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Publication numberUS20100051563 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/231,378
Publication date4 Mar 2010
Filing date29 Aug 2008
Priority date29 Aug 2008
Publication number12231378, 231378, US 2010/0051563 A1, US 2010/051563 A1, US 20100051563 A1, US 20100051563A1, US 2010051563 A1, US 2010051563A1, US-A1-20100051563, US-A1-2010051563, US2010/0051563A1, US2010/051563A1, US20100051563 A1, US20100051563A1, US2010051563 A1, US2010051563A1
InventorsKevin Schreiber
Original AssigneeKevin Schreiber
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Modular data center
US 20100051563 A1
Abstract
A modular data center includes a unitary rack having multiple side-by-side bays which are arranged to carry electronic components. The rack has a first passageway on its front side which provides access to the electronic components mounted in the bays. The rack has a second passageway located adjacent to the back side of the bays. A plurality of fans circulate cooling air vertically in a first direction through either the first or second passageway and then horizontally through the bays. In the preferred embodiment, the air flows vertically in the opposite direction in the other passageway back to the fan to be cooled and recirculated. The rack and fans can either be inserted into a trailer or container or walls can be built around them to provide a modular unit.
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Claims(25)
1. A data center comprising:
(a) a unitary rack having multiple side-by-side bays, said bays having a front side and a rear side;
(b) said bays being configured to carry multiple electronic components;
(c) said rack having a first passageway which provides access to said electronic components from said front side of said bays;
(d) said rack having a second passageway located adjacent said rear side of said bays; and
(e) a plurality of fans having inlets and outlets, at least one of said fans in said plurality of said of fans being arranged to circulate air exiting its outlet vertically through one of said first and second passageways, then horizontally through one or more of said bays.
2. The data center of claim 1 wherein said at least one of said fans is arranged to normally pull air that passes horizontally through said one or more of said bays vertically back into its inlet.
3. The data center of claim 1 further comprising cooling coils associated with said fans to cool air being circulated through said rack.
4. The data center of claim 1 wherein said rack has two rows of said bays, one row on each side of said first passageway.
5. The data center of claim 4 wherein said rack has two second passageways, one located adjacent the rear side of each row of said bays.
6. The data center of claim 1 wherein said fans are located below said rack.
7. The data center of claim 6 wherein said fans are configured such that air exits the outlets of said fans into said first passageway.
8. The data center of claim 7 wherein one of said fans is associated with each of said bays.
9. The data center of claim 6 wherein said plurality of fans are part of a self-contained fan unit which is separate from said rack.
10. The data center of claim 9 including a porous panel which forms a floor in said first passageway and through which said air passes.
11. The data center of claim 10 wherein said porous panel is removably mounted in said fan unit.
12. The data center of claim 9 including a grated panel which forms a floor in said first passageway.
13. The data center of claim 12 wherein said panel is removably mounted in said fan unit.
14. The data center of claim 1 wherein said fans are plenum fans.
15. The modular data center of claim 1 including an equalizer which allows controlling how much of said air passes through different portions of said bays.
16. The modular data center of claim 9 wherein said plurality of fans are part of a self-contained unit which is located below said rack and is separate from said rack and said self-contained unit is configured to support said porous panels.
17. The modular data center of claim 3 including a chiller which provides refrigerant to said cooling coils.
18. The modular data center of claim 1 including a trailer which said rack and said plurality of fans is placed into.
19. The modular data center of claim 1 including walls which are attached to said rack outwardly of second passageway.
20. The modular data center of claim 1 including a wire raceway which is mounted on said rack.
21. The modular data center of claim 20 wherein said wire raceway is located above said rack.
22. The modular data center of claim 18 including a vestibule located adjacent to said rack which is accessible from said first passageway.
23. The modular data center of claim 22 including a chiller which is located in said vestibule and provides refrigerant to said cooling coil.
24. The modular data center of claim 18 wherein said fans are configured such that air exits out of said outlets of said fans into said first passageway, including:
(a) said trailer has at least one wall which encloses said second passageway,
(b) said at least one wall having first vent openings located therein, proximate an upper extremity of said rack;
(c) first shutters located adjacent said first vent openings which move between open positions where air can exit said trailer through said first vent openings and closed positions where air cannot exit said trailer through said first vent openings;
(d) said at least one wall having second vent openings located therein proximate the inlets of said fans;
(e) second shutters located adjacent said second vent openings which are movable between open positions where air can enter said trailer through said second vent openings and closed positions where air cannot enter said trailer through said second vent openings; wherein
(f) when said first and second shutters are in their open positions, said fans draw air from outside of said trailer through said second vent openings and circulate it vertically through said first passageway then horizontally through said bays and then out of said trailer through said first vent openings.
25. The modular data center of claim 19 wherein said fans are configured such that air exits out of said outlets of said fans into said first passageway including:
(a) said rack having at least one wall associated therewith which encloses said second passageway;
(b) said at least one wall having first vent openings located therein proximate an upper extremity of said rack;
(c) first shutters located adjacent said first vent openings which are movable between open positions where air can exit said at least one wall through said first vent openings and closed positions where air cannot exit said at least one wall through said first vent openings;
(d) said at least one wall having second vent openings located therein proximate the inlets of said fans;
(e) second shutters located adjacent said second vent openings which are movable between open positions wherein air can enter said fans through said second vent openings and closed positions where air cannot enter said fans through said second vent openings; wherein
(f) when said first and second shutters are in their open positions said fans draw outside air through said second vent openings and circulate it vertically through said first passageway then horizontally through one or more of said bays and then out of said rack through said first vent openings.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    Many businesses have extensive computer and telecommunication equipment which needs to be readily accessible and have the components housed in a manner that allow them to be easily replaced. This is accomplished through a data center comprising a series of racks which are configured to carry multiple electronic components. The data center provides a systematic way to provide power to these components along with the wiring necessary to operate them. Because electronic components generate significant heat, the data center also provides cooling air at the required level for the components in the data center. Constructing a data center of any complexity takes considerable time and incurs considerable expense. And yet, data centers often must be provided on short notice. In addition, a data center may be required at a particular location for only a short period of time, after which it may be necessary to disassemble it and move it to a new location. When this occurs, the data center is out of use while it is being disassembled and reassembled at considerable expense.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The subject invention over comes this problem by providing a modular data center which contains all of the necessary infrastructure and can be built off-site in a factory and delivered to its desired location and become operational quickly and at less expense than building a data center from scratch on site. In addition, it can later be easily moved to a different location. This is accomplished with a unitary rack having multiple side-by-side bays configured to carry electronic components. The rack has a first passageway which provides access to the front side of the bays and a second passageway on the back side of the bays. A plurality of fans associated with the rack circulate cool air vertically through either the first or second passageway and then horizontally through the bays to cool the components mounted in the bays. In a preferred embodiment, the rack and fans can be inserted as a unit into a trailer or a container or walls can be built around the rack, either of which allows the entire data center to be easily moved.
  • [0003]
    The foregoing and other objectives, features, and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood upon consideration of the following detailed description of the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0004]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a trailer containing a modular data center embodying the subject invention.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the data center with its own walls and top.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 3 is a fragmentary side elevation view showing an equalizer used to control air flow through a rack which is a component of the data center.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 1.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 5 is a foreshortened perspective view of the rack.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • [0009]
    Referring to FIGS. 2 and 5 of the drawings, a mobile data center includes a rack 10 which is a unitary structure preferably made from metal tubing 12. The rack has a width “W”, a height “H” and length “L”. In the embodiment illustrated, the rack contains two rows of side-by-side bays 14 which are sized to carry multiple electronic component chassis 16 each of which is capable of carrying multiple electronic components 18. The rows of bays are separated from one another by a first passageway 20 which is defined by the front side 22 of the bays 14. The chassis 16 are inserted into the bays and the electronic components are inserted into the chassis from the front sides 22 and the electronic components 18 are accessed from the passageway. In order to accommodate this, the passageway has a width which allows a person to walk through it. A series of holes 24 are located at appropriate intervals in the front sides of the tubing 12 in order to allow the chassis to be bolted to the rack. The rack 10 extends rearwardly from the back side 26 of the bays to form second passageways 28 behind the bays. The second passageways 28 contain the wiring (not shown) for the electronic components 18, as well as provide a passageway for cooling air, as will be explained more fully later. The second passageways 28 can be considerably narrower than the first passageway 20. A wire raceway 30 is attached to the top of the rack.
  • [0010]
    While the rack shown has two rows of bays 14 separated by a first passageway 20 on one side and has a second passageway 28 on the other side, there could be different configurations. For example, there could be a single bay 14 with a first passageway 20 on one side and a second passageway 28 on the other. The rack could also have more than two bays so long as each bay has a first passageway 20 on one side and a second passageway 28 on the other side.
  • [0011]
    Referring now in particular to FIG. 2, in use the rack 10 preferably is placed on top of a self-contained fan unit 32. The fan unit 32 has a free standing frame 34 which carries a plurality of plenum fans 36. Preferably, the fans 36 are arranged in rows with one row of fans being located generally below each row of bays 14. Preferably there is one fan 36 for each bay 14. The fans 36 are oriented such that their inlets 38 are located below the second passageway 28 of the associated row of bays 14 and their outlets 40 are located below the first passageway 20 when the rack is placed on top of the fan unit 32. The fans 36 are preferably are plenum fans.
  • [0012]
    The top surface of the fan unit frame 34, which underlies the second passageway 28, can either be open or can have a grate 42 or similar structure that can be walked on but air can readily flow through. The top surface of the fan unit frame 34 that underlies the first passageway 20 is configured to receive a porous panel or grate 44 either of which can be walked on and which air freely passes through. Cooling coils 47 are installed on the inlet sides 38 of the fans 36. The cooling coils 47 receive refrigerant or chilled water from a chiller or condensing unit 49.
  • [0013]
    The rack 10 can be used several ways. Referring to FIG. 1, the rack 10 and fan unit 32 can be inserted into a trailer 48. Depending on the height of the trailer 48, the fan unit 32 might have to be placed in the trailer first and positioned in the trailer well before the rack 10 is placed in the trailer. Installing the rack 10 and fans 36 in a trailer provides a truly mobile unit. The rack 10 and fan unit 32 can be placed in the trailer, the fan unit provided with power and wiring can be installed for the electronic components in a factory. The trailer 48 can then be pulled to the site at which it will be used and the electronic components 18 can easily be installed. In addition, this trailer 48 can be moved from site to site as necessary. In this application, the width of the rack 10 is just enough smaller than the width of the trailer 48 that the rack can be put in the trailer. The trailer walls 50 define the outside boundary of the second passageways 28. A portion of the trailer 48 can be used as the vestibule 51 which contains the chiller 49 which provides chilled refrigerant to the cooling coils 47. If desired, the rack 10 and fan unit 32 could also be installed in a standard shipping container (not shown). Alternatively, walls 52 and top 54 can be attached to the frame 10 and fan unit 32 using normal construction technology, FIG. 2. This can either be done in a factory or at the site the data unit will be used. In operation, the fans 36 circulate cooled air through the racks 10. Air flowing out of the outlets 40 of the fans 36 flows vertically upward in the first passageway 20. The air then flows horizontally through the electronic components 18 located in the bays 14. The air then flows vertically downward through the second passageways 28 through the cooling coils 47 and into the inlets 38 of the fans.
  • [0014]
    Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, equalizers 56 are mounted on the back side 26 of the bays 14. The equalizers 56 allow regulating the amount of air that passes through different vertical portions of each bay. In a preferred embodiment, the equalizers include first plates 58 which are attached to the back side of each bay 14. The first plates 58 have a series of elongated slots 60 extending through them. Slideably attached to each first plate 58 is a second plate 62 which has a series of elongated slots 64 located in it, which are the same as slots 60. The second plate 62 is movable relative to the first plate 58 between an open position where the slots 60 and 64 are aligned with one another and a closed position where the slots 60 in the first plate 58 are completely covered by the second plate 62. A ratchet mechanism 66 allows each second plate 62 to be moved incrementally between its open and closed positions. A tool (not shown) is inserted into a receptacle 68 in the ratchet mechanism 66 to adjust the second plate 62 to the desired location. Because this requires access to the second passageways 28, a tube 70, FIG. 1, runs between the front side 22 of the bays 14 to the back side 26 of the bays coincident with each receptacle 68 to allow the ratchet mechanism to be operated from the first passageway 20. In the embodiment illustrated, there are four (4) equalizers 56 in each bay, but there could be more or less depending on the application.
  • [0015]
    If the data center is going to be located outside in a region that has a cool season, a first vent opening 70 is placed in the wall 50, 52 adjacent the top of each bay 14. A first shutter 72, located in each first vent opening 70, is movable between an open position where air can pass through it and a closed position where air cannot pass through it. A second vent opening 74 is placed in the wall 50, 52 adjacent each fan 36. A second shutter 76, located in each second vent opening 74, is movable between and an open position where air can pass through it and a closed position where air cannot pass through it.
  • [0016]
    A third shutter 78 is located in the opening 42 between the fan unit 32 and each second passageway 28. The third shutter 78 is movable between an open position where air can pass through it and a closed position where air cannot pass through it. When the first and second shutters 72 and 76 are in their closed positions and the third shutter 78 is in its open position, air is circulated in the manner described above and as shown in the left hand side of FIG. 2. However, when the data center is placed outside, on a cool day the first and second shutters 72, 76 can be placed in their open positions and the third shutter 78 can be placed in its closed position. The fans 36 then draw outside air through the second vent openings 74 and into their inlets 38. The air then exhausts the fans through their outlets 40 and goes vertically upwardly through the first passageways 20, through the bays 14 and out the first vent openings 70.
  • [0017]
    The terms and expressions which have been employed in the foregoing specification are used therein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention, in the use of such terms and expressions, of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims which follow.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification211/26
International ClassificationA47F7/00
Cooperative ClassificationH05K7/20745, H05K7/1497, H05K7/20736
European ClassificationH05K7/14S6, H05K7/20S10C, H05K7/20S10D
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