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Title:
TRAYS TO RECEIVE STORAGE DEVICES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/039594
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An example device in accordance with an aspect of the present disclosure includes a tray to couple to a computing system. A plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors receive a corresponding plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices in the tray. A second connector is electrically coupled to the plurality of first connectors, and is to couple to the computing system via a cable that is to accommodate a first position and a second position of the tray with at least one of the storage devices remaining active.

Inventors:
NORTON, John (11445 Compaq Center Dr W, Houston, TX, 77070, US)
BRIGGS, Scott, W. (11445 Compaq Center Dr W, Houston, TX, 77070, US)
YATES, James, Kenneth (11445 Compaq Center Dr W, Houston, TX, 77070, US)
KALER, Paul (11445 Compaq Center Dr W, Houston, TX, 77070, US)
Application Number:
US2015/047552
Publication Date:
March 09, 2017
Filing Date:
August 28, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT LP (11445 Compaq Center Drive West, Houston, TX, 77070, US)
International Classes:
G11B17/02; G11B33/02
Foreign References:
US20140362515A12014-12-11
US20110249392A12011-10-13
US20110267761A12011-11-03
US20140340837A12014-11-20
US20140105676A12014-04-17
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WARD, Aaron, S. (Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 3404 E. Harmony RoadMail Stop 7, Fort Collins CO, 80528, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1 . A device comprising:

a tray to couple to a computing system, wherein the tray is slidable between a first position and a second position relative to the computing system; a main board coupled to the tray;

a plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors coupled to the main board, to receive a corresponding plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices in the tray; and

a second connector coupled to the main board and electrically coupled to the plurality of first connectors, wherein the second connector is to couple to the computing system via a cable that is to accommodate the first position and the second position of the tray with at least one of the storage devices remaining active.

2. The device of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of hot-plug switches corresponding, respectively, to the plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors, to enable a given first connector to perform safe power down and safe power up of its corresponding storage device,

3. The device of claim 2, wherein the plurality of hot-plug switches are operable in response to securing or unsecuring a given storage device to its given corresponding first connector.

4. The device of claim 2, further comprising a controller coupled to the main board, to coordinate power signals between the plurality of first connectors and their corresponding plurality of hot-plug switches.

5. The device of claim 1 , further comprising a plurality of indicators corresponding, respectively, to the plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors, to indicate statuses of the corresponding plurality of storage devices.

6. The device of claim 1 , wherein the storage devices are based on the M.2 form factor specification.

7. The device of claim 1 , wherein the tray is captured by a bay of the computing system, such that the tray is stopped when extended from the first position to the second position.

8. The device of claim 7, further comprising flexible tray retainers to slide within corresponding slots in the bay, wherein a given tray retainer includes a lead-in and hinge to deflect upon insertion of the tray into the bay.

9. The device of claim 1 , wherein the tray is sized to fit a small form factor (SFF) bay of the computing system.

10. A computing system comprising:

a bay that is front accessible at the computing system;

a tray coupled to the bay, wherein the tray is slidable between a first position retracted into the computing system, and a second position extended from the computing system;

a main board coupled to the tray;

a plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors coupled to the main board, to receive a corresponding plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices; and

a second connector coupled to the main board and electrically coupled to the plurality of first connectors, wherein the second connector is to couple to the computing system via a cable that is to accommodate the first position and the second position of the tray while allowing at least one of the storage devices to remain active.

1 1 . The computing system of claim 10, further comprising a plurality of hot-plug switches corresponding, respectively, to the plurality of first connectors, to selectively secure and release the corresponding storage devices and signal the device to perform safe power down and safe power up.

12. The computing system of claim 10, further comprising a plurality of indicators disposed on the tray to indicate corresponding respective statuses of the plurality of storage devices, wherein the plurality of indicators are visible on the tray when the tray is in the first position.

13. A method, comprising:

slidabiy coupling a tray to a computing system, wherein the tray is slidable between a first position and a second position;

receiving a plurality of independent storage devices at a corresponding plurality of first connectors coupled to a main board in the tray; and

coupling a second connector of the main board to the computing system via a cable that is to accommodate the first position and the second position of the tray with at least one of the storage devices remaining active, wherein the second connector is electrically coupled to the plurality of first connectors.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising selectively securing and releasing the storage devices based on a plurality of hot-plug switches corresponding, respectively, to the plurality of first connectors, to enable a given first connector to perform safe power down and safe power up of its corresponding storage device.

15. The method of claim 13, further comprising indicating, via a plurality of indicators disposed on the tray, statuses of corresponding respective storage devices coupled to the first connectors, wherein the plurality of indicators are visible on the tray when the tray is in the first position or the second position.

Description:
TRAYS TO RECEIVE STORAGE DEVICES

BACKGROUND

[0001] Computing systems can make use of additional storage. Expansion storage can be provided to computing systems based on propriety designs that are associated with a need for additional dedicated circuitry. Such added cost and complexity can involve active components that can fail or otherwise affect the reliability of the additional storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS/FIGURES

[0002] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a device including first and second connectors according to an example.

[0003] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a device including first and second connectors according to an example.

[0004] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a device including first and second connectors according to an example.

[0005] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a computing system including a tray according to an example.

[0008] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a computing system including a tray according to an example.

[0007] FIG. 6 is a flow chart based on receiving storage devices in a tray according to an example.

[0008] FIG. 7 is a flow chart based on receiving, securing/releasing, and indicating the status of storage devices in a tray according to an example. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0009] Computing systems, such as servers, can accommodate front- accessible storage systems. However, storage systems can be high-cost and high-complexity. To address such issues, examples described herein may- accommodate a plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices in a slidable tray. A device can be enabled as hot-pluggable based on the tray and switches enabling the device to be added and/or removed from a computing system without a need to shut down or otherwise interrupt operation of the computing system, e.g., based on selectively controlling signals to the device through a hot plug switch. The fray can accommodate a first retracted position to protect the storage devices, and a second extended position to allow access to and servicing of the storage devices. At least one of the storage devices can remain active when sliding the tray between positions or servicing other storage devices, e.g., the active device can remain powered/operable and communicating with the computing system, in this manner, examples described herein may provide a simplified low-cost front-accessible implementation of hot-pluggable high density storage, such as storage based on the M.2 form factor. The M.2 form factor has been used for internally mounted computer expansion cards, based on flexible physical specifications to allow different module widths and lengths while accommodating computer bus interfaces such as peripheral component interconnect (PCI) express 3.0 (up to four lanes), serial ATA 3.0, and universal serial bus (USB) 3.0.

[0010] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a device 101 including first and second connectors 1 14, 1 16 according to an example. The device 101 is slidably coupled to computing system 10(3 at bay 102, based on a retracted first position 104 (whereby the fray is refracted into the bay 102) and the illustrated second position 106, extended from the computing system 100 to access the device 101 . The device 101 also includes a tray 1 10, a main board 1 12, and storage device(s) 120.

[001 1] The tray 101 can be sized according to the computing system 100 and available space. For example, the tray 101 can be sized to fit in a small form factor (SFF) bay of a computer server. The connectors 1 14, 1 16 and storage devices 120 can be based on off-the-shelf computer components/parts, to enable low-cost, non-proprietary construction. The main board 1 12 can be customized to accommodate the various components corresponding to the chosen number of storage devices 120 to be accommodated for a given installation,

[0012] A plurality of first connectors 1 14 are shown. A single storage device 120 is shown interfaced with a corresponding one of the plurality of first connectors 1 14 to provide storage to the computing system 100. A plurality of storage devices 120 can be supported by the plurality of first connectors 1 14. Storage devices 120 are removable from the tray 1 10 independent of each other, such that a given storage device 120 may be removed individually (e.g., for servicing a malfunctioned storage device 120 when remaining storage devices 120 continue to operate). Thus, the device 101 enables a plurality of storage devices 120 to be individually replaceable/redundant, without a need to shut down other storage devices that are not being replaced, thereby avoiding a need for down time by the computing system 100. Furthermore, a given storage device 120 can be removed without powering down the main board 1 10, based on the main board 1 10 enabling hot pluggable support for the first connectors 1 14. For example, a controller can send notifications to the device to power down, as triggered by a corresponding hot plug switch, wherein the notifications/signals to power down are sent through the connectors. The first connectors 1 14 can be chosen to be compatible with standard storage devices 120, such as those based on the M.2 form factor, the mini serial AT Attachment (mSATA) form factor, or other standard form factors without a need for custom-designed storage devices 120. The device 101 is scalable, based on the use of second connector 1 16 to couple with the computing system 100. For example, a greater or fewer number of first connectors 1 14 can be coupled to the second connector 1 16, arranged in a suitable form factor appropriate for a given installation/computing system 100 application. For example, the bay 102 of the computing system 100 may be based on a small form factor (SFF) bay of approximately 2.5 inches wide and 15 millimeters high (or other SFF standard regarding block size of the device 101 ).

[0013] FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a device 201 including first and second connectors 214, 216 according to an example. The device 201 is slidably coupled to computing system 200 at bay 202, with the device 201 shown extended from the computing system 200 for access to the tray 210 and its contents. The device 201 also includes the tray 210, a main board 212, and storage device(s) 220. The main board 212 includes first connectors 214 to couple with the storage devices 220. The first connectors 214 are coupled to the second connector 216 via the controller 232. The second connector 216 is coupled to the computing system 200 via cable 208. The storage devices 220 are secured to the main board 212 via switches 230. The switches 230 are also coupled to the controller 232. Indicators 234 are used to indicate a status of their corresponding storage devices 220 and/or first connectors 214, and may use a light pipe 236 to transmit the indicator light to a front of the tray 210 so as to be visible when the tray is retracted in the first position into the bay 202 of the computing system 200. in alternate examples, the indicators 234 may be mounted to an externally visible portion of the tray 210.

[0014] As set forth above regarding the example of FIG. 1 , the connectors 214, 216 and cable 208 can be based on standard off-the-shelf components. For example, the first connectors 214 may be based on M.2 connectors corresponding to M.2 storage devices 220. The second connector 216 and cable 208 may be based on a standard cable and coupling having enough pins with sufficient communication capability to communicate the various signals generated by the plurality of storage devices 220 and their corresponding first connectors 214. In an example, the cable 208 and second connector 216 can be based on a plurality of data lanes, and can be based on a form factor such as a mini serial attached small computer system interface (mini~SAS) type connector/cable.

[0015] The controller/switch 232 is coupled to the main board 212, to coordinate signals (such as data and/or power signals) between the second connector 216, the plurality of first connectors 214, and/or their corresponding plurality of switches 230. As illustrated, both data and power signals can pass through the controller/switch 232. in alternate examples, the data signals may bypass the controller/switch 232 and pass directly between the first connectors 214 to the second connector 216, such that the controller/switch 232 serves to selectively interrupt power signals to the first connectors 214 based on a status/operation of the switches 230. A single controller/switch 232 is shown in FIG. 2, and in alternate examples, a plurality of controllers/switches 232 may be used (e.g., one switch 232 per one of the first connectors 214). A power regulator(s) (not shown) may deliver power to the first connectors 214 under selective control of the controller 232 based on operation of the switches 230 (e.g., a power regulator may serve as or be incorporated into the controller/switch 232).

[0016] The switches 230 are to enable hot pluggabiiity to the first connectors 214. The switches 230 can be implemented, for example, as first and second members to receive a fastener to physically secure the storage device and electrically couple the first and second members, to electrically couple corresponding main board traces to selectively enable/disable power through the connector (e.g., directly and/or based on a controller to interpret the selective coupling between members), in another example, the members can be implemented based on a first member to pivotaily mount a second member that is to selectively physically secure the storage device by pivoting, and actuate a switch to selectively electrically couple the main board traces. Thus, the plurality of hot-plug switches 230 are operable in response to securing or unsecuring a given storage device 220 to its given corresponding first connector 214. The switch 230 can be operated in response to initiating removal of the storage device 220, resulting in disconnection of power from the storage device 220 that shuts it down prior to physical removal, enabling the storage device 220 to be safely removed. The switches 230 may be various types of switches, such as a dip switch, rotary switch, or other type of switch to provide the functionality described above regarding safe power down and power up of the storage device 220. in alternate examples, the switch 230 may be provided as two separate components (e.g., a mechanical switch and an electrical switch) to enable safe removal of the storage devices 220.

[0017] The indicators 234 are used to indicate a status of the storage device 220 and/or its first connector 214 (e.g., including showing status of the first connector 214 when a storage device 220 is not present), in an example, the indicators 234 may be multi-color light emitting diodes (LEDs), electrically coupled to the connectors 214, 216, switches 230, and/or the controller/switch 232. The indicators 234 may be used to locate a given storage device 220 (e.g., to identify which is in need of servicing, for easy reference). The indicators 234 can show data transmission/activity of the storage device 220, its health status, its fault status, or other indications (e.g., based on color and/or pulsing/intensity). The light pipe 236 can couple light from the indicator 234 to a remote location, such as the front of tray 210 to show indicator activity while the tray 210 is in the first retracted position, without a need to open the tray 210. The indicators 234 can be responsive to a locate command, e.g., as issued by a smart drive carrier of a smart array controller or other hardware/software. The locate command is to translate a logical drive of the computing system 200 into a location of a corresponding physical drive of the computing system 200, and pass a signal via the cable 208 to activate the corresponding indicator 234 corresponding to that desired storage device 220.

[0018] Thus, examples described herein enable a base tray 210 that is captured in a SFF bay 202 of a computing system 200, e.g., guided by a slot on either side of a drive cage of the bay 202. The tray 210 includes a basic printed circuit board as the main board 212 attached with standard first connectors 214, indicators 234, hot plug switches 230, and a standard second connector 216 attached via cable 208 to the computing system 200. The tray 210 can include a latching and/or retention mechanism for securing and/or retaining the tray 210, and can include cable management features as appropriate for a given implementation to allow the cable 208 to move with the siidable tray 210. The tray 210 can be captured in the bay 202, allowing the tray 210 to be opened enough to allow access to the storage devices 220, without over extending the cable.

[0019] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a device 301 including first and second connectors 314, 316 according to an example. The device 301 also includes a tray 310, a latch 322, a main board 312, and storage devices 320. The main board 312 is secured to the tray 310 by fasteners 338 (such as screws or the like), and includes switches 330 to secure the storage device 320, and indicators 334 to indicate a status of the storage devices 320/first connectors 314. The tray 310 includes tray retainers 318.

[0020] Three M.2 storage devices 320 are shown, dimensioned to allow the tray 310 to fit within a standard SFF bay of a computing system. In alternate examples, a greater or fewer number of storage devices 320, or storage devices 320 of different dimensions, may be used.

[0021] The switches 330 can serve to mechanically secure the storage devices 320 without a need for tools, as well as to electrically enable hot-plugging functionality for safely powering down and powering up the storage devices 320 in response to mechanically operating the switch 330. For example, the switch 330 may be rotated to initially break a circuit to remove power from the storage device 320, and subsequently mechanically disengage the end portion of the storage device 320, as described above regarding pivota!ly-based members to selectively secure the device while selectively electrically enabling a switch. The indicators 334 are shown as compact square LEDs, to locate a given storage device 320 and/or indicate its status/health, whether it needs to be replaced, and so on.

[0022] The tray retainers 318 are illustrated positioned on an outside region toward a rear of the tray 31 (3. The tray retainers 318 control how far the tray 31 (3 can be extended, by working in conjunction with a corresponding slot in the bay of the computing system in which the tray 310 is to be installed. The tray retainer 318 is shown having a slanted lead-in and neck to enable a living hinge deflection of the fray retainer 318 upon insertion of the tray 310 at the bay. For example, the tray 310 can snap into place onto rails of the computing system when inserting the tray 310 without a need for tools, thereby preventing the tray 310 from being pulled out accidentally. The tray 310 may be removed by manually flexing the tray retainers 318 inward to clear the ends of the slots, e.g., to service or replace a physically damaged tray 310. The tray 310 may be slidabiy retained based on other mechanisms, such as drawer slides or other siidabie mechanisms.

[0023] The cable 308 is illustrated as a ribbon cable having extra slack, showing how the cable 308 can be routed based on cable management to enable it to bundle up when the tray 310 is in the retracted first position, and allowing the cable 308 to extend when the tray 310 is pulled out in the extended second position. The cable 308 can fold up on itself based on various cable management techniques, such as pre-forming the cable to cause It to bend and fold according to a service loop(s) (e.g., using an S-shape loop folding over on itself).

[0024] The latch 322 is illustrated on a front of the tray 310. The latch 322 enables the tray 310 to be secured inside the bay of the computing system. The latch 322 may be used to prevent inadvertent opening of the tray 310. In alternate examples, the latch 322 may be lockable using a key or other locking mechanism/electronics.

[0025] FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a computing system 400 including a tray 410 according to an example. The computing system 400 also includes a bay 402 to receive the tray 410. The tray 410 is slidabie within the bay 402 based on slots 419 along sides of the bay 402. The tray 410 is electrically coupled to the computing system 400 by cable 408, shown extended to accommodate the tray 410 in the second, extended position. The tray 410 includes indicators 434, positioned to be visible on a front of the tray 410 even when the tray 410 is in the retracted first position. Storage devices 420 are coupled to first connectors 414 and secured by switches 430.

[0026] The cable 408 is shown as a ribbon cable, which can connect the tray 410 to the computing system 400 via an expansion board or other direct connection to, e.g., peripheral component interconnect express (PCie) lanes coupled to a central processing unit (CPU) of the computing system 400. in alternate examples, the cable 408 may be connected to a connector corresponding to a redundant array of independent disks (RA!D)-on-chip (ROC) connector installed in the computing system 400. The cable 408 can be connected to various types of backplane connectors in the computing system 400, with corresponding functionality at the main board of the tray 410 to accommodate the type of backplane connection (e.g., via a controller on the main board), in an example, the computing system 400 can include an expansion card to pick up the power and PCie lanes (or other lanes, such as SATA or SAS etc.) and couple them to the first connectors 414 via the cable 408 interfaced with a second connector at the main board of the tray 410. [0027] The slot 419 in the bay 402 of the computing system 40(3 allows the tray retainers of the tray 410 (not visible in FIG. 4; see FIG. 3) to slide back and forth while capturing the tray 410, to prevent the tray 410 from inadvertently being pulled completely out of the computing system 400 which may risk damage.

[0028] In alternate examples, the tray 410 and/or the computing system 40(3 may include a modular bay system, such that the tray 410 may be retrofit into the bay 402 of an existing computing system 400. A bay 402 lacking the slots 419 can be swapped out for a bay 402 including the slots 419 to accommodate the fray 410. Alternatively, instead of slots 419, examples may use rails attached to the tray 410 and/or bay 402 (e.g., drawer slides) that can slide.

[0029] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a computing system 500 including a tray 510 according to an example. The latch 522 enables the tray 510 to be selectively secured in the retracted/closed first position within the bay 502 of the computing system 500. The cable 508 is shown extended to accommodate the extended tray 51 (3 in the extended second position, with tray retainer 518 stopping at an edge of the slot 519 to entrap the fray 510 and prevent its removal from the computing system 500. if removal of the tray 510 is desired, the tray retainers 518 may be depressed inward from a side of the bay 502, and the tray retainers 518 will flex inward to release the tray 510. The computing system 500 is shown with the external case removed, to expose the bay 502 and other inner components of the computing system 500.

[0030] Referring to Figures 6 and 7, flow diagrams are illustrated in accordance with various examples of the present disclosure. The flow diagrams represent processes that may be utilized in conjunction with various systems and devices as discussed with reference to the preceding figures. While illustrated in a particular order, the disclosure is not intended to be so limited. Rather, it is expressly contemplated that various processes may occur in different orders and/or simultaneously with other processes than those illustrated.

[0031] FIG. 6 is a flow chart 600 based on receiving storage devices in a tray according to an example. In block 610, a tray is siidably coupled to a computing system. The tray is siidabie between a first position and a second position. For example, the tray may include tray retainers that slide along slots of a bay of the computing system, and that deflect upon insertion of the tray at the computing system enabling tool-less installation, in block 620, a plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices are received at a corresponding plurality of hot- pluggable first connectors coupled to a main board in the tray. For example, M.2 storage devices may be inserted into the first connectors and retained based on switches that enable hot-piuggability of the storage devices in conjunction with mechanical operation of the switches to mechanically secure the storage devices at the first connectors, in block 630, a second connector of the main board is coupled to the computing system via a cable that is to accommodate the first position and the second position of the tray with at least one of the storage devices remaining active wherein the second connector is electrically coupled to the plurality of first connectors. For example, the cable can include slack to accommodate movement of the tray, and the cable can communicate signals for a plurality of storage devices in the tray such that each storage device is independently removable from the tray without needing to shut down other devices in the tray and thereby avoid downtime.

[0032] FIG. 7 is a flow chart 700 based on receiving, securing/releasing, and indicating the status of storage devices in a tray according to an example, in block 710, a plurality of independently hot-pluggable storage devices are received at a corresponding plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors in a siidabie tray. For example, a plurality of storage devices are coupled to the tray, while remaining independently serviceable without a need to shut down operation of the healthy storage devices. In block 720, the storage devices are selectively secured and released based on a plurality of hot-plug switches corresponding, respectively, to the plurality of hot-pluggable first connectors, to enable a given first connector to perform safe power down and safe power up of its corresponding storage device. For example, a switch can be operated by hand without a need for tools, to electrically power down its corresponding storage device while mechanically releasing that device from its first connector, in a single, simple motion. In block 730, statuses of corresponding respective first connectors are indicated, via a plurality of indicators disposed on the tray, wherein the plurality of indicators are visible on the tray when the tray is in the first position or the second position. For example, LED indicators of a tray can simultaneously be used indicate a health of a first storage device, indicate a location of a second storage device, and indicate a need for servicing a third storage device.