What is our primary use case?
We use the PDUs in our data centers for our critical production service systems. These five servers are servers that we need running 24/7.
I was looking for a PDU vendor. I've been on the search for the PDU vendor since our existing PDU vendor, we were having some technical issues with. It was fortuitous that I discovered Eaton at a trade show, I saw their PDUs and I talked with them. They were friendly, and we got in contact. They came to our office to visit us and introduced themselves. They are straightforward, professional, and pleasant.
They knew that we are not the largest customer. We only have several dozen cabinets. However, they said they wanted to treat me just like their large customers. They've done so. These PDUs that they've made for us are custom PDUs to fit our specifications. They addressed specific technical issues that we had with a prior PDU vendor.
With another PDU vendor, we had problems with the controller malfunctioning and individual outputs were switching off. This meant that some of our servers were losing power randomly and uncontrollably. It's a small issue but I asked Eaton, "Please, when you make these PDUs, make sure we get the ones without switchable outlets. We want ones where the outlets are directly permanently attached to the busbars." They made sure of that.
In working with Eaton, we came across another issue that they were very responsive to that was the mounting of the PDUs into our server cabinets. We had an issue mounting the Eaton PDUs into a competitor's server cabinets. It was an alignment issue and our Eaton representative came out personally, made measurements, and we discussed in detail exactly what needs to be done from an engineering standpoint to make the PDUs fit perfectly in these competing company's cabinets.
He put me in touch with their engineering design manager. We cleared up the issue, and they also sent us additional mounting hardware to make sure that these PDUs would fit perfectly in our cabinets. They were very attentive through this process, very detail-oriented, and very solution-focused. These are seemingly small things, the mounting of the PDU in the cabinet and the electrical outlets, but they're not flashy things. They're not very interesting things, but these are the most crucial things because this is everyday operations. We need the dependability to make sure that our operations continue running successfully.
We don't need the flashy things, extra features that don't contribute to the basic things. They took care very carefully and very responsively to make sure that these are addressed. I feel secure that this is one less thing that I have to worry about.
How has it helped my organization?
The PDUs are recent. Where I've replaced these PDUs, we don't have the random power outages and in these cabinets with the Eaton PDUs, the cabinets are that much more organized, and we have more outlets in the cabinets.
Replacing PDUs with Eaton's solutions prevented downtime for our servers.
The high density of outlets allows us to increase server density per cabinet but I wouldn't call it saving space.
In terms of time, I would say that it saved us from addressing specific electrical outages that were occurring before. We solved the problem and don't dedicate time solving power issues.
What is most valuable?
What's most valuable about this is that Eaton built for us the exact model that I needed. We went through the customization options, everything from the cable length and electrical specifications to the color of the PDU. It showed different color PDUs to keep my company's data center that much more organized.
For me, it's about the basic, stable, dependable, reliable operation, not the flashy features.
The PDUs' color chassis options are a benefit. We use different color PDUs in our data center to mark the primary and redundant side of the electrical circuits, and we also use matching-colored electrical cables going between PDUs and the servers in our equipment. So, because we use remote hands to perform a great deal of our data center work, the color-coding matching makes it that much clearer for whoever's working in the cabinet. It's cleaner and it's more organized.
If we do have a technical issue that requires us to trace down or replug cables, which in a data center it's not like plugging something in your home. We need to pay attention to the power balance, all the electrical phases, and the load across all the cabinets. We need to take care. We need to be very careful about what is being plugged into where. Otherwise, we suffer a power failure and server outage. That makes our job that much easier.
Eaton's PDUs provide more outlets than any other PDUs. It was significantly important when making our decision to go with Eaton.
What needs improvement?
In engineering, especially for something specific like this particular sort of product, it's complete not when there's nothing left to add, but when there's nothing left to take away. I use the Eaton PDUs because they're simple, reliable engineering. They're not adding all these other excessive features that could cause problems. That's all I ask of a power solution like this.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using Eaton for less than one year.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Right now, we have six Eaton PDUs. I would estimate that we are using these PDUs for about 100 servers right now. There is the option for the custom outlet configuration which I've already availed myself of and I will continue to do so.
I'm on a team of about 12 people who work in this center and address our data center. I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of our data center. Our team is called the Infrastructure Team, so we deal with the data center, networking, servers, network connections, and these kind of fundamental platform needs for the company.
How are customer service and technical support?
I could not ask for better support. Their post-customer support is most attentive to our specific needs, and they did not let our case drop.
Their service and their post-sale support have been so excellent and so personable that there's no way I could ask for any better.
Because of their post-sale support, I will continue to use Eaton.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was slightly complicated due to the mounting incompatibility with the competitor's server cabinets.
Eaton was very positively responsive in addressing that and making sure that, number one, I had a temporary solution to make it fit that they sent overnight immediately some brackets to make it fit, to mount perfectly. It was perfectly aligned in the cabinet, and then after that when they put me in touch with their engineering manager, we discussed exactly what design changes could be made to the PDUs in order to not require the brackets, the temporary solution in the future. They actually took my suggestions as a product design change in order to accommodate us and other customers in the future, which is excellent customer support. That's the reason I say I could not ask for better.
It has enabled us to configure as many outlets as we want in a length that fits our specific rack size. I chose the exact outlet configuration that I needed for the rack space. We can make use of all the rack space. Before, we were running out of outlets with the competitor's PDU.
The custom cord entry position and custom input cord length affect box-to-rack transition by making the cable organization in the cabinet cleaner because I use the shortest possible cord length from the PDU to the receptacle because I do not want excessive cables laying about. I chose the correct alignment. I don't remember if it was front or side but in order to facilitate the correct mounting of the PDU in the cabinet.
It is easy to configure the solution post-install. There's barely anything to configure. I started plugging in our servers and I used the snap lock to retain the server cords. I figured out as far as the controller menu, the LCD interface, I did not even look at the menu. I just tried the buttons on it and it was easy to figure out.
Once we got past the specific mounting issues it was less than a half-hour per cabinet to replace the PDUs.
What was our ROI?
We have seen ROI. We don't have the random power outage issues. That peace of mind is worth the price.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I don't know that we use their service or part replacement plan. I asked them about the warranty upfront before we purchased it and they made it clear that if there are any issues with the hardware, they would take care of it. They left me feeling confident about that.
I value quality above price. PDUs are not something that you should try to cut corners on.
What other advice do I have?
We do not use Eaton's remote monitoring at the moment. We intend to set metered outlets up, but we have not set it up yet.
My advice would be to keep it simple and don't be afraid to try something new if you haven't before.
The people at Eaton treated me very fairly. They were very straight and professional in addressing my needs. They were very attentive and it was that kind of service and attention which made me certain that they have the right attitudes backing the product, the design, and manufacture of the product itself. It's not just about the PDUs but the people behind it. They have the right attitudes.
I would rate Eaton PDUs a ten out of ten.