News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Sequential Power up of Devices in a Computing Cluster Based on Relative Commonality", for Approval

July 1, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Information Technology Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Alshinnawi, Shareef F. (Durham, NC); Cudak, Gary D. (Creedmoor, NC); Suffern, Edward S. (Chapel Hill, NC); Weber, J. Mark (Wake Forest, NC), filed on July 30, 2013, was made available online on June 19, 2014.

The patent's assignee is International Business Machines Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to methods of providing electrical power to the devices in a computing cluster, and more particularly relates to methods of sequencing the power up of devices in a cluster or data center.

"High performance computing clusters contain a large number of server nodes, network switches, and data storage devices. There are times when the entire cluster of such information technology equipment needs to be powered-off for service. When these cluster entities are powered back on, there is a large inrush of electrical current from the main power distribution center. This inrush current can trip a circuit breaker at the main distribution center or it can trip a circuit breaker at the individual power distribution units (PDUs) that are positioned within the individual racks of the cluster. A common way to limit the inrush of electrical current is to add inductors to the input of each power supply so that the resistor-inductor-capacitor (R-L-C) circuit slowly ramps up the current supplied to the design."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "One embodiment of the present invention provides a method of powering on a plurality of devices. The method includes identifying a plurality of power distribution units disposed in a rack, wherein each power distribution units is connected to received power from a main power source, and wherein each power distribution unit includes a circuit breaker. The method further includes identifying a plurality of devices disposed in the rack, wherein each device is connected to receive power from one of the power distribution units, and wherein the plurality of devices are selected from server nodes, network switches and external data storage devices. Vital product data is obtained from a service processor in each device, wherein the vital product data identifies the device by a model identification code. For each of the power distribution units, the plurality of devices that are connected to the power distribution unit are powered on in a sequence to prevent an inrush current from tripping the circuit breaker within the power distribution unit, wherein the sequence powers on devices in order of ascending commonality of the model identification code.


"FIG. 1 is a graph showing the relationship of inrush current at initial power on of an example circuit compared to the operational current of the same circuit.

"FIG. 2 is a diagram of a rack having several servers coupled to each of the several power distribution units (PDUs).

"FIG. 3 is a diagram of a server aligned for contact with an address plate in a given position within a rack.

"FIG. 4 is a diagram of a server aligned in contact with rack identification wires and the address plate.

"FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a system having a plurality of servers coupled to a plurality of power distribution units.

"FIG. 6 is a diagram of a computer capable of serving as a central management entity.

"FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a method of the present invention in which a management entity controls a power up sequence."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Alshinnawi, Shareef F.; Cudak, Gary D.; Suffern, Edward S.; Weber, J. Mark. Sequential Power up of Devices in a Computing Cluster Based on Relative Commonality. Filed July 30, 2013 and posted June 19, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Information Technology, Information and Data Storage, International Business Machines Corporation.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly

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