Modular ARM based industrial with PC style expansion slots

New features of multiple Compute Modules 4 brought to new ClusBerry series

Accompanying the release of ModBerry 500-CM4 and AI GATEWAY 9500-CM4, we present to you a cluster version of the device, called ClusBerry 9500-CM4. Main difference between standard Gateway and ClusBerry is the possibility to include multiple Compute Module 4 in one device, as well as the intended suitable amount of wired and wireless interfaces, suited for the project.

Fully configurable devices are something desirable in the IoT market, where high performance and low cost is a key factor to success of implementation. TECHBASE’s Industrial IoT Ecosystem gives the opportunity to adjust ordered devices with certain resources and cut unnecessary I/Os, lowering the total cost of the device. 

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Cluster

Reason for use of CM4 cluster in ClusBerry 9500-CM4

Various implementations must have guaranteed high hardware performance to react fast enough in real time. For this purpose, the arrays of processor blocks are constructed to be assigned to individual tasks. For several years now, attempts have been made to use various types of SBC for this purpose, including, of course, Raspberry Pi.. However, the practical effectiveness of such solutions so far has not been of interest for several reasons. First of all, these solutions were most often associated with many mechanical limitations and the structure of the matrix itself required excessive wiring, preventing failure-free operation and the cost of the entire maintenance of the structure.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Cluster

This is where Raspberry Pi Compute Module can shine, but due to the hardware speed limitations of the buses in this module, it was not completely effective and was rather a development platform. Altho the introduction of new Compute Module 4 has opened the possibility to construct and maintain effective hardware matrix solutions with the use of both PCI-Express buses and 1GBps Ethernet. Therefore, the ClusBerry 9500-CM4 opens up completely new capabilities of utilizing cluster solutions for Industrial Automation and server applications.

Wide range of ClusBerry modules

ClusBerry 9500-CM4 supports up to 8 cluster modules and comes with a variety of interchangeable modules to choose from, including:

  • Standard 9500-CM4 cluster module with Compute Module 4 and chosen configuration:
    • I/O Controller with range of DI, DO, AI, 1-Wire, RS-232/485 and CAN interfaces
    • Communication Gateway with wired (1/2x Ethernet, Serial Ports) and wireless interfaces (LTE-cat.M1, 4G, 5G, LoRa, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wireless M-Bus)
    • AI Gateway with 1x Coral Edge TPU via PCIe M.2, introduced in December 2020: https://iiot-shop.com/product/ai-gateway/ or up to 4x Coral Edge TPU via USB3.0
  • NAS File Server with 2x SSD SATA III and RAID support, managed with Nextcloud or ownCloud software
  • USB3.0 Hub for 5G communication, Modems, AI Cluster and peripherals
  • Gigabit LAN/WAN Router with additional 2.5GbE network card as an independent switch/router shielded from the mainboard cluster network
  • SuperCap / Power management module for backup power supply (supercapacitors / Li-Ion battery) and sleep mode management aided with ESP32-module
  • Additional expansion cards, with resources suited for the installation (DIO, AIO, Serial Ports and dedicated sensor cards, detailed below)
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Cluster

ClusBerry 9500-CM4 with available expansion cards 

ClusBerry 9500-CM4 can be equipped with multiple expansion cards, e.g. serial RS-232/485 ports, range of digital and analog I/Os, USB, HDMI and Ethernet. Interfaces can be expanded with additional I/Os and opto-isolation, relays, Ethernet, 1-Wire, CAN, M-Bus Master and Slave, accelerometer and many more features like TPM Security Chip & eSIM. The device can also be equipped with additional SuperCap backup power source for continuous work and safe boot/shutdown in case of emergency.

ClusBerry 9500-CM4 series also offers a standard PCI module support for various wireless communication protocols, such as:

  • GSM modem (4G/LTE and fast 5G modem)
  • economic NarrowBand-IoT technology
  • LoRa, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Sigfox, Wireless M-Bus
  • secondary Wi-Fi/Bluetooth interface or Wi-Fi Hi-Power
  • custom wireless interfaces

Software cluster management with Docker and K3s Lightweight Kubernetes

With use of Docker-based and Kubernetes solutions, installation and management of ClusBerry 9500-CM4 is easy and backed with a large community for further support and development. Kubernetes is a portable, extensible open-source software platform for managing containerized tasks and sites that enables declarative configuration and automation. The Kubernetes ecosystem is large and dynamically developing. Kubernetes services, support and tools are widely available.

Kubernetes provides:

  • Detection of new services and traffic. Kubernetes can balance the load and redirect the network traffic to ensure the stability of the entire installation.
  • Kubernetes data storage management enables you to automatically mount any type of storage system – on-premises, from cloud providers and others.
  • Automatic deployment and rollback. You can describe the expected state of your installation with Kubernetes, which will take care of bringing the actual state to the expected state in a controlled manner. For example, with Kubernetes, you can manage your cluster modules at ease, boot modules from one to another, upgrade firmware crosswise and provide safe operation of each module
  • Automatic management of available resources. ClusBerry 9500-CM4 provides a cluster of modules that Kubernetes can use to run tasks in containers. You determine the CPU power and RAM requirements for each container. Kubernetes arranges containers on machines in such a way as to make the best use of provided resources.
  • Self-healing Kubernetes reboots containers that have stopped working, replaces them with new ones, forces disabling containers that are not responding to certain status queries, and does not announce their availability until they are ready to run.
  • Managing confidential information and Kubernetes configuration with TPM Security Chip allows you to store and manage confidential information such as passwords, OAuth tokens and SSH keys. Secured data and configuration information can be provided and changed without having to rebuild the container image and without exposing sensitive data in the overall software configuration.
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Cluster

ClusBerry 9500-CM4 availability

First prototypes are being developed, since Compute Module 4 is already available for the purchase. Delivery time for various configurations of ClusBerry will be approximately 2 months, depending on the CM4 supply on the market and chosen expansion cards. For more information contact TECHBASE’s Sales Department via email or Live Chat here.

Almost half of IoT developers use AI in their projects

The latest research results from IoT Newark developers reveal that 49% of respondents use AI in their IoT applications. There is also a growing concern about user privacy and the more frequent introduction of ready equipment.

35% of respondents think security is the major concern for any IoT implementation, mainly due to the type of data collected from the things (machines) and humans, which is very sensitive & personal. We can expect to see more and more encryption everywhere. Businesses who initiate IoT projects treat IoT security as their top priority.

SBCs the main platform for Industrial IoT

SBC is still the preferred hardware foundation for IoT gates, then 54%, followed by personal projects (30%) and silicon supplier platforms (13%). It is unclear whether the latter includes a commercial computing module. As shown in the graph above, many IoT programmers need third party help, especially for edge-to-cloud communication.

About 45% of respondents use environmental sensors for IoT devices, followed by motion sensors (26%) and optical / image sensors (15%). WiFi (67%) is the most popular wireless technology in Internet of Things projects. The next places are Low cellular energy and Bluetooth, followed by LoRa at 21%. The survey results also include responses to programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT data, project motivation and more.

Artificial Intelligence influencing Industrial IoT

From the end of 2017 to 2018, artificial intelligence-specific processors (AI) began to appear on mobile devices. The goal is to make smartphones more intelligent. As GPUs shrink, AI-related equipment becomes necessary for the Internet of Things.

Support for enterprises from platforms such as Google TensorFlow will be introduced in 2020 with equipment adapted to artificial intelligence. TensorFlow is already optimized for mobile devices and can be quickly launched on single-board computers. In many ways, AI frameworks are better than other mobile frameworks, such as ReactJS. The AI structure is not designed to work with the user interface. It’s perfect for the Internet of Things.

Until the end of 2020, artificial intelligence will be as important for IoT devices as the cloud.