Patent application title: ASSEMBLY AND METHOD FOR RUGGEDIZING COMPUTER RACKS
Dennis R. Barringer (Wallkill, NY, US)
Steven C. Mcintosh (Kingston, NY, US)
Steven C. Mcintosh (Kingston, NY, US)
Budy D. Notohardjono (Poughkeepsie, NY, US)
Bradley R. Patton (Beacon, NY, US)
Howard P. Welz (Highland, NY, US)
Howard P. Welz (Highland, NY, US)
International Business Machines Corporation
IPC8 Class: AA47B8100FI
Class name: Supports: cabinet structure for particular electrical device or component housing for computer or computer related equipment
Publication date: 2008-09-25
Patent application number: 20080231151
A method and incorporated assembly is provided to enhance structural
rigidity to a computer environment having at least one rack for housing
electronic components. The assembly comprises a stiffener component
mountable to a horizontal side of the rack; a support component mountable
in a substantially horizontal direction on a vertical side of the rack to
provide rotational support of the rack; and an enhancer component being
mountable to at least one side of the rack.
1. A ruggedization assembly used to enhance structural rigidity to a
computer environment having at least one rack for housing electronic
components comprising:a stiffener component mountable to a horizontal
side of said rack;a support component mountable in a substantially
horizontal direction on a vertical side of said rack to provide
rotational support of said rack;an enhancer component being mountable to
at least one side of said rack.
2. A ruggedization assembly used to enhance structural rigidity to a computer environment having at least one rack for housing electronic components comprising:an expandable stiffener component mountable to a horizontal side of said rack;a support component mountable in a substantially horizontal direction to a vertical side of said rack to provide rotational support of said rack;an enhancer component having a peripheral element and a central element placed inside said peripheral element and connected at least to one portion of said peripheral element; said enhancer component being mountable to at least one side of said rack.
3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said environment comprises a plurality of racks and said stiffener is placed such as to connect two approximately positioned racks to one another.
4. The assembly of claim 3, wherein a plurality of stiffeners are used to connect a plurality of racks to one another.
5. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said stiffener is accordion shaped.
6. The assembly of claim 3, wherein said stiffener is placed on a top surface of said rack.
7. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said peripheral element and said central element each comprise of a plurality of members.
8. The assembly of claim 2 wherein said enhancer comprises of a peripheral element that is similarly shaped to at least one side of said rack.
9. The assembly of claim 2, wherein said peripheral element further comprises four sides and four corners.
10. The assembly of claim 10, wherein said central element forms at least one central angle inside said peripheral element.
11. The assembly of claim 11, wherein said central element is shaped to form a plurality of angles inside said peripheral element.
12. The assembly of claim 11, wherein said central element forms a plurality of angles at least two of which have identical measurements.
13. The assembly of claim 2, wherein a second enhancer is used, said second enhancer being mountable to either same or different location as other enhancer on said rack to optimize ruggedization.
14. The assembly of claim 13, wherein said second enhancer also comprises peripheral and central elements.
15. The assembly of claim 9, wherein said central element forms an interior triangle using one side of said peripheral element.
16. The assembly of claim 2, further comprising vertical stiffeners mountable to vertical sides of said rack, said vertical stiffeners being mountable in a substantially vertical direction.
17. The assembly of claim 7, wherein said members are disposed such as to intersect one another.
18. A method of ruggedizing a computer environment having at least one rack housing electronic components, comprising the steps of:attaching a stiffener component to a horizontal side of said rack, said stiffener being able to stretch to an expanded position;mounting a support component to a vertical side of said rack to provide rotational support of said rack;connecting an enhancer component having a peripheral element and a central element connected to said peripheral element to a plurality of sides of said rack.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein a plurality of racks are connected to one another using said stiffener.
20. The assembly of claim 18, wherein a second enhancer is used, said second enhancer being mountable to either same or different location as other enhancer on said rack to optimize ruggedization.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to the packaging of computing systems and more particularly to a method and assembly for improving structural integrity of large computing system environments.
DESCRIPTION OF BACKGROUND
The industry trend has been to continuously increase the number of electronic components inside computing environments while maintaining or even reducing the environment's footprint. Computer environments can vary in range and sophistication. Simple environments can only comprise of a single computer unit while more sophisticated environments can comprise of networks of large computers that are in processing communication with one another. No matter what the size of the environment, the current industry trend has created design challenges for the developers and manufacturers of such environments. When the environments are larger and more sophisticated, however, the issues become more complex. This is because changing even the most isolated component, in such an environment, can affect so many others. This is especially true when such components are packaged together in a single assembly or housed in close proximity. A particularly difficult challenge when designing such computing system environments is the issue of mechanical and structural integrity. This is because so many other factors both depend and affect structural integrity. Heat dissipation, electrical connections, system performance and system recovery are a few such examples.
Conventional large computing system environments that incorporate one or more sophisticated units such as servers, house many electronic components together on boards that are then housed in single assembly. These assemblies often comprise of metal racks and among the many challenges discussed, dynamic loading effects of these racks and their housed electronic components need to also be considered so as not to cause electrical and mechanical failures.
In recent years, both environmental catastrophic events and man-made conditions have placed an even greater demand on the designers of computer system to provide environments that are structurally enhanced so as to be able to withstand sudden abnormal shock or persistent vibrations for long periods of time. Such factors as heat dissipation, electrical connections and others have to be considered carefully in the "ruggedization" of such environments. An environment's inability to withstand such extreme conditions may cause data loss and system collapse at a critical time, potentially affecting lives and infrastructures.
The prior art has tried to resolve the problems that arise from poorly ruggedized environment in a number of ways, but most of these solutions are inadequate or are meant to only provide a temporary relief. For example, in areas that are routinely exposed to earthquakes or vibrations, the rack is bolted to the floor structure in an attempt to stabilize the computing environment during such vibrations. This solution may work if the vibration is not too great or if the total rack content does not exceed 2000 lbs. Unfortunately, this solution does not work for systems that are more complex and often weigh in the range of 3600 lbs or more as simply bolting the rack down will not be enough to ruggedize the system environment in a manner that makes it immune to such vibrations.
In another attempt to provide such solutions, prior art has introduced integrated flexible frame tie down retention systems (used both in raised and non-raised floor environments) and computer equipments having some earthquake damage protection mechanisms. Unfortunately, these solutions are either ineffective in events that cause large vibrations or are alternatively, cost prohibitive and/or too impractical to implement.
Consequently, it is desirable to introduce a solution that can provide improved ruggedized structures that can provide protection against abnormal shocks and vibrations with solutions that are permanent and effective.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The shortcomings of the prior art are overcome and additional advantages are provided through the provision of a method and incorporated assembly for enhancing structural rigidity to a computer environment having at least one rack for housing electronic components. The assembly comprises a stiffener component mountable to a horizontal side of the rack; a support component mountable in a substantially horizontal direction on a vertical side of the rack to provide rotational support of the rack; and an enhancer component being mountable to at least one side of the rack. In alternate embodiments, the stiffener component can be expandable and the enhancer component further comprises a peripheral element and a central element placed inside the peripheral element and connected at least to one portion of the peripheral element. In addition other vertical stiffeners can also be added to optimize ruggedization. In yet another embodiment, a double enhancer design can be incorporated. The second enhancer can incorporate a variety of designs and be placed in the same location or an alternate location to the first enhancer to optimize ruggedization.
Additional features and advantages are realized through the techniques of the present invention. Other embodiments and aspects of the invention are described in detail herein and are considered a part of the claimed invention. For a better understanding of the invention with advantages and features, refer to the description and to the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other objects, features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is an illustration of a computing environment having a plurality of nodes;
FIG. 2 is an illustration of a rack or frame housing electronic components that make up one of more nodes of the environment illustrated in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an illustration of one embodiment of the present invention illustrating components for the ruggedization of a computing system; and
FIG. 4 is an illustration of two enhancer component placed adjacently to one another as per the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an illustration of two adjacently placed racks having ruggedized enhancements as per one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is an illustration of an alternate embodiment having adjacently placed racks and using the ruggedized of the present invention;
FIG. 7 is an illustration of yet another embodiment of the present invention using a second enhancer; and
FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of the present invention utilizing multiple rack design and a double enhancer design.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 1 is an illustration of a computer environment having one or more nodes 110 in processing communication with one another. Each node 110 can comprise a single computer or a network of computers. A variety of electronic components are used for each node that can be housed in one or more racks as will be illustrated in other figures below.
The term rack is used to simply imply housing or an assembly that stores such components. In times, a single rack can be associated with a single node but that is not always the case as appreciated by those skilled in the art. It should also be noted that a single rack can comprise several nodes, while several racks can also constitute a single node.
FIG. 2 provides such a rack 200 that is used to house electronic components such as CECs and other such units. In this particular embodiment, the rack 200 is shown having a plurality of surfaces, namely sides 210, a top 230 and a bottom 240. The electronic components can be housed inside the rack 200 such as by placing them on boards or in other arrangements as known to those skilled in the art. The shape of the rack as provided in the figure is to reflect an exemplary design, but the workings of the present invention can be altered easily to accommodate any other designs.
As discussed earlier, one problem with conventional racks used in the prior art is that their inability to withstand sudden shocks of great magnitudes or even exposure to long term and continuous vibrations. This is because many racks, even those that are designed to be inherently rigid structurally are enhanced in a vertical and/or the in-out direction. Consequently, when these racks are subjected to a side to side vibration or shock, they fail to provide the structural rigidity that is desired and required of their frame.
FIG. 3 provides for one embodiment of the present invention where the rack assembly 200 is structurally ruggedized by addition of several components. These components can be added to any rack that is commercially available or custom designed to fit special needs as will be discussed below.
In FIG. 3, the illustrated figure provides for two racks that are referenced respectively as 200 and 202. As can be understood, the rack referenced as 200 is to be identical to the one discussed in the embodiment of FIG. 2 for ease of understanding. The second rack 202 can be similar or different to the rack referenced by numerals 200. While the workings of the present invention are designed to be used effectively with a single rack, however, it is also be possible to combine them in a multiple rack arrangement. The purpose of showing a plurality of racks in the following figures is then to enhance understanding of this multiple rack design but as stated all such ruggedized components as provided by the present invention as will be discussed can also be independently utilized for a single rack design.
A first component of the ruggedized design as per the embodiment of FIG. 3 is a stiffener component as referenced by numerals 330 and 303. In one embodiment, the stiffener components 303 and 330 are mounted to a horizontal surface. In a preferred embodiment, the stiffener component 330 is expandable such that when desired it can cover either a portion or the entire mounted side. In this embodiment, the stiffeners are mounted to the top 230 or the rack as shown. When used in a multi-rack arrangement as that shown in FIG. 3, the expandability of the stiffener 330 also allows several racks that are approximately disposed to be connected to one another using the stiffener 330 for additional support. An example of this is provided in the illustrated example of FIG. 3.
As shown, racks 200 and 220 are connected to one another by use of stiffener 330. A plurality of stiffeners 330 are used to in FIG. 3 to reflect that more than one stiffeners can be used in conjunction with one another for additional support. These stiffeners can be disposed in a variety of manners as will be discussed later. In addition, in the illustration of FIG. 3, the stiffener 330 is shown to be incrementally expandable from a closed position to a completely open position (and every position in between) to accommodate a variety of design needs. In a preferred embodiment, the stiffener is made of an interleaving structure so that it creates an accordion like expandability in design.
In another embodiment, a variety of vertical stiffeners can also be optionally provided. These vertical stiffeners may have a non-expandable design. An example of them is provided in FIG. 3 and referenced as 310. These vertical stiffeners can be added to the sides, either inside or on the outside surface of the rack as shown.
In addition to the stiffeners, another component of the present invention as per one embodiment is a support component as shown in FIG. 3 and referenced by numerals 350. More than one support component can be also used. The support components are to be disposed substantially horizontally (as opposed to the vertical stiffeners 310 that were placed substantially vertically). However, the support components 350 are placed preferably on the side surfaces of the rack(s) as shown in FIG. 3. The purpose of these support component(s) 350 is to provide support for the rotation of the front and rear sides of the rack 200/202.
In addition, a structural support enhancement component, hereinafter referenced as enhancer component, 400, is also provided to improve both vertical and horizontal rigidity of the rack frame assembly. In one embodiment, the enhancer component 400 is mountable at least to one surface, and preferably to a variety of horizontal and vertical surfaces. In a preferred embodiment, the enhancer component 400 is mounted at least to the vertical rail of the rack frame/assembly in order make rigid attachment points where additional support is desired.
In one embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIG. 3, the structure of the enhancer component 400 comprises a design that incorporates a peripheral element 460 and a central element 470. In the example shown in FIG. 3, the central element is disposed inside a hollow centered (465) peripheral element 460 and is connected at least to a portion of the peripheral element 460.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the peripheral component 460 is also shaped to reflect the shape of the rack, at least on one side, structurally but this is not a requirement. The peripheral element 460 and the central element 470 can comprise of a single unitary member contoured to reflect the desired design or may each be comprised of a plurality of members that are connected to one another in order to provide the required design. For example, in FIG. 3, central element 470 is shown to comprise of two individual members 472 and 473.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, the peripheral element 460 is shaped to comprise four sides 461 and four corners. As discussed earlier, it also comprise of a hollow center 465. In this embodiment the peripheral element 460 can be formed of either a continuous rod or four separate rods that are connected to one another to form the rectangular shape shown.
Additionally, the central element 470 is shaped such that it extends from one side of the peripheral element to another. In a preferred embodiment, the central element 470 extends from one corner of the peripheral element to portion. In this way, the central element 470 forms at least one, but possibly a plurality of central angles with respect to sides and or corners of the peripheral element when appropriate. In the example provided in FIG. 3, the central element 470 is then placed inside the peripheral element in a manner such that when one side of the peripheral element 460 is used, an interior triangle is formed. For ease of reference the triangle shown is referenced as triangle ABC.
It should be also noted that while in FIG. 3, the central element 470 including members 472 and 473 as well as peripheral element 460 reflect substantially straight lines but other designs using curves and arcs can be incorporated.
Referring back to FIG. 3, the triangle ABC comprises of angles a, b, and c (note that exterior and supplementary angles are also formed in this design that are not individually marked). The angles a, b and c can each have different measurements or at least two of them can have identical measurements such that the triangle ABC can become an isosceles or even an equilateral triangle as desired.
Alternatively, designs can be used that create more than 3 sides or angles. The design of either the peripheral 460 or the central element 470 can both reflect angles that with identical or differing elements. For example, consider the case where the central element either comprises of a plurality of members or is twisted sufficient times as to create a "z" shaped or alternatively "w" shaped design in the interior of the peripheral element 470. The angles created each time the central element 470 meets the peripheral element 460 can be of different measurements or any two or more of them can be designed to have similar measurements.
Furthermore, when a plurality of members is used to form the central 470 or peripheral elements 460, the members may be disposed such that they intersect one another in a variety of manners.
In designs where the peripheral design does not have any corners, such as an elliptical or circular design, the central element 470 can just extend from one central location inside of the peripheral element to another, thus creating forms that resemble a diameter, and arc, a radius or the like. In addition, when curved designs are used, the intersection of the central elements with the peripheral elements form arcs and associated angles of different or same sizes as desired. When a plurality of members is used, these arcs and curved structures may also be disposed in a variety of manners including those that create an intersected design.
FIG. 4 provides a plurality of enhancer components 401/402 that are placed adjacent to one another. In FIGS. 3 and 4, the enhancer 400 is to provide additional ruggedization support. When a plurality of racks are used, a plurality of enhancers referenced in FIG. 4 as 401 and 402, can be used and placed in a manner such as to optimize ruggedization. This can be done by using enhancers that are shaped differently or by placing them in a manner that are complementary to one another. In FIG. 4, one example of such complementary positioning is illustrated that optimizes the design for a particular use.
In the particular illustration of FIG. 4, the enhancers herein referenced as 401 and 402 are turned to reflect a mirror image pattern. In other words, the central elements 470 of both components 401 and 402 face toward each other (to the inside). These arrangements are selective and can be altered to optimize ruggedization in particular environments and according to a variety of factors, including but not limited to such factors as usage, direction of vibration, and shape of the frame. The particular embodiment of FIG. 4 is further illustrated and discussed in conjunction with FIG. 5.
FIG. 5 is a perspective cross-sectional view of two rack assemblies such as the one discussed in conjunction with FIG. 2 before. The racks 200 and 202 in this embodiment are placed adjacent with little to no distance between them. As shown and will be discussed below, different components as presented by the workings of the present invention have been incorporated to rugggedize the two racks 200 and 202 as shown in FIG. 5.
As illustrated in FIG. 5, a plurality of stiffeners 330 are provided on each rack/assembly top 230. In this embodiment the stiffeners are placed at a distance from one another, one at a frontal and another at a rear position on the rack/assembly top 230. In this embodiment, the stiffeners 330 are designed such that when the racks are placed adjacent to one another with almost no gaps between them, the stiffeners cover the entire width of the rack's top 230. In this embodiment, the stiffeners 330 shown have an accordion like structure. In this design, the stiffeners are placed in parallel to one another but as mentioned other arrangements are also possible.
It is understood that alternate arrangements of the racks or designs that incorporate more than two racks placed adjacent to one another or even back to back (or a combination or such arrangements) are also possible. In such a case, the stiffeners can be opened selectively, placed diagonally across the top or designed to run lengthwise along the top of the rack as desired. One, two or a plurality of such stiffeners can also be provided to attach to the top in parallel, or in any other design as desired. In a preferred embodiment the stiffeners 330 are attached to the top of the rack(s) 230 using a variety of attachment methods such as known to those skilled in the art, including but not limited to methods using screws, bolts, nails, boding, adhesives and the like.
Two support components 350 are used on each vertical side of each rack 200/202 as well to provide rotational support as discussed earlier. Obviously, a single support components or a plurality of support components can also be used on each side when desired in alternate components to further enhance or limit rotational support as desired. Again, in this particular arrangement, the support components are placed in parallel and at a distance to provide optimal support in the particular example reflected. However, the placement of such components, especially when a plurality of them are used in conjunction with one another, can be altered and rearranged as desired.
As discussed with respect to the stiffeners 330 before, the support components are also attached to the sides of the racks in this embodiment using a variety of techniques known to those skilled in the art such as screwing, bolting or others.
As shown in FIG. 5, an enhancer component 400 is also used and incorporated for each frame/rack 200/202. In this particular case, as discussed earlier in conjunction with FIG. 4, the enhancer components 400 are designed to have four corners and sides each on the peripheral to reflect the frame design. The vertical sides of the peripheral component 460 of each enhancer 400, in this embodiment, will be mounted on a vertical rail of each rack 200/202 such as to make rigid attachment points. Again, the mounting techniques can be varied as known to those skilled in the art and can include but are not limited to screwing, bolting, and use of adhesives, thermal bonding and the like.
As was discussed earlier, in this particular example since the racks 200/202 are placed adjacent to one another, the central element 470 of the enhancer as illustrated are placed in a position such that they come to a common point in the center, as referenced by 590. This particular arrangement is used to address and optimize the needs of this example and as suggested earlier, other arrangements can be provided. For example, one can imagine an arrangement with two racks being placed back to back with one another, where either a single common enhancer 400 is mounted in between the two racks or that a plurality of enhancers 400 are placed on top of one another. In such embodiments where a similarly shaped enhancer is used, the two enhancer can be placed in the same direction and mounted to one another and/or one or more racks in the same direction or in completely opposing directions (for example to provide a central diamond shape design).
FIG. 6 provides a different arrangement of enhancer 400. In the illustration of FIG. 6, a multiple rack arrangement is still used and enhancers are placed adjacent to one another. However, in the case the central element 470 of the enhancer 400 is placed exactly in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image arrangement shown in FIG. 5.
FIGS. 7 and 8 provide yet another embodiment of the present invention. In FIGS. 7 and 8 a second enhancer 700 is provided for maximum ruggedization. This second enhancer 700 can be smaller in size than the enhancer 400, hereinafter referenced as first enhancer 400, such that it can fit within the first enhancer 400 when assembled. This is not a requirement, however, and the placement and size of the second enhancer 700 completely depends on the needs and usage.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the second enhancer is mounted somewhat inside the racks as indicated by reference numerals 710, while the first enhancer 400 is mounted on a more outside location as referenced by 720. Again this requirement can be usage dependent and a variety of configurations are possible under the workings of the present invention. It is also possible, in a multi-rack configuration to only use the second enhancer 700 in one rack and not the other one. In FIG. 7, only one rack is shown to have the second enhancer 700 installed while in FIG. 8, a multi-rack arrangement is shown where both racks include the second enhancer 700.
The shape of second enhancer can also be varied as was the case with the first enhancer 400. In the particular embodiment shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 a double triangular design is used. However, the this design can also be thought of as having a peripheral element 760 comprising of multiple members, which in this case are parallel with one another, and a central element 770 also comprising of multiple members, which in this case intersect one another in a crisscross design. Many other design variations can be made under different embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 8 shows another embodiment of the present invention utilizing a multi-rack design and using the double enhancer concept in each rack. The placement of the enhancer 400 is similar to that discussed in conjunction with FIG. 5, but as was indicated before, this is only one example of the different embodiments possible under the workings of the present invention.
The components provided and discussed in conjunction with the present invention can be made of a variety of materials including plastics and metals and metal compounds. The use of the material can be altered to address the electrical, structural or other demands of the clients including any cost considerations.
One of the benefits of the workings of the present invention is that it can be manufactured such that it can easily be shipped and incorporated into the existing commercial systems. The number of components and the arrangement of them can immediately enhance the rigidity of a single node (rack/frame) or a variety of them that are placed and stored in the same environment. No additional cost needs to be incurred and shipping and other considerations that generally affect incorporation of such ruggedized designs needs to be negotiated.
In addition, although the workings of the present invention was discussed in conjunction with a particular rack/assembly for ease of understanding, it is applicable to a variety of such designs including those that incorporate the more recent and improved racks that incorporate a mid-plane design for even more improved structural rigidity. In addition, the structure and method discussed can be applicable to any rack/assembly size and incorporate into future designs for such rack/assemblies with ease.
While the preferred embodiment to the invention has been described, it will be understood that those skilled in the art, both now and in the future, may make various improvements and enhancements which fall within the scope of the claims which follow. These claims should be construed to maintain the proper protection for the invention first described.
Patent applications by Budy D. Notohardjono, Poughkeepsie, NY US
Patent applications by Dennis R. Barringer, Wallkill, NY US
Patent applications by Howard P. Welz, Highland, NY US
Patent applications by Steven C. Mcintosh, Kingston, NY US
Patent applications by International Business Machines Corporation
Patent applications in class Housing for computer or computer related equipment
Patent applications in all subclasses Housing for computer or computer related equipment