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United States Patent Application 20180213674
Kind Code A1
Roy; Rob July 26, 2018

ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT DATA CENTER OR CO-LOCATION FACILITY DESIGNS AND METHODS OF MAKING AND USING THE SAME

Abstract

The present invention relates to electronic equipment data center or co-location facility designs and methods of making and using the same in an environmentally aware manner, and generally provides apparatus and methods for using novel support bracket structures, and thermal panels associated with the same, that allow for distinct partitioning of air flowing in hot aisles and cold aisles, as well as for holding wiring above cabinets that are used to store electronic equipment in the facility.


Inventors: Roy; Rob; (Las Vegas, NV)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Switch, Ltd.

Las Vegas

NV

US
Family ID: 1000003254931
Appl. No.: 15/934864
Filed: March 23, 2018


Related U.S. Patent Documents

Application NumberFiling DatePatent Number
15691134Aug 30, 2017
15934864
12138771Jun 13, 20089788455
15691134
60944082Jun 14, 2007

Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: H05K 7/20 20130101
International Class: H05K 7/20 20060101 H05K007/20

Claims



1. A process for managing heat emitted by electronic equipment comprising the steps of: providing at least one cluster of cabinets disposed in two separated rows; positioning the two separated rows of cabinets in a back-to-back configuration to establish a hot aisle enclosure area between the two separated rows, the front side of the cabinets establishing a portion of a cold aisle, and disposing the electronic equipment in the cabinets such that the electronic equipment emits heated air from the cabinets into the hot aisle enclosure area; positioning a thermal shield above the cabinets, the thermal shield extending upward from the cabinets to form a hot air area above the hot aisle enclosure area, the thermal shield containing the heated air rising from the hot aisle enclosure area in the hot air area and the hot aisle enclosure area, the thermal shield surrounding the hot air area above the at least one cluster of cabinets; placing at least one cable rack at an elevation higher than at least one of the rows of cabinets to support cables in the cold aisle; providing an air conditioning system that includes an air conditioning unit located above the cabinets, and a condenser that is disposed outside the walls of the facility, the air conditioning system drawing in the heated air from the hot air area into a warm air channel disposed above the hot air area, the warm air channel being bounded by a barrier having one or more openings through which heated air flows into the warm air channel, and wherein the thermal shield extends from the barrier to the cabinets to thus surround the hot air area with the thermal shield to contain the heated air; and delivering cool air from the air conditioning system to the cold aisle through a cool air channel that extends from the air conditioning system and the cold aisle.

2. The process of claim 1 wherein the heated air rises from the cabinets in the hot aisle enclosure area toward the air conditioning units and air cooled by the air conditioning units falls toward the cabinets in the cold aisle.

3. The process of claim 1 further comprising the step of providing at least one support bracket that extends upward from a floor to support the thermal shield.

4. The process of claim 3 wherein the at least one support bracket also support one or more cable racks.

5. The process of claim 3 wherein the at least one support brackets are not connected to the cabinets.

6. The process of claim 1 wherein the barrier prevents the heated air from mixing with the cooled air.

7. The process of claim 1 wherein the top edge of the thermal shield is connected to the barrier.

8. A process for managing heat emitted by electronic equipment comprising the steps of: providing at least one cluster of cabinets disposed in two separated rows; positioning the two separated rows of cabinets in a back-to-back configuration to establish a hot aisle enclosure area between the two separated rows, the front side of the cabinets establishing a cold aisle, and disposing the electronic equipment in the cabinets such that the electronic equipment emits heated air from the cabinets into the hot aisle enclosure area; positioning a thermal shield above the cabinets, the thermal shield extending upward from the cabinets to form a hot air area above the hot aisle enclosure area, the thermal shield containing the heated air rising from the hot aisle enclosure area in the hot air area and the hot aisle enclosure area, the thermal shield surrounding the hot air area above the at least one cluster of cabinets; and providing an air conditioning system, the air conditioning system drawing in the heated air from the hot air area into a warm air channel disposed above the hot air area, the warm air channel being bounded by a barrier having one or more openings through which heated air flows into the warm air channel, and wherein the thermal shield extends from the barrier to the cabinets to separate the heated air from the cold aisle.

9. The process of claim 8 wherein the air conditioning system includes a condenser that is disposed outside the walls of the facility.

10. The process of claim 8 wherein the air conditioning system includes air conditioning units that are located above the cabinets and the barrier such that heated air rises toward the air conditioning units and air cooled by the air conditioning units falls toward the cabinets in the cool aisle.

11. The process of claim 8 further comprising the step of providing at least one support bracket above the cabinets which support the thermal shield.

12. The process of claim 8 further comprising the step of providing a rack configured to support cables in the cool aisle above at least one row of cabinets.

13. The process of claim 8 wherein the top edge of the thermal shield connects to the barrier.

14. A process for managing heat emitted by electronic equipment comprising the steps of: positioning two separated rows of cabinets in a back-to-back configuration; locating the electronic equipment in the cabinets such that the electronic equipment emits heated air from the cabinets into a hot aisle between the two separated rows of cabinets; assembling a thermal shield above the cabinets, the thermal shield extending upward from the cabinets to contain the heated air above the hot aisle within the thermal shield; directing the heated air from within the thermal shield to one or more air conditioning systems; and delivering cool air from the one or more air conditioning systems to at least one cold aisle positioned on a front side of at least one of the two separated rows of cabinets.

15. The process of claim 14 further comprising the steps of: locating one or more elements of the air conditioning system outside of a building which contains the rows of cabinets; and locating one or more elements of the air conditioning system inside the building which contains the rows of cabinets.

16. The process of claim 14 further comprising the step of disposing the air conditioning units above the cabinets such that heated air rises toward the air conditioning units and air cooled by the air conditioning units falls toward the cabinets in the cool aisle.

17. The process of claim 14 further comprising the step of disposing a condenser of the air conditioning system outside the walls of the facility.

18. The process of claim 14 further comprising the step of disposing the cabinets on a non-raised floor.

19. The process of claim 14 further comprising the step of disposing one or more support brackets above the cabinets which support the thermal shield.

20. The process of claim 19 wherein the one or more support brackets are not connected to the cabinets.
Description



CROSS REFERENCE To RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation of and claims priority to U.S. application Ser. No. 12/168,771 filed on Jun. 13, 2008, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Appln. No. 60/944,082 filed Jun. 14, 2007 entitled "Electronic Equipment Data Center or Co-Location Facility Designs and Methods of Making and Using the Same," which application is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates to electronic equipment data center or co-location facility designs and methods of making and using the same in an environmentally aware manner.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Data centers and server co-location facilities are well-known. In such facilities, rows of electronics equipment, such as servers, typically owned by different entities, are stored. In many facilities, cabinets are used in which different electronics equipment is stored, so that only the owners of that equipment, and potentially the facility operator, have access therein. In many instances, the owner of the facilities manages the installation and removal of servers within the facility, and is responsible for maintaining utility services that are needed for the servers to operate properly. These utility services typically include providing electrical power for operation of the servers, providing telecommunications ports that allow the servers to connect to transmission grids that are typically owned by telecommunication carriers, and providing air-conditioning services that maintain temperatures in the facility at sufficiently low levels.

[0004] There are some well-known common aspects to the designs of these facilities. For example, it is known to have the electronic equipment placed into rows, and further to have parallel rows of equipment configured back-to back so that each row of equipment generally forces the heat from the electronic equipment toward a similar area, known as a hot aisle, as that aisle generally contains warmer air that results from the forced heat from the electronics equipment. In the front of the equipment is thus established a cold aisle.

[0005] There are different systems for attempting to collect hot air that results from the electronics equipment, cooling that hot air, and then introducing cool air to the electronics equipment. These air-conditioning systems also must co-exist with power and communications wiring for the electronics equipment. Systems in which the electronics equipment is raised above the floor are well-known, as installing the communications wiring from below the equipment has been perceived to offer certain advantages. Routing wiring without raised floors is also known--though not with systematic separation of power and data as described herein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The present invention relates to electronic equipment data center or co-location facility designs and methods of making and using the same in an environmentally aware manner.

[0007] The present invention generally provides apparatus and methods for using novel support bracket structures, and thermal panels associated with the same, that allow for distinct partitioning of air flowing in hot aisles and cold aisles, as well as for holding wiring above cabinets that are used to store electronic equipment in the facility.

[0008] In one aspect, the present invention provides a facility for maintaining electronic equipment disposed in a plurality of cage cabinets at a cool temperature using a plurality of air conditioning units, the cage cabinets positioned in at least one row so that the electronic equipment disposed therein emit heated air in a predetermined direction from the cage cabinets to establish a hot aisle, and an opposite side of the row establishing a cold aisle, the plurality of air conditioning units receiving heated air and emitting cooled air. In this aspect, the facility comprises:

[0009] a floor on which the plurality of cage cabinets are disposed in the at least one row, the floor being within a space that has walls that define a room;

[0010] a plurality of support brackets disposed along the row, so that a portion of each of the support bracket is disposed above the plurality of cage cabinets;

[0011] a thermal shield supported by the at least some of the plurality of support brackets, the thermal shield providing a contiguous wall around a hot air area above the at least one row of electronic cabinets to define a warm exhaust channel that traps the heated air within the enclosure area and causes substantially all the heated air within the enclosure area to rise up within the warm exhaust channel;

[0012] a space separated from the room in which the plurality of air conditioning units are disposed;

[0013] a warm air escape channel disposed above the warm exhaust channel, the warm air escape channel feeding the heated air to the plurality of air conditioning units; and

[0014] a cool air channel that connects between the air conditioning system and the cold aisle, the cool air channel delivering cool air from the plurality of air conditioning units to the cool aisle.

[0015] In another aspect, the invention provides an apparatus for separating warm air from cooler air, the warmer air being produced within an enclosure area bounded by a plurality of cage cabinets positioned so that electronic equipment disposed therein emit heated air into the enclosure area, the cage cabinets positioned in at least one row so that the electronic equipment disposed therein emit heated air from in each in a predetermined direction from the cage cabinets to establish a hot aisle, and an opposite side of the row establishing a cold aisle. In this aspect, the apparatus comprises:

[0016] a plurality of support brackets disposed along the row, so that a portion of each of the support bracket is disposed above the plurality of cage cabinets; and

[0017] a thermal shield supported by the at least some of the plurality of support brackets, the thermal shield providing a contiguous wall around a hot air area above the at least one row of electronic cabinets to define a warm exhaust channel that traps the heated air within the enclosure area and causes substantially all the heated air within the enclosure area to rise up within the warm exhaust channel.

[0018] In another aspect, the plurality of support brackets according to the invention may each further include a plurality of tiered ladder rack supports having ladder racks thereover to establish a plurality of different tiers outside the contiguous wall, so that each of the different tiers is adapted to hold a different type of transmission line that is substantially shielded from the heated air.

[0019] In a further aspect, the present invention includes a method of forming a facility for housing electrical equipment. This aspect of the invention comprises the steps of:

[0020] determining a location for at least a one row of cage cabinets that will house the electrical equipment, the at least one row of cage cabinets defining an enclosure area so that electronic equipment disposed within the cabinets will emit heated air in a predetermined direction from the electronic cabinets toward the enclosure area;

[0021] mounting a plurality of support brackets in relation to the row of cage cabinets so that at least a portion of each of the support brackets is disposed above the cage cabinets; and

[0022] mounting a contiguous wall around the enclosure area above the cage cabinets using the support brackets to define the warm exhaust channel so that that substantially all warm air within the enclosure area rises up within the warm exhaust channel; and

[0023] distributing wiring to at least some of the cage cabinets, the step of distributing separating each of a plurality of different types of wiring on each of a plurality of different ladder racks, each of the plurality of different ladder racks being mounted on a ladder rack support that connects to at least some of the plurality of support brackets.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] These and other aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the following description of specific embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying figures, wherein:

[0025] FIG. 1(a) illustrates a floor design used in a data center or co-location facility according to the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 1(b) illustrates floor-based components disposed over the floor design according to the present invention.

[0027] FIG. 1(c) illustrates a perspective cut-away view along line c-c from FIG. 1(a) of FIG. 1(a) according to the present invention.

[0028] FIGS. 2(a)-(c) illustrate various cut-away perspective views of the thermal compartmentalization and cable and conduit routing system according to the present invention.

[0029] FIGS. 3(a) and (b) illustrate modular thermal shields used in the thermal compartmentalization and cable and conduit routing system according to the present invention.

[0030] FIG. 4 illustrates illustrate a telecommunication bracket used in the thermal compartmentalization and cable and conduit routing system according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0031] The present invention provides data center or co-location facility designs and methods of making and using the same. The data center or co-location facility designs have certain features that will be apparent herein and which allow many advantages in terms of efficient use of space, efficient modular structures that allow for efficiency in the set-up of co-location facility and the set-up of the electronics equipment in the facility, as well as efficient air-conditioning within the facility. Each of these features has aspects that are distinct on their own, and combinations of these features also exist that are also unique.

[0032] FIG. 1(a) illustrates a floor design used in a data center or co-location facility according to the present invention. The preferred embodiment discussed herein uses parallel rows of equipment configured back-to back so that each row of equipment generally forces the heat from the electronic equipment towards a hot aisle, thus also establishing a cold aisle in the front of the equipment. The cold aisles in FIG. 1(a) are illustrated at the dotted line block 60, wherein the hot aisles are illustrated at the dotted line block 62. One feature of the present invention is the provision for marking the floor 50 to explicitly show the various areas of the facility. As illustrated, the hot aisle 62 has a central area 52 that is tiled, painted, taped or otherwise marked to indicate that it is center area of the hot aisle 62. The typical dimensions of the central area 52 are typically in the range of 2'-4' across the width, with a row length corresponding to the number of electronic cabinets in the row. Marking with tiles is preferable as the marking will last, and tiles that are red in color, corresponding to the generation of heat, have been found preferable. Around this center area 52 is a perimeter area 54, over which the cabinets are installed. This perimeter area 54 is marked in another manner, such as using a grey tile that is different in color from the center area 52. Around the perimeter area 54 is an outside area 56, which is marked in yet a different manner, such as using a light grey tile. The placement of these markings for areas 52, 54 and 56 on the floor of the facility, preferably prior to moving any equipment onto the floor, allows for a visual correspondence on the floor of the various hot and cold aisles. In particular, when installing cabinets over the perimeter 54 are, the area that is for the front of the cabinet that will face the cold aisle, and thus the area for the back of the cabinet for the hot aisle, is readily apparent.

[0033] FIG. 1(b) illustrates floor-based components disposed over the floor design of the co-location facility according to the present invention. FIG. 1(b) also shows additional area of the floor, which in this embodiment is provided to illustrate interaction of the electronics equipment with the evaporators of the air conditioning units. In the embodiment described with respect to FIG. 1(b), certain features are included so that conventional equipment, particularly conventional air conditioning equipment, can effectively be used while still creating the desired air flow patterns of the present invention as described herein.

[0034] Before describing the components in FIG. 1(b), an aspect of the present invention is to isolate the hot air exhaust from the areas that require cooling as much as possible, and to also create air flows in which the air moves through the exhaust system, into the air conditioning system, through the air conditioning ducts and out to the cool equipment in a very rapid manner. In particular, the amount of circulation established according to the present invention moves air at a volume such that the entire volume of air in the facility recirculates at least once every 10 minutes, preferably once every 5 minutes, and for maximum cooling once every minute. It has been found that this amount of recirculation, in combination with the air flows established by the present invention, considerably reduce the temperature in the facility in an environmentally efficient manner, thus saving energy, as described herein.

[0035] Cabinets 110 shown in FIG. 1(b) are placed generally over the sides of the perimeter 54 as described, in rows, which cabinets are formed as cages in order to allow air to flow through them. Different rows are thus shown with cabinets 110(a-f), with each letter indicating a different row. Also included within the rows are telecommunications equipment 170 to which the electronics equipment in each of the cabinets 110 connect as described further herein, as well as power equipment 180 that is used to supply power along wires to the electronics equipment in each of the cabinets 110 connect as described further herein. Air conditioning units include the evaporator units 120 (1-6) that are shown being physically separated by some type of barrier from the area 56 described previously with respect to FIG. 1(a). The condenser units of the air conditioning system that receive the warmed refrigerant/water along lines 122 and are disposed outside the walls of the facility are not shown. This physical separation is implemented in order to establish warm exhaust channel area 240 from the physical space, which warm air area connects to a separate warm air area in the ceiling and allow the warm air to flow into the exhaust channel area 240 and enter into intake ducts of evaporator air conditioning equipment 120, as will be described. This feature allows the usage of conventional evaporator air conditioning equipment that has air intakes at the bottom of the unit, as well as allows for usage of different air conditioning equipment types, while still maintaining an efficient airflow throughout the entire facility.

[0036] FIG. 1(c) illustrates a perspective cut-away view along line c-c from FIG. 1(a) of the FIG. 1(a) co-location facility according to the present invention. Additionally illustrated are the false ceiling 140 and the actual ceiling 150, which have a gap that is preferably at least 1.5-3 feet and advantageously at least 15 feet, as the higher the ceiling the more the warm air rises (and thus also stays further away from the equipment in the cabinets 110). The false ceiling 140 is preferably made of tiles that can be inserted into a suspended ceiling as is known, which tiles preferably have are drywall vinyl tiles, which exhibit a greater mass than many conventional tiles. Also shown are arrows that illustrate the air flow being centrally lifted upward from the warm exhaust channel area 240 to the area between the false ceiling 140 and the actual ceiling 150, and the flow within the ceiling toward the warm exhaust channel area 240, and then downward into the warm exhaust channel area 240. Also shown are arrows that take cold air from the cold air ducts 310 and insert the air into the cold aisles 60.

[0037] Though the arrows in the drawing are directed straight downward, the vents themselves can be adjusted to allow for directional downward flow at various angles. In a preferred embodiment, each of the vents have a remote controlled actuator that allows for the offsite control of the vents, both in terms of direction and volume of air let out of each vent. This allows precise control such that if a particular area is running hot, more cold air can be directed thereto, and this can be detected (using detectors not shown), and then adjusted for offsite.

[0038] FIGS. 2(a)-(c) illustrate various cut-away perspective views of the thermal compartmentalization and cable and conduit routing system according to the present invention. In particular, FIG. 2(a) illustrates a cut away view of a portion of the warm exhaust channel area 240, which rests on top of the cabinets 110, and is formed of a plurality of the thermal shields 400 and 450, which are modular in construction and will be described further hereinafter. Also illustrated are shield brackets 500 that are mounted on top of the cabinets 110, and provide for the mounting of the shields 400 and 450, as well as an area on top of the cabinets 110 to run power and telecommunications cables, as will be described further herein.

[0039] Before describing the cabling, FIG. 2(b) and FIG. 4 illustrate the shield bracket 500, which is made of structurally sound materials, such as steel with a welded construction of the various parts as described, molded plastic, or other materials. Ladder rack supports 510, 520, 530, 540 and 550 are used to allow ladder racks 610, 620, 630, 640, and 650 respectively, placed thereover as shown. The ladder racks are intended to allow for a segregation of data and electrical power, and therefore an easier time not only during assembly, but subsequent repair. The ladder racks are attached to the ladder rack supports using support straps shown in FIG. 4, which are typically a standard "j" hook or a variant thereof. As also illustrated in FIG. 4, a support beams structure 506 provides extra support to the ladder rack, and the holes 508 are used to secure the shields 400 and 450 thereto. Horizontal support plate 504 is used to support the bracket 500 on the cabinets 110.

[0040] With respect to the cabling and conduit, these are used to provide electrical power and data to the various servers in the facility. Conduit, also typically referred to as wiring, is used to provide electricity. Cabling is used to provide data. In this system, it is preferable to keep the electrical power and the data signals separated.

[0041] Within the system, ladder rack 610 is used for data cabling on the cold aisle side of the thermal shields 400. Ladder rack 620 is used for an A-source power conduit (for distribution of 110-480 volt power) on the cold aisle side of the thermal shields 400. Ladder rack 630 is used for B-source power conduit (for distribution of 110-480 volt power), which is preferably entirely independent of A-source power conduit, on the cold aisle side of the thermal shields 400. Ladder rack 640 is used for miscellaneous cabling on the cold aisle side of the thermal shields 400. Ladder rack 650 is used for data cabling on the hot aisle side of the thermal shields 400. Each ladder rack can also be used for different purposes and still be within the scope of the present invention.

[0042] FIGS. 3(a) and (b) illustrate modular thermal shields 400 and 450, respectively, used in the thermal compartmentalization and cabling and conduit routing system according to the present invention. Both shields 400 and 450 are made of a structurally sound material, including but not limited to steel, a composite, or a plastic, and if a plastic, one that preferably has an air space between a front piece of plastic and a back piece of plastic for an individual shield 400. Shield 400 includes a through-hole 410 that allows for certain cabling, if needed, to run between the hot and cold aisle areas, through the shield 400. A through-hole cover (not shown) is preferably used to substantially close the hole to prevent airflow therethrough. Shield 450 has a 90 degree angle that allows the fabrication of corners.

[0043] It should be appreciated that the construction of the cabinets, the shields 400 and 450, and the shield supports 500 are all uniform and modular, which allows for the efficient set-up of the facility, as well as efficient repairs if needed.

[0044] Other different embodiments of data center or co-location facilities according to the present invention also exist. For example, while the false ceiling 140 is preferred, many advantageous aspects of the present invention can be achieved without it, though its presence substantially improves airflow. Furthermore, the evaporation units for the air conditioning system can also be located outside the facility, in which case the chamber 240 is not needed, but hot air from the ceiling can be delivered to evaporation units that are disposed above the ceiling, which is more efficient in that it allows the warm air to rise. If the complete air conditioning equipment is located outside, including the evaporators, the refrigerant/water lines 122 that are used to exchange the refrigerant/water if the evaporators are disposed inside the facility is not needed, which provides another degree of safety to the equipment therein.

[0045] It is noted that aspects of the present invention described herein can be implemented when renovating an existing facility, and as such not all of the features of the present invention are necessarily used.

[0046] Although the present invention has been particularly described with reference to embodiments thereof, it should be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that various changes, modifications and substitutes are intended within the form and details thereof, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it will be appreciated that in numerous instances some features of the invention will be employed without a corresponding use of other features. Further, those skilled in the art will understand that variations can be made in the number and arrangement of components illustrated in the above figures.

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