Title:
Computer system drive cage and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A computer system comprises a chassis having a frontal mounting surface. The system also comprises a bezel-less drive cage coupled to the chassis and adapted to receive at least one frontally-exposed drive. The drive cage extends forward beyond the frontal mounting surface of the chassis.



Inventors:
Roesner, Arlen L. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Conrady, Clint E. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Searby, Tom J. (Greeley, CO, US)
Mayer, David W. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/374837
Publication Date:
08/26/2004
Filing Date:
02/24/2003
Assignee:
ROESNER ARLEN L.
CONRADY CLINT E.
SEARBY TOM J.
MAYER DAVID W.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B97/00; G06F1/18; (IPC1-7): A47B97/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HP Inc. (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A computer system, comprising: a chassis having a frontal mounting surface; and a bezel-less drive cage coupled to the chassis and adapted to receive at least one frontally-exposed drive, the drive cage extending forward beyond the frontal mounting surface of the chassis.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein a forward portion of the drive cage is disposed in alignment with an adjacently disposed bezel coupled to the chassis.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive cage comprises at least one extension member adapted to cooperate with a cover of the chassis.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive cage comprises an extension member extending forward from the chassis into alignment with an adjacently disposed bezel.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive cage comprises a plurality of integrally formed rails adapted to support the drive.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive cage comprises an extension member having a portion coupled to the chassis and another portion extending forward of the chassis.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the drive cage comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed extension members extending forward of the chassis and into alignment with a forward facing surface of an adjacently disposed bezel.

8. A bezel-less drive cage for a computer chassis, comprising: a plurality of spaced apart walls adapted to receive at least one drive, the walls further adapted to be coupled to the chassis; and at least one extension member extending forward of a frontal mounting surface of the chassis.

9. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the at least one extension member comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed extension members extending forward of the fontal mounting surface of the chassis a distance corresponding with a forward facing surface of a bezel coupled to the chassis.

10. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the extension member extends forward of the frontal mounting surface a distance corresponding to a forward facing surface of a bezel coupled to the chassis.

11. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the walls comprise integrally formed rails adapted to support the at least one drive

12. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the at least one extension member is adapted to cooperate with a cover of the chassis.

13. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the at least one extension member is adapted to provide a non-stepped surface transition to an adjacent cover of the chassis.

14. The drive cage of claim 8, wherein the at least one extension member is adapted to provide a non-stepped surface transition to an adjacent surface of a bezel coupled to the frontal mounting surface of the chassis.

15. A rackmount computer drive system, comprising: a chassis support means having a frontal mounting surface; and a bezel-less support means coupled to the chassis support means and adapted to receive at least one frontally-exposed drive, the bezel-less support means extending forward beyond the frontal mounting surface of the chassis support means.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein a forward portion of the bezel-less support means is disposed in alignment with an adjacently disposed bezel coupled to the chassis support means.

17. The system of claim 15, wherein the bezel-less support means comprises means adapted to cooperate with a cover of the chassis support means.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein the bezel-less support means comprises means extending forward from the chassis support means into alignment with an adjacently disposed bezel.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein the bezel-less support means comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed extension means extending forward of the chassis support means and into alignment with a forward facing surface of an adjacently disposed bezel.

20. A computer drive system, comprising: a 2U rackmount chassis having a frontal mounting surface; and a bezel-less drive cage coupled to the chassis and adapted to receive at least three frontally-exposed, vertically stacked drives, the drive cage extending forward beyond the frontal mounting surface of the chassis.

21. The system of claim 20, wherein the drive cage comprises at least one extension member adapted to cooperate with a cover of the chassis.

22. The system of claim 20, wherein a forward portion of the drive cage is disposed in alignment with an adjacently disposed bezel coupled to the chassis.

23. The system of claim 20, wherein the drive cage comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed extension members extending forward of the chassis and into alignment with a forward facing surface of an adjacently disposed bezel.

24. The system of claim 20, wherein the drive cage comprises at least one extension member adapted to provide a non-stepped surface transition to a cover of the chassis.

25. The system of claim 20, wherein the drive cage comprises at least one extension member adapted to provide a non-stepped surface transition to a surface of an adjacently disposed bezel.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to the field of computer systems and, more particularly, to a computer system drive cage and method.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Rackmount computer systems are generally designed having a height corresponding to even multiples of an industry-standard rack mounting height dimension. For example, rackmount systems are generally referred to as 2U, 3U, 4U, etc., systems where the “U” designation refers to one dimensional increment of 1.75″ in height along the vertical members of an Electronics Industry Alliance (EIA) industry-standard computer racking structure. Thus, a 2U rackmount system is generally designed to be approximately 3.5″ in height, less a small amount of clearance between vertically-adjacent rackmounted systems located in such a rack. Other types of computer or server systems are also generally configured having an industry specified drive and/or height dimension.

[0003] As the level of sophistication and operational requirements for electronic equipment increases, an increase in the quantity of components that may be installed into a particular computer system is desired. Thus, a greater quantity of drives than the quantity generally associated with a particular industry standard mounting designation or height may be incorporated into the system. For example, three vertically stacked horizontally oriented drives may be installed or incorporated into a 2U rackmount system. Presently, because of the density of the components in such a computer system, the forward or frontal surfaces of the system are cosmetically enhanced with bezels which may be removed to hot-swap the drives within the computer system.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, a computer system comprises a chassis having a frontal mounting surface. The system also comprises a bezel-less drive cage coupled to the chassis and adapted to receive at least one frontally-exposed drive. The drive cage extends forward beyond the frontal mounting surface of the chassis.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] For a more complete understanding of the present invention and the advantages thereof, reference is now made to the following descriptions taken in connection with the accompanying drawings in which:

[0006] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of a computer drive system in accordance with the present invention;

[0007] FIGS. 2 and 3 are diagrams illustrating an embodiment of a drive cage installed in the computer drive system of FIG. 1; and

[0008] FIGS. 4 and 5 are diagrams illustrating a profile view of the computer drive system of FIGS. 1-3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] The preferred embodiments of the present invention and the advantages thereof are best understood by referring to FIGS. 1-5 of the drawings, like numerals being used for like and corresponding parts of the various drawings.

[0010] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of a computer drive system 10 in accordance with the present invention. In FIG. 1, computer system 10 is illustrated as a 2U rackmount type of computer system 10; however, it should be understood that the present invention may be incorporated into floor-standing server systems or other types of computer systems. In the illustrated embodiment, drive system 10 comprises a chassis 12 for housing various types of electronic components such as, but not limited to, printed circuit boards, fan or cooling assemblies, and/or, as illustrated in FIG. 1, disk drives 14. Thus, in FIG. 1, chassis 12 is illustrated as a 2U rackmount type of chassis 12; however, as described above, chassis 12 may be configured corresponding to a particular type of desired computer system.

[0011] As illustrated in FIG. 1, system 10 comprises three vertically stacked horizontally oriented drives 14 to maximize the quantity of drives vertically mounted within chassis 12. As used herein, the terms “vertical” or “vertically” shall refer to the direction indicated generally at 13 in FIG. 1 relative to chassis 12, and the terms “horizontal” or “horizontally” shall refer to the direction indicated generally at 15 in FIG. 1 relative to chassis 12. However, it should be understood that a greater or fewer quantity of drives 14 may also be used with system 10.

[0012] In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, drive system 10 also comprises bezels 16 and 18 for cosmetically enhancing a forward-facing or frontal portion 20 of system 10. Bezels 16 and 18 are generally secured to chassis 12 by conventional mechanical means such as, but not limited to, clips or fasteners. Bezels 16 and 18 may also provide functional attributes corresponding to drive system 10 such as, but not limited to, providing an interface for access to various functions components or indicators within system 10 (i.e., light emitting diodes and/or on/off switches) and/or providing a means for manipulating drive system 10 such as a handle or other device. As used herein, the terms “forwardly-facing” or “frontal portion” of drive system 10 refers to the portion of drive system 10 generally accessible by a user to operate drive system 10 or otherwise perform an activity relating to the general use of drive system 10. For example, frontal portion 20 may comprise the portion or area of drive system 10 generally accessible by the user for loading and/or unloading, generally referred to as hot-swapping, drives 14.

[0013] As illustrated in FIG. 1, bezels 16 and 18 are coupled to a forwardly facing mounting surface 30 of chassis 12. Additionally, drives 14 are disposed within chassis 12 extending forwardly to coincide with forwardly facing surfaces of bezels 16 and 18. In the illustrated embodiment, drives 14 are disposed within a bezel-less drive cage 32 to support hot-swapping of drives 14 without requiring removal of a bezel disposed in front of drives 14. As illustrated in FIG. 1, drive cage 32 cooperates with adjacent bezels 16 and 18 to provide uniform surface transitions between drive cage 32 and adjacent bezels 16 and 18 as well as between drive cage 32 and adjacent surfaces of chassis 12. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1, drive cage 32 provides a non-stepped or smooth surface transition to adjacent surfaces of bezels 16 and 18 and adjacent surfaces of chassis 12.

[0014] FIGS. 2 and 3 are diagrams illustrating an embodiment of internal portions of drive system 10 in accordance with the present invention. As best illustrated in FIG. 2, drive cage 32 comprises a plurality of drive cage walls 34 that may be coupled to portions of chassis 12 to secure drive cage 32 within chassis 12. For example, drive cage 32 may be secured to upper and/or lower portions of chassis 12 as well as sidewalls or other structure within chassis 12. Drive cage walls 34 are spaced apart to accommodate the insertion of a desired quantity of drives 14 in the horizontal direction. In FIGS. 1-3, drive cage walls 34 are spaced apart horizontally to accommodate insertion of a single drive 14; however, it should be understood that the horizontal spacing of walls 34 may be otherwise configured to accommodate a greater quantity of drives 14 in the horizontal direction. Drive cage 32 may also be adapted to utilize structure of chassis 12 as a wall 34. As illustrated in FIG. 2, drive cage 32 also comprises a plurality of integrally formed inwardly extending rails 36 to support drives 14 within drive cage 32. In the illustrated embodiment, rails 36 have a generally elongated geometric configuration to provide support to drives 14 over a greater longitudinal length relative to drives 14. However, it should be understood that other types of support means, integrally formed or non-integrally-formed, may be used to support drives 14 within drive cage 32. In the illustrated embodiment, drive cage 32 is configured having a vertical height corresponding to the industry standard 2U height dimension; however, it should be understood that the vertical dimension of drive cage 32 may be otherwise configured to accommodate a desired computer system. Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, the horizontal dimension of drive cage 32 is configured to accommodate a single column of vertically stacked drives 14; however, it should be understood that the horizontal dimension of drive cage 32 may be otherwise configured to accommodate a desired quantity of horizontally adjacent drives 14.

[0015] Referring to FIG. 3, drive cage 32 also comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed forwardly-extending extension members 40 and 42 to provide a uniform and non-stepped transition between adjacent bezels 16 and 18, as illustrated in FIG. 1, and adjacent surfaces of chassis 12. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 3, chassis 12 comprises forwardly facing mounting surface 30 for receiving bezels 16 and 18. As illustrated in FIG. 3, drive cage 32 and, specifically, extension members 40 and 42 protrude or extend forwardly beyond mounting surface 30 to a length corresponding to a size of adjacent bezels 16 and/or 18. Thus, extension members 40 and 42 provide a uniform laterally-extending surface area relative to adjacent bezels 16 and 18 to provide non-stepped or smooth surface transitions between members 40 and 42 and bezels 16 and 18 while providing hot-swapability of drives 14 disposed within drive cage 32. Additionally, as will be described below, extension members 40 and 42 also provide longitudinally uniform support surfaces relative to adjacent surfaces of chassis 12 to provide non-stepped or smooth transitions to adjacent surfaces of chassis 12.

[0016] FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating a profile view of an embodiment of drive cage 32 of FIGS. 1-3, and FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating a profile view of drives 14 disposed within drive cage 32 of FIGS. 1-3. As illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, chassis 12 comprises an upper cover 50 and a lower cover 52. Extension members 40 and 42 are configured to provide a generally smooth or non-stepped transition between extension members 40 and 42 and covers 50 and 52, respectively. In the illustrated embodiment, extension members 40 and 42 are each configured from formed sheet metal; however, extension members 40 and 42 may be otherwise formed and may be formed from other materials. In this embodiment, extension members 40 and 42 are configured having formed or bent surfaces along the forwardly-facing or frontal portion of drive system 10, indicated generally at 60 and 62, respectively, to provide a smooth, non-sharp leading edge for drive cage 32. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 2-5, extension members 40 and 42 are configured from formed sheet metal having at least a two-layer thickness to provide rigidity and to provide a non-sharp leading edge. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, extension member 40 comprises a plurality of oppositely disposed tabs 44 each formed at an end of member 40 and extending downwardly for providing an attachment interface to walls 34 of drive cage 32. Extension member 42 comprises a rearwardly extending tab 46 extending upwardly over a leading portion 48 of cover 52 to provide an attachment interface for member 42 and to provide a uniform and non-stepped or smooth transition between member 42 and cover 52.

[0017] Referring to FIG. 5, in operation, drives 14 are inserted in a generally longitudinal direction into drive cage 32 and are supported by rails 36, as best illustrated in FIG. 4. Drives 14 may be disposed in a drive carrier 70 or may be otherwise loaded into drive cage 32. As best illustrated in FIG. 5, the forwardly-facing portions of drives 14 are disposed proximate to the forwardly-facing or leading edges of extension members 40 and 42 such that extension members 40 and 42 provide upper and lower support for drive carriers 70 and provide a generally uniform, non-stepped or smooth surface transition to adjacent covers 50 and 52 of chassis 12. Additionally, members 40 and 42 may be configured having a longitudinal length extending forwardly from drive cage 32 to accommodate a variety of sizes of bezels 16 and 18 as well as a variety of drive 14 sizes or drive 14 mounting positions within drive cage 32. For example, the longitudinal mounting positions of drives 14 within drive cage 32 may be modified to accommodate a desired forward extension of drives 14 beyond forward mounting surface 30 of chassis 12. Thus, as the longitudinal mounting positions of drives 14 changes, members 40 and 42 may be configured having corresponding longitudinal characteristics to provide support surfaces for drive carriers 70 and/or smooth transition surfaces to adjacent surfaces of bezels and/or surfaces of chassis 12. Further, the present invention also provides for additional area within chassis 12. For example, as bezel-less drive cage 32 moves forward relative to mounting surface 30, additional area within chassis 12 may be utilized for other purposes.