US 20060031453 A1
A vertical-mount electrical power distribution plugstrip comprises a long, thin plugstrip body with several power outlet plugs distributed along the length of one face. A power input cord is provided at one end, and this supplies operating power to each of the power outlet plugs through individual relay control.
1. An electrical power distribution plugstrip, comprising:
a strip enclosure for mounting vertically within an equipment rack cabinet and for providing electrical power distribution to a number of electrical loads mounted within such cabinet;
a plurality of power outlet sockets disposed along one longitudinal face of the strip enclosure and each providing for independent supply of operating power to corresponding ones of said electrical loads;
a power input cord for receiving all electrical operating power to be ultimately supplied to every one of said number of electrical loads;
a plurality of power control relays each connected to independently switch electrical current from the power input cord to corresponding ones of the plurality of power outlet sockets; and
a user display disposed on said longitudinal face of the strip enclosure and for providing a digital readout of a total current passing in from the power input cord.
2. The plugstrip of
an intelligent power module (IPM) in which is disposed at least one of the plurality of power control relays and a corresponding power outlet socket.
3. The plugstrip of
a power manager connected to the IPM and providing for user control of operating power to selectable ones of said electrical loads.
4. The plugstrip of
a network interface controller (NIC) connected to the power manager and providing for remote user control of operating power to selectable ones of said electrical loads over a TCP/IP network.
5. The plugstrip of
a network interface controller (NIC) connected to the power manager and providing for a TCP/IP network report of said total current passing in from the power input cord to a remote user.
6. The plugstrip of
a plurality of intelligent power modules (IPM's) in which each hosts at least one of the plurality of power control relays and a corresponding power outlet socket.
7. The plugstrip of
a power manager connected in parallel to the plurality of IPM's and providing for user control of operating power to selectable ones of said electrical loads.
8. The plugstrip of
a power manager connected in serial to the plurality of IPM's and providing for user control of operating power to selectable ones of said electrical loads by a serial communication channel.
9. The plugstrip of
a plurality of intelligent power modules (IPM's) in which each hosts at least one of the plurality of power control relays and a corresponding power outlet socket;
wherein each IPM is identical in its hardware and software implementation to each other one.
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/732,557, filed Dec. 8, 2000, titled NETWORK-CONNECTED POWER MANAGER FOR REBOOTING REMOTE COMPUTER-BASED APPLIANCES, that is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/375,471, filed Aug. 16, 1999, titled REMOTE POWER CONTROL SYSTEM THAT VERIFIES WHICH DEVICES IS SHUT-DOWN BEFORE SUCH ACTION IS COMMITTED TO, which in turn is a continuation-in-part of United-States patent application Ser. No. 08/685,436, that was filed on Jul. 23, 1996 and is titled, SYSTEM FOR READING THE STATUS AND CONTROLLING THE POWER SUPPLIES OF APPLIANCES CONNECTED TO COMPUTER NETWORKS, and now U.S. Pat. No. 5,949,974, issued Sep. 7, 1999.
1. Field of the Invention
The invention relates generally to remote power management systems, and more particularly to electrical power distribution devices and methods for conserving the primary rack-mount spaces in a standard RETMA rack.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Network server “farms” and other network router equipment have settled on the use of equipment bays in 19″ standard RETMA racks. Many of these server and router farms are located at telephone company (TelCo) central equipment offices because they need to tie into very high bandwidth telephone line trunks and backbones. So each TelCo typically rents space on their premises to the network providers, and such space is tight and very expensive.
The typical network router, server, or other appliance comes in a rack-mount chassis with a standard width and depth. Such chassis are vertically sized in whole multiples of vertical units (U). Each rented space in the TelCo premises has only so much vertical space, and so the best solution is to make best use of the vertical space by filling it with the network appliances and other mission-critical equipment.
Two kinds of operating power are supplied to such network appliances, alternating current (AC) from an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) or direct from a utility, the second kind is direct current (DC) from TelCo central office battery sets. Prior art devices have been marketed that control such AC or DC power to these network appliances. For example, Server Technology, Inc., (Reno, Nev.) provides operating-power control equipment that is specialized for use in such TelCo premises RETMA racks. Some of these power-control devices can cycle the operating power on and off to individual network appliances.
Such cycling of operating power will force a power-on reset of the network appliance, and is sometimes needed when an appliance hangs or bombs. Since the network appliance is usually located remote from the network administration center, Server Technology has been quite successful in marketing power managers that can remotely report and control network-appliance operating power over the Internet and other computer data networks.
Conventional power management equipment has either been mounted in the tops or bottoms of the server farm RETMA racks, and thus has consumed vertical mounting space needed by the network appliances themselves. So what is needed now is an alternate way of supplying AC or DC operating power to such network appliances without having to consume much or any RETMA rack space.
Briefly, a vertical-mount electrical power distribution plugstrip embodiment of the present invention comprises a long, thin plugstrip body with several power outlet plugs distributed along the length of one face. A power input cord is provided at one end, and this supplies operating power to each of the power outlet plugs through individual relay control.
An advantage of the present invention is that an electrical power distribution plugstrip is provided that frees up vertical rackmount space for other equipment.
Another advantage of the present invention is that an electrical power distribution plugstrip is provided for controlling the operating power supplied to network appliances.
A further advantage of the present invention is that an electrical power distribution plugstrip is provided that allows a network console operator to control the electrical power status of a router or other network device.
A still further advantage of the present invention is that an electrical power distribution plugstrip is provided for reducing the need for enterprise network operators to dispatch third party maintenance vendors to remote equipment rooms and POP locations simply to power-cycle failed network appliances.
These and many other objects and advantages of the present invention will no doubt become obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art after having read the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments which are illustrated in the various drawing figures.
The total input current display 104 can be used to advantage by a technician when installing or troubleshooting a RETMA equipment rack by watching how much current change is observed when each network appliance is plugged in and turned on. Unusually high or low currents can indicate particular kinds of faults to experienced technicians.
In alternative embodiments of the present invention, each power outlet socket 111-126 is provided with a current-sensing device that can measure the individual load current. Such measurement can then be reported locally on the user display 104, or serially communicated out to a remote location. Which power outlet socket 111-126 to measure can be user selected by a simple pushbutton associated with each. Other more complex selection mechanisms can also be employed.
A first group of power outlet sockets 111-114 are mounted on a first intelligent power module (IPM) 128. A second group of power outlet sockets 115-118 are mounted on a second IPM 130. A third group of power outlet sockets 119-122 are mounted on a third IPM 132. And a fourth group of power outlet sockets 123-126 are mounted on a fourth IPM 134. The user display 104 and RJ-11 control jacks 106 are mounted on a power distribution and user display printed circuit board (PCB) 144. A power transformer 146 is used to step-down electrical power to the logic power supply levels needed by the IPM's 128-134, and PCB 144.
The manufacturing and marketing of IPM's 128-134 can be greatly enhanced by making the hardware and software implementation of each IPM the same as the others. When a system that includes these IPM's is operating, it preferably sorts out for itself how many IPM's are connected in a group and how to organize their mutual handling of control and status data in and out.
A network management system (NMS) 202 is connected by a network 204 to a remote site 206. A power controller 208 forwards operating power through a sensor 210 and relay-switch 212 to a computer-based appliance 214. As many of the functional parts of power controller 208 as possible are packaged in preferred embodiments of the present invention in a package like that of the electrical power distribution plugstrip 100 (
The operating power being controlled by relay 212 can be the traditional 110 VAC or 220 VAC power familiar to consumers, or direct current (DC) battery power familiar to telephone central-office “plant” employees. A network interface controller (NIC) 216 may be used to connect the computer-based appliance 214 to the network 204. Such would be especially true if the computer-based appliance 214 were a server, router, bridge, etc.
The power controller 208 can be configured to operate in a number of different modes, and such options are selected and stored in a configuration memory. The NMS 202 may download configurations to power controller 208, and may upload them for editing, archiving, and/or duplication to other power controllers 208 at other remote sites 206. Embodiments of the present invention are directed towards systems and methods that do such uploading, downloading, editing, archiving, and duplication of power manager configuration files.
The power manager system 200 maintains the operating health of the computer-based appliance 214. Such computer-based appliance 214 is prone to freezing or crashing where it is effectively dead and unresponsive. It is also some mission-critical assignment that suffers during such down time. It is therefore the role and purpose of the power manager 200 to monitor the power and environmental operating conditions in which the computer-based appliance 214 operates, and to afford management personnel the ability to turn the computer-based appliance 214 on and off. Such allows a power-on rebooting of software in the computer-based appliance 214 to be forced remotely from the NMS 202. The operating conditions and environment are preferably reported to the NMS 202 on request and when alarms occur.
The power controller 208 further includes a network interface controller (NIC) 218, and this may be connected to a security device 220. If the network 204 is the Internet, or otherwise insecure, it is important to provide protection of a network agent 222 from accidental and/or malicious attacks that could disrupt the operation or control of the computer-based appliance 214. At a minimum, the security device 220 can be a user password mechanism. Better than that, it could include a discrete network firewall and data encryption.
The network agent 222 interfaces to a remote power manager 224, and it converts software commands communicated in the form of TCP/IP datapackets 226 into signals the remote power manager can use. For example, messages can be sent from the NMS 202 that will cause the remote power manager 224 to operate the relay-switch 212. In reverse, voltage, current, and temperature readings collected by the sensor 210 are collected by the remote power manager 224 and encoded by the network agent 222 into appropriate datapackets 226. Locally, a keyboard 228 can be used to select a variety of readouts on a display 230, and also to control the relay-switch 212.
The display 230 and keyboard 228 can be connected as a terminal through a serial connection to the power manager 224. Such serial connection can have a set of intervening modems that allow the terminal to be remotely located. The display 230 and keyboard 228 can also be virtual, in the sense that they are both emulated by a Telnet connection over the network 204.
The NMS 202 typically comprises a network interface controller (NIC) 232 connected to a computer platform and its operating system 234. Such operating system can include Microsoft WINDOWS-NT, or any other similar commercial product. Such preferably supports or includes a Telnet application 236, a network browser 238, and/or an SNMP application 240 with an appropriate MIB 242. A terminal emulation program or user terminal 244 is provided so a user can manage the system 200 from a single console.
If the computer-based appliance 214 is a conventional piece of network equipment, e.g., as supplied by Cisco Systems (San Jose, Calif.), there will usually be a great deal of pre-existing SNMP management software already installed, e.g., in NMS 202 and especially in the form of SNMP 240. In such case it is usually preferable to communicate with the network agent 222 using SNMP protocols and procedures. Alternatively, the Telnet application 236 can be used to control the remote site 206.
An ordinary browser application 238 can be implemented with MSN Explorer, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or Netscape NAVIGATOR or COMMUNICATOR. The network agent 222 preferably includes the ability to send http-messages to the NMS 202 in datapackets 226. In essence, the network agent 222 would include an embedded website that exists at the IP-address of the remote site 206. An exemplary embodiment of a similar technology is represented by the MASTERSWITCH-PLUS marketed by American Power Conversion (West-Kingston, R.I.).
Many commercial network devices provide a contact or logic-level input port that can be usurped for the “tickler” signal. Cisco Systems routers, for example, provide an input that can be supported in software to issue the necessary message and identifier to the system administrator. A device interrupt has been described here because it demands immediate system attention, but a polled input port could also be used.
Network information is generally exchanged with protocol data unit (PDU) messages, which are objects that contain variables and have both titles and values. SNMP uses five types of PDUs to monitor a network. Two deal with reading terminal data, two deal with setting terminal data, and one, the trap, is used for monitoring network events such as terminal start-ups or shut-downs. When a user wants to see if a terminal is attached to the network, for example, SNMP is used to send out a read PDU to that terminal. If the terminal is attached, a user receives back a PDU with a value “yes, the terminal is attached”. If the terminal was shut off, a user would receive a packet informing them of the shutdown with a trap PDU.
In alternative embodiments of the present invention, it may be advantageous to include the power manager and intelligent power module functions internally as intrinsic components of an uninterruptable power supply (UPS). In applications where it is too late to incorporate such functionally, external plug-in assemblies are preferred such that off-the-shelf UPS systems can be used.
Once a user has installed and configured the power controller 208, a serial communications connection is established. For example, with a terminal or terminal emulation program. Commercial embodiments of the present invention that have been constructed use a variety of communications access methods.
For modem access, the communication software is launched that supports ANSI or VT100 terminal emulation to dial the phone number of the external modem attached to the power manager. When the modems connect, a user should see a “CONNECT” message. A user then presses the enter key to send a carriage return.
For direct RS-232C access, a user preferably starts any serial communication software that supports ANSI or VT100 terminal emulation. The program configures a serial port to one of the supported data rates (38400, 29200, 9600, 4800, 2400, 2200, and 300 BPS), along with no parity, eight data bits, and one stop bit, and must assert its Device Ready signal (DTR or DSR). A user then presses the enter key to send a carriage return.
For Ethernet network connections, the user typically connects to a power controller 208 by using a TELNET program or TCP/IP interface. The power manager will automatically detect the data rate of the carriage return and send a username login prompt back to a user, starting a session. After the carriage return, a user will receive a banner that consists of the word “power manager” followed by the current power manager version string and a blank line and then a “Username:” prompt.
A user logged in with the administrative username can control power and make configuration changes. A user logged in with a general username can control power. Also, while a user logged in with the administrative username can control power to all intelligent power modules, a user logged in with a general username may be restricted to controlling power to a specific intelligent power module or set of intelligent power modules, as configured by the administrator.
A parent case, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/732,557, filed 22, Aug. 2000, titled NETWORK-CONNECTED POWER MANAGER FOR REBOOTING REMOTE COMPUTER-BASED APPLIANCES, includes many details on the connection and command structure used for configuration management of power manager embodiments of the present invention. Such patent application is incorporated herein by reference and the reader will find many useful implementation details there. Such then need not be repeated here.
Referring again to
In a minimal implementation, the power manager configuration files are not directly editable because they are in a concentrated format. It would, however be possible to implement specialized disassemblers, editors, and assemblers to manipulate these files off-line.
Alternatively, the user terminal can be replaced by an IP-address interface that will provide a webpresence and interactive webpages. If then connected to the Internet, ordinary browsers can be used to upload and download user configurations.
Each power controller board is preferably identical in its hardware and software construction, and yet the one placed at the top of the serial daisy-chain is able to detect that situation and take on a unique role as gateway. Each power controller board is similar to power controller 208 (
A resynchronization program is executed in each microprocessor of each power controller board 302, 304, and 306, that detects where in the order of the daisy-chain that the particular power controller board is preferably located. The appropriate main program control loop is selected from a collection of firmware programs that are copied to every power controller board. In such way, power controller boards may be freely added, replaced, or removed, and the resulting group will resynchronize itself with whatever is present.
The top power controller board 302 uniquely handles interactive user log-in, user-name tables, its private port names, and transfer acknowledgements from the other power controller boards. All the other power controller boards concern themselves only with their private resources, e.g., port names.
During a user configuration file upload, power controller board 302 begins a complete message for all the power controller boards in the string with the user-table. Such is followed by the first outlets configuration block from power controller board 302, and the other outlet configuration blocks from power controller boards 304 and 306. The power controller board 302 tells each when to chime in. Each block carries a checksum so transmission errors can be detected. Each block begins with a header that identifies the source or destination, then the data, then the checksum.
During a user configuration file download, power controller board 302 receives a command from a user that says a configuration file is next. The user-name table and the serial-name table is received by power controller board 302 along with its private outlets configuration block and checksum. The next section is steered to power controller board 304 and it receives its outlets configuration block and checksum. If good, an acknowledgement is sent to the top power controller board 302. The power controller boards further down the string do the same until the whole download has been received. If all power controller boards returned an acknowledgement, the power controller board 302 acknowledges the whole download. Operation then commences with the configuration. Otherwise a fault is generated and the old configuration is retained.
Each relay board 421-424 includes a PIC-microcontroller, e.g., a Microchip Technology (Chandler, Ariz.) PIC16F84A device, that controls the serial communication interface with the power manager 426. Serial data is interpreted by the microcontroller and is used to independently operate each of the relay board's several onboard relays. Such serial communication and therefore the microcontroller isn't necessary for the relay boards 401-404 (
In a preferred application, the expanded power control system 420 is used instead of daisy-chain connecting power managers to get more control points. For example, power controller boards 304 and 306 (
Current monitor 600 further comprises an operational amplifier (op-amp) 608 that is combined with a signal diode 610 to precision rectify the AC signal obtained from Hall-effect device 606. The rectified signal is filtered and amplified by an op-amp 612. An output signal 614 is a DC voltage linear with the AC current flowing in the corresponding power mains outlet.
The output of op-amp 612 is input to an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) built into a microcomputer 616. Three other such current sensing circuits are included, and each respectively produce signals 618, 620, and 622. The microcomputer 616 communicates its four current measurements over a serial input/output (SIO) channel 624. These may be reported to a network operations center via TCP/IP on the Internet, or locally for a user display. Over-current alarms and thresholds are preferably programmed in software in the executing programs included in microcomputer 616. Such alarms, when issued, can also be reported to the network operations center via TCP/IP, or locally.
Essentially, no calibration is needed. The output of the Hall-effect sensor 606 is typically about 5.0 millivolts per Gauss. With two-turns on the torroid 604, the air gap will fill with 13.8 Gauss per amp of power-main outlet current. Therefore, for a current of 14.142 amps peak-to-peak 10.0 amps RMS, the Hall-effect sensor 606 can be expected to output a sinusoidal signal of about 0.9758 volts p-p.
If the ADC conversion is 8-bits with an analog input voltage range of 0-5, each binary bit represents 19.53 millivolts. The input range for a tested ADC was thirty amps, about 8-counts per amp. Keeping with this scaling, the output of the current sensing circuitry at ten amps RMS is 1.56 volts.
In general, embodiments of the present invention provide power-on sequencing of its complement of power-outlet sockets so that power loading is brought on gradually and not all at once. For example, power comes up on the power outlet sockets 2-4 seconds apart. An exaggerated power-up in-rush could otherwise trip alarms and circuit breakers. Embodiments display or otherwise report the total current being delivered to all loads, and some embodiments monitor individual power outlet sockets. Further embodiments of the present invention provide individual remote power control of independent power outlet sockets, e.g., for network operations center reboot of a crashed network server in the field.
The power-on sequencing of the power-outlet sockets preferably allows users to design the embodiments to be loaded at 80% of full capacity, versus 60% of full capacity for prior art units with no sequencing. In some situations, the number of power drops required in a Data Center can thus be reduced with substantial savings in monthly costs.
The PDU 700 further comprises an I2C peripheral board 704, and a set of four IPM's 706, 708, 710, and 712. Such provide sixteen power outlets altogether. A power supply 714 provides +5-volt logic operating power, and a microcontroller with a serial connection to an inter-IC control (I2C) bus 717. Such I2C bus 717 preferably conforms to industry standards published by Philips Semiconductor (The Netherlands). See, www.semiconductor.philips.com. Philips Semiconductor type microcontrollers are preferably used throughout PDU 700 because of the included interfaces Philips microcontrollers have for the I2C bus.
A SENTRY-slave personality module 716 can be substituted for personality module 702 and typically includes a Server Technology, Inc. (Reno, Nev.) SENTRY-type interface and functionality through a standard RJ12 jack. See, www.servertech.com. A chained-slave personality module 718 can be substituted for personality module 702 and provides a daisy-chain 12C interface and functionality through a standard RJ12 jack. A terminal-server personality module 720 can be substituted for personality module 702 and provides a display terminal interface, e.g., via 12C through a standard RJ12 jack, or RS-232 serial on a DIN connector. An http personality module 722 can be substituted for personality module 702 and provides a hypertext transfer protocol (http) browser interface, e.g., via 100BASE-T network interface and a CAT-5 connector. The on-board microcontroller provides all these basic personalities through changes in its programming, e.g., stored in EEPROM or Flash memory devices.
All of PDU 700 is preferably fully integrated within power distribution plugstrip 100, in
The on-sense circuitry of
Although the present invention has been described in terms of the present embodiment, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not to be interpreted as limiting. Various alterations and modifications will no doubt become apparent to those skilled in the art after having read the above disclosure. Accordingly, it is intended that the appended claims be interpreted as covering all alterations and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.