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World’s First Rackmounted Server/PC

The very first rackmounted PC server in the world was designed, manufactured and installed by CCSI (Computer & Control Solutions, Inc.) for a utilities and energy management and control system at Candler General Hospital in Savannah, GA.

 

Over 700 sensors and actuators were installed to monitor and control the hospital’s power plant and buildings. The control room included one rackmounted PC XT server with three rackmounted PC workstations along with three rackmounted monitors, running a Novell network.

 

Chilled water and steam production equipment as well as many other gas and electric appliances were monitored and controlled by the computer network designed and installed by CCSI to optimize the power plant’s energy conversion and production efficiencies. Cogeneration equipment was also designed and implemented to recapture waste heat energy and convert it into usable forms of energy such as steam and chilled water. 

 

This comprehensive project was one of the CCSI’s first complex integrated systems designed, manufactured and installed by founder, Rockney Alavi in the early 1980’s.

World’s First 1U Dual Processor Rackmount Server

 

In 1998 CCSI (Computer & Control Solutions, Inc.) was challenged to double the CPU density of HPC cluster computing utilizing dual Pentium II system boards in a 1U computer chassis. Note this was during the time of the Slot 1 processors long before the socket 370 processors were introduced.

 

Well, CCSI always loves a challenge and set about engineering exactly such a system. The task was daunting, but CCSI accomplished it with some very impressive engineering feats. First we had to design a chassis with increased airflow and this was accomplished with the development of CCSI’s unique asymmetrical “cool corner™” chassis. Next we had to devise a way of mounting two Slot 1 CPUs in a chassis only 1.75” high. Slot 1 CPUs, for those who don’t know, are ~ 2.5” tall, so obviously this called for some serious creativity. Problem solved with a near right angle CPU riser card (we haven’t investigated this point, but we’re pretty sure this was a first as well). Next we had to devise a means of cooling the CPUs which mounted with the CPU hot spot facing down towards the system motherboard. The solution to this challenge required custom a fabricated ultra low profile all copper heat sinks and CCSI’s first Wind Tunnel™ in a rackmounted computer system. Last, CCSI had to develop an adequate 1U power supply for the system, which resulted in another world’s first from CCSI, a 1U 350Watt power supply.

 

Not long after CCSI developed the above system, Intel became aware of the accomplishment and took note of CCSI’s impressive engineering feats in developing what was, the world’s first 1U dual processor server platform. As a result, Intel invited CCSI to design the case and power supply for their Hamer Rapids project, an advanced 1U dual P3 socket 370 server comprised of a three layer mezzanine motherboard providing many features that were unheard of in that era but are now commonplace in modern day 1U servers as well as a hardware encryption card.

After the Hamer Rapids project, AMD also took note of CCSI’s engineering prowess and asked CCSI along with Tyan Computer Corp. to become its technology partners and help AMD develop a server platform to launch their Dual Athlon™ (Thunderbird) processors. Tyan developed the motherboard and CCSI developed the chassis, power supply and cooling system. Adequately cooling the AMD Athlon™ CPUs was much more critical than with Intel CPUs due to the fact that the Athlon™ CPUs had no thermal throttle or over temperature limit as did the Intel CPUs. If not properly cooled, Athlon™ CPUs would literally self destruct in a matter of seconds. CCSI responded to this challenge, by developing a line of thermally correct™ rackmount servers, 1U Athlon™ heat sinks, 1U and 2U Athlon™ specific power supplies and a 2U active Wind Tunnel. It is worthy of note that CCSI was the only AMD technology partner with an operational 1U dual Athlon™ system at the Dual Athlon launch  at Computex in Taiwan, June 23, 1999.

 

Our first Dual AMD processor 1U server was also the world’s first 1U X86 server with redundant hot swap power supplies and our second 1U dual X86 processor server was our RC-0104 with four hot swap hard drives and our third 1U dual X86 processor server was our Clusteron™ HPC cluster server, accommodating 12”x13” dual processor motherboards in a chassis measuring only 1.75”x18”x18”. Our 2U dual processor server was designed as a storage server with up to 8 hot swap hard drives. Our 3U dual processor server was designed for future growth, supporting either 8 or 12 hot swap hard drives. Our 4U server was designed for up to 8 5.25” drives. CCSI continued as an AMD technology partner and later developed the world’s first 1U heat pipe heat sink for the AMD Opteron processors and designed more systems that any other company that were tested in AMD’s labs and passed their stringent thermal test to be able to operate in 35C/95F degree ambient temperatures.

 

CCSI Locations

CCSI occupied three Tucker, GA locations 1580 Stone Ridge Dr. and 1510 Stone Ridge Dr., then 2050 Mountain Industrial Blvd. as we grew then purchased land in Suwanee, GA to build our own facilities and moved temporarily to our present location of 1856 B Buford Hwy, Duluth, GA until construction is completed.

 

   

The old location in Tucker, Georgia, where the company was located in the '90 and early 2000

 

CCSI Products, Inventions & Development

For over 26 years, CCSI has been building leading edge custom designed systems using nonproprietary industry standard components - for all needs from application servers to storage servers to multimedia workstations to HPC clusters. While the company began in the industrial controls arena our concentration over the past 20 years has been on imaging and IT computer systems as well as OEM and ODM design and fabrication. Our distinguished list of clientele includes AT&T, General Electric, HP, INTEL, NASA, Microsoft, FEMA, Lucent Technology, Federal Aviation Administration, US Navy, US Air Force, US ARMY, Thompson Consumer Electronics, Boeing, Brookhaven National Labs, Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Labs, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, L3 Communications, EMCC, Microtouch as well as leading colleges and universities from around the country.

 

We have a long list of interesting projects over the years but we'll only mention a few of the more recent and outstanding ones here.

 

• At the SC 2003 Super Computing show in AMD’s booth, we introduced the CCSI Clusteron™, the world’s first free cooling green cluster and data center integrated chassis and cabinet solution to be adequately cooled with ambient air of up to 95F/35C for full throttle performance. Air Conditioning NOT required!

• We worked closely with AMD and TYAN on thermal and power supply issues for rack mount configurations of Dual AMD Athlon™ servers in the development of our ultra cooled RC0103, RC0222, and RC0452 rack cases.

• In 2002, Siemens choose the CCSI RC-0222 server platform for their automated flat mail sorting system sold to the United States Postal Service. Those 5000 systems are still in use today, nine years later, with exceptional reliability.

• In early 2001 we designed the chassis and power supply for Intel's Hamer Rapids 1U dual P3 mezanine motherboard Internet   information appliance

• In June 2001 we were the only company to have an operational 1U Dual AMD Athlon™ system on display at the initial dual Athlon™ product launch at Taiwan Computex show

• In mid 2001 we designed a rack chassis for tape backups on an ODM basis for HP

• In late 2001 we introduced the CCSI Wind Tunnel ™ that "blows away the competition"

• In October, 2001 CCSI was the first to obtain AMD certification for a 1U chassis and power supply platform for dual AMD Athlon™ Processor Servers

• In June 2001 we were the only company to have an operational 1U Dual AMD Athlon™ system on display at the initial dual Athlon™ product launch at Taiwan Computex show

• In mid 2001 we designed a rack chassis for tape backups on an ODM basis for HP

• In late 2001 we introduced the CCSI Wind Tunnel ™ that "blows away the competition"

• In October, 2001 CCSI was the first to obtain AMD certification for a 1U chassis and power supply platform for dual AMD Athlon™ Processor Servers

• In 2000 we designed the first 1U chassis for dual P3 slot 1 processors using Intel's L440GX motherboard

• In 1992 we designed and built the RapidRaid™ Super Server with 25 redundant, hot-swappable hard drives and 10 redundant hot-swappable power supplies for Universal Studios, Amblin Division for use with the seaQuest DSV prime time TV show.

• In 1991 CCSI's Imagination Station, multimedia authoring station, was introduced in the COMDEX Fall 1991 Multimedia Pavilion and featured in the COMDEX Fall 1991 Program & Exhibits Guide. In the following year, The Imagination Station garnered several awards from industry experts and publications.

• In 1985 CCSI designed one of the first rack mounted PC systems (well ahead of IBM's entry into this market segment)

 

 

CCSI TRADE SHOW EVENTS

Here are some photos of CCSI trade show participation over the years. CCSI exhibited at a variety of trade shows including early Comdex Shows in Atlanta and Las Vegas; in fact CCSI was instrumental in launching the multimedia pavilion at Comdex in Bally’s Casino. CCSI has exhibited the Clusteron™ Super Computer at the Super Computing shows. In addition to working computer specific trade shows, CCSI has exhibited the CCSI Digital Painter™ fine art reproduction system at Art Buyers Caravan and the Screen and Graphics Expo. CCSI has also shared booth space with Fast Electronics, AMD at SC 2003, Intel during the Hamer Rapids introduction and Tyan Computer Corp. at Computex, Taiwan during the launch of the Dual AMD Athlon™ product family.

 

CCSI MAGAZINE ARTICLES & REVIEWS

Below are a few examples of the many magazine articles and reviews of CCSI products dating back to pre-internet era. You can see from these clippings that CCSI has always pushed the performance envelope and has had a special emphasis in graphics and multimedia applications as far back as the early 1990’s.