The Evolution of AC Powered AdvancedTCA Systems for Enterprise Data Center Deployments

The Evolution of AC Powered AdvancedTCA Systems for Enterprise Data Center Deployments

ATCA has been originally developed based on the requirements for the next generation “carrier grade” communications equipment. Traditionally these telecom environments were based on DC power inputs, which led to the development of DC-only ATCA chassis. Over the years, ATCA has begun to find its way into the enterprise and datacenter environments, mainly due the increasing demand for “carrier-grade” availability and manageability requirements for critical enterprise applications, such as security, test and measurement, video, industrial automation, and more. However these environments where mainly AC environments, which required ATCA chassis manufactures to find ways to add AC support to their DC chassis.

First Generation – External AC solutions

The first generation of ATCA chassis to support AC inputs, were based on the addition of an external Power Supply Unit (PSU), which was used as an external “dumb” source for DC power. In this case, the chassis did not offer the “carrier grade” redundancy and manageability of the ATCA standard in terms of the power management. And since the power supply was external to the chassis, it needed to be managed by a third-party monitoring solution, creating an undesirable overhead for the data center operators.

This approach suffered from the following drawbacks:

  • Non-integrated system
  • Partial redundancy and manageability
  • Requires changes to existing monitoring applications
  • Interoperability issues when using off-the-shelf non-ATCA power supplies

ATCA external power supply

External power supply

Second Generation – Integrated AC Solution

A new generation of ATCA enclosures has evolved, offering an integrated AC solution. These enclosures included integrated AC power supplies, which could be easily implemented in the enterprise environments, while allowing internal management within the chassis itself. This meant that the Shelf Manager component could constantly monitor parameters such as presence, temperature, fan status, and voltage levels.
One of the main drawbacks, however, was the fact that the integrated AC solution was pre-integrated into the chassis in a manner that did not support both environments. The VAR/integrator had to order either DC or AC enclosures in advance from the OEM vendor, which created availability and time-to-market challenges, especially at peak times, as quarter end.

Next Generation – Field interchangeable Integrated AC/DC solution

Asis’ new MaXum Series introduces a new approach, which offers the best of both worlds: A fully integrated AC/DC solution that is also field interchangeable. In this case the VAR/integrator can order the enclosures without selecting, in advance, the environment in which it will be implemented (DC or AC). If the environment is DC, the integrator simply inserts one or two DC PEMs. In AC environments, the integrator simply inserts one or two AC PEMs, and adds one or two Power Trays, which can hold up to 10 power supplies.
By integrating the AC solution into the chassis and managing it through the Shelf Manager, Asis’ MaXum series supports fully redundant N+1 and N+N configurations. The redundancy can be implemented across the following elements:

Redundant AC PEMs – The power from the PSUs to the shelf is provided via two field replaceable AC PEM units, each with a rating of -48 VDC and up to 250 AMP. Each PEM is capable of supplying 100% of shelf power, while the two-PEM configuration provides full power redundancy.

Single AC PEM

Redundant power trays and PSUs – the AC solution includes one or two AC power trays with field replaceable power supplies. Each AC power tray is available in the following configurations:

  • 5 power supplies of 1.6 KW each
  • 4 power supplies of 2.5 KW each
  • Other configurations and power supplies are available upon request

If one tray is used, depending on the power requirement, both N+1 and N+N redundancy can be implemented.
To achieve N+N across ALL elements, including the power trays, two power trays should be used. In this case each power tray is connected to one of the PEMs.

Redundant AC power sources – two power trays can be connected to two redundant power sources for maximum availability. In addition, a single tray can be also connected to two power sources.

Two AC PEMs each connected to a another power tray (N+N configuration)

Two AC PEMs each connected to a another power tray (N+N configuration)

Advantages of field interchangeable Integrated AC/DC

  • Versatility – the same chassis can be used for both Telecom (DC) and Enterprise (AC) environments. The VAR/Integrator can purchase and stock a single P/N and decide to deploy either AC or DC Systems according to their customers need.
  • Redundancy – the chassis can be upgraded from N+1 to N+N without being removed from the cabinet.
  • Scalability – an additional power tray and more PSUs can be added if the power consumption goes up due to an increased in the number of blades or due to an upgrade of blades that require more power, all without removing the chassis from the cabinet.

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