Americas data centers deploying more 400 Vac PDUs for increased efficiency

A new report from IHS says 400 Vac power distribution units now account for 8 percent of three-phase, transformer-based PDUs deployed in North America.

While 400Vac three-phase, transformer-based power distribution units still represent a small (8%) slice of the pie in the Americas, that slice is growing according to the most recent data available from IHS.
While 400Vac three-phase, transformer-based power distribution units still represent a small (8%) slice of the pie in the Americas, that slice is growing according to the most recent data available from IHS.

The IHS study Data Center Power Distribution Report—2015 concludes that 8 percent of three-phase, transformer-based power distribution units (PDUs) sold into the Americas last year had a distribution voltage of 400 VAC and accounted for $13.9 million of the $155.1 million Americas PDU market. According to IHS, the new report “quantifies the market for transformer-based PDU, remote power panels (RPP), static transfer switches, branch circuit monitoring, and overhead busway. In this edition, the PDU and RPP categories are segmented by distribution voltage in order to enable IHS to track the trend of 400 VAC power architecture in American data centers.”

The research organization further states that although the majority of PDUs sold into the Americas are still 480 VAC, accounting for $129.8 million in 2014, the adoption of 400 VAC is growing. “This new data on transformer-based PDU distribution voltage further supports data from the Rack Power Distribution Units Reports—2015, published earlier this year,” IHS said. “In that report, IHS found that 400 VAC rack PDUs accounted for roughly 6 percent of the $418 million market. Insights from suppliers of data center power distribution equipment reveal that this shift is currently occurring in new data center builds in North America.”

IHS digs into the technical nature of the 400/480 VAC options by explaining: “Typically, the power architecture used in a data center depends on the standard voltage of the country in which the data center resides. In North America, parts of Central and South America, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, transformer-based PDUs are typically 480 VAC. The transformer steps down the voltage, and power is delivered to the IT racks at 208/120 VAC. In contrast, much of the rest of the world distributes power through the data center at 400/230 VAC or 415/240 VAC. Data centers in North America have begun adopting adopting 400 VAC architectures because it requires reduced electrical drops, can lead to electrical and infrastructure savings, and contributes to overall increases in efficiency.”

The organization explains that this shift has significant implications for the data center power distribution hardware market, particularly including transformer-based PDUs. “Depending on the power path in the data center, using 400 VAC architecture could result in either a PDU with a smaller transformer, or the removal of the PDU altogether if the power is to be transformed elsewhere in the power path, like an upstream transformer or at the UPS,” IHS said. “Thus, further adoption of 400 VAC could dampen PDU revenue growth, unit growth, or both. However, it could bolster sales of RPPs, which serve the same purpose of distributing power but lack the transformer.”

You can find more information on the new report here.

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