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Definition: power distribution unit

A device used in datacenters to distribute AC power to multiple servers and other equipment. Power distribution units (PDUs) range from simple 120v power strips to units that break out 120 volts from 240v and three-phase power. Advanced units are managed remotely via the SNMP management protocol or from a Web browser or other management console, causing outlets to be turned on and off at prescribed times and in a proper sequence for shutting down and powering up equipment. See power strip.

In the Rack
Most power distribution units (PDUs) are used to deliver power to rack-mounted equipment such as this basic 120v unit from APC. (Image courtesy of American Power Conversion Corporation.)

Wired to Go
This more advanced APC unit is connected to the network via the blue Ethernet cable so that outlets can be managed. (Image courtesy of American Power Conversion Corporation.)