Sfera Labs has launched the new Strato Pi CM Duo, a compact Raspberry Pi Compute Module carrier module, specifically designed to create a robust hardware platform for critical edge computing applications.
Edge computing solutions are often installed in remote locations, where physical access to the devices is limited and expensive, and at the same time are expected to have a very long service life. In these conditions, it is crucial to allow safe in-field software and firmware upgrades and to implement specific hardware features to recover from the most likely hardware and software issues.
The new Strato Pi CM Duo has two microSD card slots and an innovative high speed switch matrix that allows the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Lite to boot the operating system from either SD card, while at the same time have full access to the other SD card for additional storage or to keep an up-to-date failover image of the operating system and data.
Thanks to this architecture, a full-image upgrade of the Pi's operating system can be performed on one SD card, while the system is running from the other card. After the new image is verified, the Strato Pi CM Duo can restart the Compute Module, booting from the second SD card. And, if the boot process is not successful, it will safely roll back to the original SD card.
This is the best possible way to perform a full-system upgrade on a remote system, quite similar to the dual-bank flash memory architecture of some micro-controllers, now available on a hardware platform that supports a wide range of advanced operating systems.
A dedicated microcontroller takes care of the Strato Pi CM Duo housekeeping and includes a fully configurable hardware watchdog that can power-cycle the Compute Module, the SD cards, and the USB ports, as well as swapping the boot SD cards if the system becomes unresponsive.
Strato Pi CM Duo includes two USB ports. They can be individually power-cycled and there are circuit fault protection and detection on each port. Should an external USB powered device connected to the Strato Pi CM Duo become stuck, it could be easily turned off and back on under the Pi's control, possibly avoiding long downtimes and costly on-site maintenance.
Furthermore, the Strato Pi CM Duo microcontroller's firmware can be upgraded from the Pi itself, remotely and with the Raspberry Pi remaining fully functional during the upgrade, thanks to the pre-installed boot loader and our open source utilities.
The Strato Pi CM Duo includes a Secure Element chip, enabling the storage of security keys and the implementation of other security features on a dedicated hardware device.
Strato Pi CM Duo has several other notable features, like:
- a capable 9-28Vdc internal voltage regulator stage, with surge and reverse polarity protection
- a real-time clock with replaceable back-up battery
- one isolated RS-485 interface
- one 10/100 Ethernet port
- power supply and serial connections on a pluggable terminal block
- compatible with all Raspberry Pi Compute Module versions, from CM1 to CM3+
- packaged in a compact 2 modules DIN rail case
- CE, FCC, and IC compliant