Hi, I have a small network with 18 servers, 13 desktops, a couple of laptops, media streaming devices, iphones etc... I also have a dozen or so outside the home users connected via a point to multipoint system 24x7. My question is this: I have been running my network without a hitch for almost a year now with run of the mill outlet strips on my racks. I have 6 dedicated 20 amp 120v outlets with their own homeruns back to my main service entrance and I have never seen them run above 11 amps on each circuit. I have a max of 4 strips per circuit and I was told that I should invest in PDU units. So whats the dif, and with my currant setup, do I really need to pay such outrageous prices for something that at the moment I am getting along just fine without? What are the pros and cons to both if there is any difference?

2 things:

  • power failures
  • power surges

These things are totally unforseeable. The only way to deal with power failures is with a good UPS. They are often accompanied with power surges. Only a good surge suppressor can deal with those. Also, when there are power surges due to lightning and such, then you also need to be sure your network/internet/modem connections are also protected. What is the cost if you don't? Total loss of data and system functionality. You might go for 3-4 years without any incidents, but when it happens, either you are protected, or you are toast!

FWIW, good UPS systems will also provide good surge protection, but you need to also protect your external internet (cable/dsl/modem) connections. Laptops have built-in power failure protection (their batteries), but when plugged into system main power, then you also need some external surge protection (a power strip with surge protection is usually adequate). For your desktop/side/underside workstations and servers? A good UPS is money well-spend, in my opinion.

One aphorism comes to mind with this - hope for the best, but plan for the worst!

This is of course my main concern in texas, power surges can be lethal! I have in line ligtning arresters for my network going out to my point to multipoint tower. I have a surge protector for my incoming cable connection for my 2 cable modems and the company that put in my fibre optic put a surge guard on that incoming line and they guarenteed it. I do have UPS systems on all my desktops and am looking into a 220v UPS for each rack, but the UPS is not the issue, what I am looking for is an answer to the question after the ups is installed, why would I use PDU's at $200 a piece from there instead of just using the power strips I have now. The way the consultant made it sound, it was something Very important. Said consultant is also the person I am going through to get the afore mentioned UPS's for my racks. Is this guy blowing smoke or are the PDU's really that much better? Is he just trying to get me to spend more money for nothing?

To quote someone, it all depends! Some UPS systems are inherently good surge suppressors. Others are not. In any case, do remember that surge suppressors (power strips with surge protection usually) use a device called a MOV Varistor - they have a limited lifespan. After so much time (# and significance of surges), they degrade to uselessness. This is your normal consumer device. Replace them once a year. There are other technologies that don't degrade over time, but they are more expensive (thyristors, etc). My guess is that your consultant's PDU is more likely a thyristor type of device, hence more reliable. Ask him to explain! :-)

Thank You very much for the information, I will check the model numbers for the units he is trying to sell me to determine the type of surge protection it offers.

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