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Why Moving Your PDU from Horizontal Mount to Vertical Makes Perfect Sense

Why Moving Your PDU from Horizontal Mount to Vertical Makes Perfect Sense

Posted by Jeremy on Oct 11, 2023


When you're in the market for efficient and future-proof power management, it's time to consider vertical mounting your PDU. While mounting horizontal PDUs has been the obvious choice for some time now, moving your PDU to vertical mounting brings a myriad of advantages that are hard to ignore.

Horizontal vs Vertical Mounting: The Basics

  • Conventional Horizontal Mounting

Horizontal PDUs are the default choice for many customers. They are easily visible from outside the rack but take up valuable rack unit (RU) space that is increasingly required for high density installations.

  • Moving To Vertical Mounting

Vertical PDUs are mounted along the sides of the rack enclosure in the gap between the mounting rails and the side of the enclosure, freeing up RU space for critical equipment.

The Argument for Vertical Mounting

  • Extra Rack Unit Space

One of the most persuasive arguments for vertical PDU mounting is the extra rack unit space it provides. Projects require more and more equipment, quickly filling up the available RU space. Changing to a vertical mounting PDU allows for more equipment to be installed and also means less visual clutter as all associated power cabling is also out of sight.

  • Improved Cable Management

Another key argument is that better cable management can be achieved with vertical PDUs, as equipment will often be installed adjacent to the outlet powering it, making cable runs shorter, and making it easier to trace power supply issues when they arise.

  • Increased Outlet Count

Finally, moving to vertical mount gives you the option for far greater outlet quantities without sacrificing critical RU space allowing for future proofed configurations with extra outlets. In the vertical mounting space, several PDUs can be installed safely, giving even more outlets or dual power feed options, which is better for today’s high-density high-performance environments.

Efficiency Gains with Vertical Mounting

  • Heat Dissipation

Moving to mounting Vertical PDUs contribute to a more efficient airflow throughout your rack enclosure, which is critical for heat dissipation.

  • Design Efficiency

Moving to a vertical mounting PDU gives more room for more outlets, making it easier to power all your devices off a single PDU.

Real-World Applications

  • Data Centres

In data centres where space is at a premium, vertical mounting is critical to achieving higher density with airflow management.

  • Networking Rooms

Networking rooms benefit from the extra RU space for more switches and routers.

  • Other Critical Environments

Vertical mounting PDUs mean the outlets are not visible for end users, discouraging manual power cycling of equipment by end users.

Installation Ease

Contrary to popular opinion, vertical PDUs are actually quite straightforward to install. Many modern vertical PDUs also feature tool-less mounting capabilities (also called ‘button mounts’), which simplifies the installation process further. Plus, their design often allows for multiple mounting options, with brackets that can be installed in multiple orientations, providing greater flexibility in how and where they can be installed within the rack.

Rack Compatibility

Modern rack designs have caught up with the trend of vertical PDU mounting, offering many compatibility options. Many contemporary racks come with pre-designated spaces for vertical PDUs, negating the need for any makeshift arrangements or structural modifications. They also provide ‘keyhole’ mounting areas, ready for simple installation with ‘toolless’ or ‘button’ mount PDUs. This makes it easier than ever to switch from traditional horizontal PDUs to more efficient vertical ones, without having to overhaul your existing setup. Whether you're working with open-frame racks or enclosed server cabinets, you'll find that vertical PDUs can seamlessly integrate into your existing infrastructure.

Safety Benefits:

  • Circuit Protection

With Vertical PDUs, the circuit breakers are out of reach from the end user, ensuring that appropriate personnel are alerted to any faults.

  • Access Control

Vertical PDUs can be fitted with advanced access control features for enhanced security.

Customisation Opportunities

Vertical Power Distribution Units (PDUs) come with a multitude of customisation features to fit the unique needs of any high-demand data centre or networking room. From varying types of electrical outlets to different load balancing capabilities, these units can be configured to suit your specific requirements. Moreover, you can opt for features like built-in surge protection, remote monitoring, and power metering. The advanced functionalities can even extend to real-time power consumption metrics and predictive analytics. The goal is to make the unit a perfect fit for your operations, allowing you to scale with ease.

Operational Resilience

Rack access control is critical in today's modern high-performance environments. Moving your power distribution into the side of the rack keeps it safe from end users, bringing an end to accidental disconnection, and ensuring the appropriate personnel are notified of any equipment or circuit failures.


Switching from horizontal to vertical PDU mounting makes perfect sense, offering extra RU space, increased efficiency, and long-term ROI.


What is the cost differential between horizontal and vertical PDUs?

While the initial cost of vertical PDUs can be higher than horizontal ones, the ROI in the long term often proves them to be more cost-effective. Savings come in the form of reduced energy consumption, lower cooling costs, and better use of RU space.

How do vertical PDUs impact airflow?

Vertical PDUs are generally better for airflow, contributing to more effective heat dissipation. This helps in keeping the equipment cool, thus enhancing its performance and lifespan.

What are the customisation options available for vertical PDUs?

Vertical PDUs offer various customization options such as remote monitoring capabilities, different types of outlets, and built-in surge protection, allowing them to fit specific operational needs.

Can I switch to vertical PDUs without changing my existing setup?

Yes, most modern racks are designed to accommodate both horizontal and vertical PDUs. Many newer rack enclosures boast tool-less or keyhole type mounting systems for easy installation. However, it might require some reorganisation of your existing cabling setup for optimal efficiency.

By adopting vertical PDU mounting for your next PDU purchase, you can realise both immediate and long-term benefits, from freeing up valuable RU space to achieving better operational efficiency. Make the switch today to future-proof your infrastructure.