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System Chassis Design and Interconnect Hardware

Fri, 09/28/2001 - 9:40am
Tracewell Systems has introduced a series of system chassis products based on interconnect boards that make it possible to integrate a full-size PCI Mezzanine Card (PMC), two external PMC sites, and one embedded PMC/PCI slot in an EIA 1U or sub-1U chassis. These packages facilitate the creation of some of the most space-efficient rack-mount computer packages available for telecom/datacom, data acquisition, and other industrial computing applications, without requiring the use of space-robbing PMC carrier modules or extenders.

Tracewell's "Multi Node" chassis provides the cost benefits of existing PCI technology, the robustness and connectivity of Compact PCI, and higher computing density than traditional packaging strategies. The Multi Node concept consists of a 10 U, 19-wide, EIA-compliant rack mount chassis that is subdivided into a computer module section and a separate, centralized power/cooling section. Systems are built in 10 U segments, each of which can contain up to 12 complete computer modules; each computer module is a separate, removable sub-chassis that can house PCI and PMC cards, custom circuitry, and I/O. The system integrator has tremendous latitude to choose the most effective combination of cost saving PCI processing and peripherals for an application, while the Multi-Node chassis provides the structural integrity and hot swap capability of Compact PCI. Tracewell's microprocessor-based Chassis Monitoring and Management (CMM) module can be added to provide remote control, remote monitoring, data logging, power cycling, and event recording.

Multi-Node uses redundant power and cooling for enhanced reliability and greater cost effectiveness. A centralized array of industrial power supplies in an N+1 configuration means any one of the power supplies can fail without affecting operation of the system (operation from DC or AC mains is available). Similarly, redundant system cooling is supplied through the use of a centralized array of fans. Segregation of power supplies and cooling from computer modules offers a number of advantages unique to Multi-Node. Individual computer modules can be made smaller and more space efficient because power supplies and fans are not duplicated in every module. This permits simpler, yet more effective, fault-tolerant power and cooling to be used in the system for higher reliability and lower cost. Further, power supply heat can be kept clear of computer modules, maintaining more consistent temperatures for enhanced reliability. Finally, further cost savings are realized through the standardization of structural components.

The same interconnect hardware used in the Multi-Node computing module has been adapted to a stand-alone chassis module that is ideal for applications requiring a smaller number of computing nodes. The 1 U version contains a 175 W power supply, a cooling system, and up to four sites for PMC, PCI, and PCMCIA cards. This system provides many of the benefits of the split-chassis Multi-Node design, including high density, remote monitoring/control capability, and cost effectiveness.

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