It uses current from a single source, usually a wall outlet, to power multiple devices, such as computers, peripherals, and networking gear. PDUs are designed for installation in equipment racks, keeping power within reach of rack mounted devices such as servers, switches, routers, or cooling fans.

3. Does it do anything else?

Beyond standard power distribution, PDUs are for in-depth power management and monitoring. Below are eight of the most common PDU types available on the market.

4. Do PDUs provide surge protection?

Rack surge protectors distribute power from a single source to multiple devices but are not strictly PDUs. They are designed for use with equipment that needs to be guarded against voltage spikes and surges but does not require battery backup. Because the primary feature of these units is protection against over voltages, they are considered surge protectors and not PDUs.

5. Which type of PDU is right for me?

To find the right model for your needs, ask yourself the following six questions.
1. Where will I install it?
2. What kind of input power do I have?
3. How much power does my equipment need?
4. How many outlets do my devices need?
5. What kinds of plugs do my devices have?
6. Do I need other features?

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