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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Safe Rackmountable Storage Enclosure", for Approval

August 12, 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 inventor Rust, Brenden Michael (Loveland, CO), filed on January 23, 2013, was made available online on July 31, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "In data storage systems, data storage density is always increasing in response to market demand for increased data storage. Each new generation of storage devices increases storage density over previous generations of storage devices, and often in more compact form factors. For example, current enterprise 3.5'' hard disk drives are presently available in 2 TB and 3 TB capacities, while 2.5'' hard disk drives are presently available in 1 TB capacities. Additionally, storage subsystems are being designed to store increasing numbers of storage devices. For example, commercial storage systems are currently available that can store up to 60 storage devices in a 4 rack unit high (4U) rackmountable enclosure.

"Traditionally, rackmountable storage enclosures utilize front access, where each storage device is individually mounted to a sled and is inserted or removed from the storage enclosure front. For example, conventional storage enclosures of this arrangement could mount 12 3.5'' storage devices in a 2U enclosure, 16 3.5'' storage devices in a 3U enclosure, or 25 2.5'' storage devices in a 2U enclosure.

"High-density storage systems include relatively large numbers of storage devices. In one approach of high-density storage systems, density has been increased by allowing multiple storage devices to be mounted on each front-accessible sled. In some cases, the sleds are wider than a single storage device, sometimes up to the total internal width of a rackmountable shelf. In other cases, the sleds are deeper. In most cases, the storage devices are usually accessed through the top of a sled, after the sled has been pulled out from the front of the storage enclosure. Some high-density storage systems arrange storage devices on both sides of a drawer, where some storage devices of the same drawer are accessed from the left side, and other storage devices are accessed from the right side.

"It has been found in recent years that increased numbers of storage devices can be mounted in a single high density storage system by utilizing a 'tombstone' storage device mounting approach. A 'tombstone' storage system mounts all storage devices vertically on-end in an array of rows and columns, where top access is required for all storage devices. In order to access a storage device in a 'tombstone' system, a drawer mounting storage devices of the high-density storage system is usually slid forward on rails. The drawer must be slid forward far enough so that a top cover exposing all storage devices may be removed. A user or system administrator then stands over the top of the drawer and performs any necessary maintenance operation with the storage devices. Although the 'tombstone' approach is very space efficient and can mount a large number of storage devices, it has several disadvantages. First, 'tombstone' high density storage systems are usually quite heavy and difficult for one or two people to install. Strong slides and mounting structures are required so the entire drawer may be entirely slid forward. Second, 'tombstone' storage systems require top access. In some cases, this requires a ladder or other device so that a person can get over the top of the enclosure and service the storage enclosure accordingly. Third, when the storage device drawer is slid forward, the entire weight of the drawer is forward of the rack rails of the rack the system is mounted within, possibly making the entire rack unstable and able to tip over."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention is directed to solving disadvantages of the prior art. In accordance with embodiments of the present invention, a storage enclosure is provided. The storage enclosure includes a chassis, a plurality of drawers, and one or more power supplies. The plurality of drawers each include up to a predetermined number of storage devices. The plurality of drawers is individually extendable up to a predetermined distance through a front surface of the chassis. When each drawer of the plurality of drawers comprises the predetermined number of storage devices and is extended the predetermined distance through the front surface of the chassis, the center of mass of the storage enclosure is behind the front surface of the chassis.

"In accordance with other embodiments of the present invention, a storage enclosure for safe mounting in a 19'' rack is provided. The storage enclosure includes one or more drawers of a left drawer configuration, one or more drawers of a right drawer configuration, one or more storage controller modules, and one or more power supplies. The one or more drawers of the left drawer configuration allow storage devices to be inserted or removed only from the right side of the drawer and the one or more drawers of the right drawer configuration allow storage devices to be inserted or removed only from the left side of the drawer. Each of the one or more storage controller modules include a storage controller for controlling one or more storage devices of the one or more drawers of the left drawer and right drawer configuration. The one or more power supplies provide DC power to the one or more drawers of the left drawer and right drawer configuration and the one or more storage controller modules. When each of the drawers of the left drawer and right drawer configurations are fully populated with storage devices and is fully extended from the front surface of the chassis, the center of mass of the storage enclosure is between the front surface and the rear surface of the chassis.

"An advantage of the present invention is that it provides for safe operation and maintenance when mounted in a standard 19'' equipment rack. Each of a plurality of storage device drawers is able to be extended up to a predetermined distance from the front surface of the storage enclosure chassis. When all drawers are fully populated with storage devices and all drawers are extended the predetermined distance from the chassis, the center of mass of the storage enclosure is behind the front rails of the equipment rack. Therefore, a moment is not created that would contribute to the equipment rack tipping over, thereby enhancing safe operation for users and system administrators.

"Another advantage of the present invention is it is able to be installed or removed safely from a standard 19'' equipment rack. The storage enclosure of the present invention includes various modules. The modules include power supplies, storage controller modules, and drawers. None of the modules, even when fully populated with sub-components including storage devices, weighs more than 15 lbs. Therefore, a single user or system administrator may safely remove, install, or replace any module without incurring a safety hazard due to module weight. Additionally, the fully populated storage enclosure weights 80 lbs or less, which may allow safe handling by two individuals and contributes to less total weight in the equipment rack.

"Yet another advantage of the present invention is that no modules of the storage enclosure require top-level access to install, remove, replace, or conduct a maintenance operation. Specifically, the drawers include only side-accessible storage devices, and only side access from a single side is required to install, remove, or replace any storage device in a drawer. In many cases, this eliminates the need for a ladder for a user or system administrator, which reduces or eliminates a falling safety hazard.

"Additional features and advantages of embodiments of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following description, particularly when taken together with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating components of a data storage network in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 2a is a block diagram illustrating components of a first host-based data storage system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 2b is a block diagram illustrating components of a first non host-based data storage system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 2c is a block diagram illustrating components of a second host-based data storage system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 2d is a block diagram illustrating components of a second non-host-based data storage system in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3a is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3b is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure chassis in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3c is a diagram illustrating chassis components of a storage enclosure without drawers in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3d is a diagram illustrating chassis components of a storage enclosure including drawers in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3e is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure with a left drawer extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3f is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure with a left drawer extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3g is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure with a center drawer extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3h is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure with a left drawer extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3i is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure with a right drawer extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 3j is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure right drawer configuration in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4a is a diagram illustrating left and right drawer configurations in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4b is a diagram illustrating drawers and power supply modules in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4c is a diagram illustrating a drawer storage device mounting configuration in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4d is a diagram illustrating detail A for a drawer storage device mounting configuration in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4e is a diagram illustrating a storage controller module in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4f is a diagram illustrating chassis and drawer midplanes in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 4g is a diagram illustrating a chassis cutaway side view in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 5a is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure in a rack with no drawers extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 5b is a diagram illustrating a storage enclosure in a rack with all drawers extended in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating a storage enclosure in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 7 is a block diagram illustrating a drawer midplane in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 8 is a block diagram illustrating a drawer interconnection to a storage enclosure in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 9 is a block diagram illustrating storage enclosure DC power distribution in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 10a is a flowchart illustrating a drawer installation process in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 10b is a flowchart illustrating a drawer removal process in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 11a is a diagram illustrating a mounted storage device in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 11b is a diagram illustrating a stack of (4) mounted storage devices in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 12a is a diagram illustrating a front view of a storage device carrier left side in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 12b is a diagram illustrating a rear view of a storage device carrier left side in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 13a is a diagram illustrating a front view of a storage device carrier right side in accordance with embodiments of the present invention.

"FIG. 13b is a diagram illustrating a rear view of a storage device carrier right side in accordance with embodiments of the present invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Rust, Brenden Michael. Safe Rackmountable Storage Enclosure. Filed January 23, 2013 and posted July 31, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=3938&p=79&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140724.PD.&OS=PD/20140724&RS=PD/20140724

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Information Technology, Information and Data Storage.

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Source: Information Technology Newsweekly


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