by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Eaton G3 Platform ePDU Review

Eaton's third-generation or G3 ePDUs are 0U, vertical mounted power distribution units. The ePDUs can have between 10 to 42 outlets, depending on the model. These PDUs enable administrators to monitor power usage of the entire PDU, individual outlets, or sections of outlets over a network. The metering or managed functions are built into the PDUs and Eaton offers software for monitoring. In our recently moved StorageReview Enterprise Test Lab we are using three Eaton G3 EMI104-10 metered-input ePDUs as well as a managed G3 EMA107-10 across multiple Eaton S-Series Racks.

Eaton recently announced the latest generation of their popular ePDU products. The third generation comes with a few new benefits.  One of the benefits is +/-1% billing grade accuracy monitoring which gives a pretty detailed look at how much energy specific outlets are using. This feature is beneficial to organizations that are looking for ways to reduce power consumption or needs more accurate Level 3 power usage effectiveness calculations. The new G3 ePDUs also feature a daisy-chain function that enables up to 4 ePDUs to share the same network connection and IP address, potentially cutting down on networking costs. The network modules are hot-swappable, if something goes wrong just pull it out and replace it. Another advantage of the latest generation of ePDUs is an integrated outlet locking mechanism. This makes it easier and more cost effective to secure power cables into position without requiring more expensive cables that competing solutions require. The G3 ePDUs are all 0U; meaning they mount on the inside rear of the rack and don’t take up valuable rack U space.

In our lab and for this review, we are using the G3 EMI104-10 and G3 EMA107-10 ePDUs. The EMI104-10 has a maximum draw of 5.76 kW, input and section power monitoring, 42 outlets and a list price of $800. The G3 EMA107-10 has the same maximum draw of 5.76kW, although it comes with input, section and outlet power monitoring, 24 outlets and has a list price of $1,319.

Eaton Metered Input G3 ePDU (EMI104-10) specifications:

  • Height: 38U-A
  • Mounting style: Vertical
  • Input Max kW: 5.76
  • Plug: NEMA L6-30P
  • Cable length: 10 ft
  • Voltage: 200-240v
  • Current: 24A
  • Current monitoring: Input, Section, +/- 1%
  • Phase: Single
  • Frequency: 50-60Hz
  • Output Outlets:
    • 36 IEC 60320 C13 Grip
    • 6 IEC 60320 C19 Grip
  • Circuit Breakers: 2 20A
  • Environmental Interface: Optional EMP001
  • Serial Interface: RS232
  • Ethernet Interface: 10/100 Ethernet
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 66.5 x 2.05 x 2.1 in

Eaton Managed G3 ePDU (EMA107-10) specifications:

  • Height: 38U-A
  • Mounting style: Vertical
  • Input Max kW: 5.76
  • Plug: NEMA L6-30P
  • Cable length: 10 ft
  • Voltage: 200-240v
  • Current: 24A
  • Current monitoring: Input, Section, Outlet, +/- 1%
  • Phase: Single
  • Frequency: 50-60Hz
  • Output Outlets:
    • 20 IEC 60320 C13 Grip
    • 4 IEC 60320 C19 Grip
  • Circuit Breakers: 2 20A
  • Environmental Interface: Optional EMP001
  • Serial Interface: RS232
  • Ethernet Interface: 10/100 Ethernet
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 66.5 x 2.05 x 2.1 in

Design and Build and Installation

The Eaton G3 ePDUs provide serial and Ethernet ports for management connectivity. Both ports provide status indicators: green or orange LED states convey the operating condition of a serial or Ethernet-connected ePDU. The top of each ePDU also offers a large grounding screw to safely ground the unit to the rack via grounding cables. One of the key serviceability items surrounding the new G3 PDU series is that they support swapping out the control mechanism hot, without requiring equipment connected to the PDU to be disconnected. This can save an enourmous amount of hassle and help prevent downtime.

The Eaton Metered Input G3 ePDU EMI104-10 is about five and a half feet long with a 10 foot cord. The outlets run down the front of the device and are color coded to match the circuit breakers (A outlets are yellow, B are blue), to provide easier load balancing capability at the rack level. The two sets of outlets are broken up in the center with the LCD screen and the network ports. There are four buttons by the screen to navigate the interface. Near the top of the unit are the cable and the two circuit breakers color-coded to match the outlets they control.

Since we have moved and expanded our lab, we have added additional S-Series racks bringing our total to 5 currently. With the additional racks we have added to our older Eaton Advanced Monitored ePDU with the new Metered Input G3 ePDUs. The max draw for each ePDU is 5.76 kW, which is more than enough for our usage.

The Metered Input G3 ePDU are 0U devices that are mounted vertically. Eaton has designed their ePDUs to allow three tool-less approaches for mounting in a rack cabinet: mounting clip feet secured by cage nuts, keyholes with mounting buttons directly attached to the ePDU, or keyholes with mounting buttons installed on the clip feet.

Management

For its G3 ePDUs, Eaton offers a software download of its Intelligent Power Manager. Intelligent Power Manager provides monitoring and management capabilities across the network and integration with VMware's vCenter Server and Microsoft SCVMM.

Eaton provides an edition of its Intelligent Power Manager with support for up to ten IP addresses as a free download (users can upgrade to a silver edition for 100 licensed nodes or a gold edition for unlimited licensed nodes). The IPM can monitor and manage multiple UPS and ePDU devices across the network via web browser or a vCenter or XenCenter dashboard. Eaton IPM is compatible with ESXi, SCVMM, XenCenter, and KVM technologies. Intelligent Power Manager’s shutdown agent management enables safe shutdown of servers including vCenter clusters. The software can also be configured to trigger vMotion, XenMotion and other migration applications to transparently move virtual machines to an available server on the network, maximizing integrity and availability in the event of power disruption.

The Intelligent Power Manager exposes SNMP devices and their web interfaces for editing and configuration, and allows user-definable tree structure for grouping, access, and management of multiple devices. Mass-upgrade features for Eaton firmware simplify the administration of firmware updates throughout the network.

Similar to other network-connected Eaton power equipment, the G3 ePDUs offer a robust Web-management interface. With our G3 Managed ePDU we are able to drill into groups or individual outlets to remotely switch off devices when tests have completed. For us this is helpful in that we can save power as some storage or networking equipment doesn't completely power down until you hit a power switch or unplug the unit. This means we can save 500-1000w per device between tests and easily switch equipment back on for further testing. In a production environment switched outlets are also helpful to monitor customer power usage, disable ports to prevent unauthorized equipment from being installed or even remotely power cycle crashed hardware to remove the need for a tech being sent on-site.

Conclusion

Eaton’s new Eaton Metered Input G3 ePDU come with a few new benefits such as the ability to monitor how much energy is being used, daisy-chaining multiple ePDUs allowing them to share a network card and IP address, and hot-swappable modules to prevent downtime. The units are 0U, so they don’t take up rack space that could be used for arrays or servers. And they come with enough outlets and draw for most operations.

We found the ePDUs simple to install. The process was tool-less and only took us a few minutes to install all five of them. The 0U feature is also nice, especially in our case where density is critical. Like the other Eaton gear in the lab, the software and management tools are useful and intuitive, creating value for administrators who may or may not be on-site. Virtualized environments also benefit from the wide hypervisor support. 

The Bottom Line

The Eaton G3 Platform of ePDUs install easily, offer great serviceability and some packed with a broad range of features designed to handle most use cases. They also come with fantastic software which supports extensive monitoring and control capabilities.

Eaton Metered Outlet ePDU page

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