What is Hot Swapping?

Those who already took a closer look into the components of a Mini-PC, for instance SSDs, or researched the term RAID, have probably also heard of “Hot Swapping”. What that is and which benefits Hot Swapping has, we want to explain in this article.

A Hot Swap is basically the exchange of PC periphery while the system is running. The components that need to be exchanged, are not connected to the operating system or any other software. In doing so, neither the power supply is interrupted, nor the system is rebooted.  

Let’s assume that a fan shows damage while the PC is running: Thanks to Hot Swapping the broken fan can be exchanged easily. But also other components, such as SSDs that are connected via RAID, can be hot swapped. In this article we already explained in detail what a RAID level is. 

Basis for Hot Swapping

A plug connection has to tick some boxes, so that the component can be hot swapped. It is required that the plug has leading contacts, that means the contacts are connected and disconnected in a well-defined order, mostly in three or more steps. This is realized by a common housing, in which the contacts are shifted forward or backwards. The most established systems with leading contacts are SATA and USB (see image 1).

The user should furthermore plug the connector in and out linearly and slowly.

Which advantages does Hot Swapping have?

As mentioned previously, the benefit of Hot Swapping is that it is not necessary to reboot or interrupt the system to replace faulty components. Especially for servers and in the industrial sector, where PCs must run 24/7, the fast exchange of components via Hot Swap has a crucial advantage, because even the shortest interruption can mean an enormous loss.

Modifications of Hot Swapping

  • Hot Add: Stands for adding new components, that work in the running system without configuration.
  • Hot Plug: Stands for adding and removing components during the running system, if no software is involved, also known as Plug and Play.
  • Hot Switch: Stands for switching between components, for instance to a redundant concurrent power supply unit.

spo-comm Mini-PCs with Hot Swap

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2 Nov 2016 Array ( [id] => 216 [title] => What is RAID? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => PCs with several hard disks always have the possibility of a RAID level. In this article we will clarify, what it’s all about with RAID 0 and 1 and which advantages and disadvantages the different levels implicate. [description] =>

The abbreviation RAID stands for “Redundant Array of Independent Disks”. In a technical context, redundancy means, that there are additional parts of a system, which are functionally identical or comparable and which are not required for a normal operation. If a failure occurs, they can jump in or, if they are already running parallel, they can henceforth operate alone.

A RAID is a combination of at least two mass storage devices (hard disks or SSDs) that work together. Size and type of the storage medium should be the same. The various RAID levels (e.g., RAID 0 or RAID 1) provide different amounts of storage and security.

Hardware or software RAID

The RAID can be created in different ways. The hardware RAID requires an extra microprocessor, a so-called RAID controller. The chip is often located near the memory and organizes the data distribution. The main processor is not stressed. Larger network environments, such as data centers, often use external RAID systems.

The software RAID is organized completely on the software side. The RAID can be implemented directly in the BIOS, to install the operating system on it. Like this, the OS can be saved. Alternatively, the RAID network can be established in the operating system. Then it does not benefit from the RAID. Since no special RAID controller is available, all calculations are carried out by the main processor. Thus, depending on the application, it is more highly loaded.

RAID 0

A RAID 0 combines two or more storage devices into one logical drive. These can operate at an increased speed. For this purpose, the disks are divided into blocks of equal size. These blocks are then arranged alternately in zipper style. This technique, where all disks can be accessed parallel, is referred to as “striping”. The advantage of RAID 0 is the accelerated data transfer. One disadvantage is the lack of security: if one hard disk fails, the data can not be fully restored. Therefore it is only recommended, if reliability is not important. Since there is no redundancy in RAID 0, it is actually not a RAID but only an “Array of Independent Disks”.

RAID 1

Thanks to the technology of mirroring RAID 1 has a high reliability. The data is simultaneously written to all (usually two) hard disks. Two identical disks provide a full-value redundancy. If one disk fails, the other can supply all data. However, a RAID 1 is not an alternative for a data backup. Errors, such as viruses or accidental deletion of files, are immediately transferred to the mirror plate. The storage capacity of a RAID 1 is as large as the smallest hard disk involved.

RAID 5

A RAID 5 requires at least three hard disks. It allows increased speed and a bit security. As with RAID 0, the data is distributed in blocks over all drives. In addition, the necessary information for restoring the data (the so-called parity information) of another drive is stored on each disk. If only one hard disk fails, the data can be restored. The possible storage capacity is calculated from the number of disks minus one, multiplied with the capacity of the smallest disk. For three disks, each with 1 terabyte storage, this would for example be 2 TB.

RAID 10

RAID 10 is a combination of 1 and 0. This way it can combine both advantages and thus offers more speed as well as a high level of security. This requires at least four drives. Two disks are linked to RAID 1. These sets are then combined to RAID 0. This variant is very safe because in each set one disk can fail. However, only half of the total storage capacity is available. 

RAID at spo-comm Mini-PCs

Since a RAID level requires at least two disks it is only available for certain spo-comm PCs. These include the spo-book EXPANDED Q170, spo-book NINETEEN Q170 and spo-book NOVA CUBE Q87. If you have any questions concerning your application, please do not hesitate to contact us. Otherwise just let us know in your order if you require either RAID 0 or 1.

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know-how
What is RAID?
PCs with several hard disks always have the possibility of a RAID level. In this article we will clarify, what it’s all about with RAID 0 and 1 and which advantages and disadvantages the different levels implicate.
17 May 2016 Array ( [id] => 188 [title] => What is the difference between HDD and SSD? [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => All spo-books can be configured as desired and can be ordered with an HDD or SSD. This brings many customers to the scratch which choice is the best for them: The standard 500 gigabyte sized HDD or the more expensive SSD? We want to bring a little light into the darkness. [description] =>

What means HDD?

The term HDD stands for “hard disk drive”. For simplicity it is often referred to as a hard drive. An HDD is composed of many mechanical parts. In the storage process, the data is written on the surface of one or more rotating magnetic platters. Therefore a reading head is moving – similar to a record player – back and forth.

Hard drives have been around since the 50s and are until today often installed by default as a storage medium in PCs. With the emergence of the SSD this has changed. These were in the early days extremely expensive and were only used for very specific applications. Anyway they have now become much more affordable and due to their advantages are increasingly used even at home.

What is an SSD?

The term SSD stands for "Solid State Disk" or "Solid State Drive", which can also be described as a semiconductor memory. An SSD is not mechanical but an electronic memory. Unlike the rotating platters from the HDD you can imagine the SSD like an USB flash drive.

Which advantages can I expect from an SSD?

The probably biggest advantage is that an SSD boots and works much faster because it runs electronically and does not constantly have to move a reading head back and forth. Although it is faster, the SSD has much lower energy consumption than a conventional hard drive. Who wants his PC to run completely silent and therefore chooses a passive cooled system, should also decide for an SSD. Thanks to the absence of moving parts it works without a sound.

But there’s more to come: It is also much more robust, as the mechanical drives of an HDD break  a lot easier if dropped. Likewise it also stands an extended temperature range. Thanks to its ruggedness the SSD is still running, even under concussions or vibration. Hard drives often have the protection mechanism to stop working as soon as the running PC is moved. For instance this could be the case if a laptop is carried around or if a PC is installed in a vehicle, like our MOVE-series. To prevent the reading head from striking the platter, the HDD stops its operation cautionary. With an SSD this cannot happen. Since it has no moving parts, it works without problems even in rough circumstances.

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know-how
What is the difference between HDD and SSD?
All spo-books can be configured as desired and can be ordered with an HDD or SSD. This brings many customers to the scratch which choice is the best for them: The standard 500 gigabyte sized HDD or the more expensive SSD? We want to bring a little light into the darkness.
18 Mar 2019 Array ( [id] => 397 [title] => NEW: spo-book RUGGED Ryzen – Outdoor Digital Signage powered by AMD [authorId] => [active] => 1 [shortDescription] => An AMD Ryzen V1000 processor for outdoor DS applications – sounds good? spo-comm makes this possible. With the fanless cooled spo-book RUGGED Ryzen, the hardware manufacturer from Nuremberg is launching a Mini-PC that not only has an extremely high graphics performance – 4x 4K@60Hz is no problem – but is also suitable for outdoor and vehicle computing. [description] =>

The AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 processor series

The centrepiece of the new RUGGED is the AMD Ryzen V1807B embedded processor with 4 x 3.35 GHz (maximum 3.8 GHz). This unifies AMD’s Zen CPU and Vega GPU architectures into an APU (= Accelerated Processing Unit). This revolutionary combination of CPU and graphics power provides exceptional computing power so that processing and playback of high-resolution multimedia applications can easily compete with dedicated graphics cards. More facts about the CPU: 4 cores, 8 threads and 11 compute units provide completely new possibilities and require only 12 to 54 watts of power.

Outdoor and Vehicle computing

Thanks to its completely enclosed housing, the fanless RUGGED Ryzen is the perfect Mini-PC for outdoor digital signage. Whether it’s freezing cold or extreme hot – the Embedded PC runs flawlessly even in the extended temperature range of -40° to +70° Celsius and is therefore suitable for all climatic conditions. When it comes to vehicle computing, the new RUGGED also plays in the champions league. With a 9-48V wide range input and a massive body that absorbs shock and vibration easily, the Vehicle PC is the perfect partner for mobile applications, such as in emergency vehicles.

Many connections

The passively cooled housing with the dimensions 260 x 226 x 89 mm provides space for numerous connections. The front panel has four USB 3.0 ports and four LAN interfaces for connecting external periphery. In addition to two SIM card slots, the power button and some indicator lights, among others for the HDD, can be found here. On the back panel there are four more LAN interfaces and three COM ports. Furthermore, there are four Display Ports, which allow the playback of multimedia content with a resolution of four times 4K@60Hz. This is completed by three audio ports that cover the areas MIC IN, LINE OUT and LINE IN.

Hardware and Software equipment

So that the high-performance CPU of the RUGGED Ryzen has enough working space, it can be supported with up to 32 GB of DDR4 memory. There is, as well, space for up to two HDDs or SSDs with a maximum of 1 TB memory. They can also be connected to RAID and are suitable for hot swapping. This means, that the components can be replaced while the Mini-PC is running. On the software side, the operating systems Windows 10 in the versions IoT, Home or Professional are running as well as Linux Ubuntu.

Numerous options for expansion

If the various features of the Embedded PC are not enough, you can treat yourself to a variety of expansions. WiFi, 4G and GPS modules can be connected via one m.2 and three m-PCIe interfaces. A CAN bus is also possible. When using an LTE module, the two SIM card slots on the front panel allow you to dial into two different mobile networks. This is especially useful if you want to avoid dead spots or if you are travelling near country borders. Optionally available is also a battery pack, which protects against loss of data during power outages, as well as standardized wall mounts according to VESA or DIN RAIL.

Technical data:

•    CPU: AMD® Ryzen V1807B Quad Core Soc (3.35-3.8 GHz)
•    Graphics: AMD® VEGA 11
•    Dimensions (W x D x H): 260 x 226 x 89 mm
•    Max. resolution: 4069 x 2160 @ 60Hz (4K)
•    Up to 4 independent displays
•    Outdoor and Vehicle Computing
•    Extended temperature range from -40° C to +70° C
•    8x LAN, 4x USB 3.0 and 4x DisplayPort

##Configure your RUGGED Ryzen!

##See all spo-comm Mini-PCs!

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products
NEW: spo-book RUGGED Ryzen – Outdoor Digital Signage powered by AMD
An AMD Ryzen V1000 processor for outdoor DS applications – sounds good? spo-comm makes this possible. With the fanless cooled spo-book RUGGED Ryzen, the hardware manufacturer from Nuremberg is launching a Mini-PC that not only has an extremely high graphics performance – 4x 4K@60Hz is no problem – but is also suitable for outdoor and vehicle computing.