Author: Manfred Schmitz, CTO MEN Mikro Elektronik
Ethernet, USB, PCI Express and SATA already support hot-plugging, as was explained in the first part of the description of the hot-plug functionality with CompactPCI Serial. For this reason, only a small number of simple measures are required to implement hot-plug in modular 19" systems.
In the second part we describe typical applications of hot-plugging in CompactPCI Serial systems. There are a number of quite different applications.
For example, a hard disk that has to be quickly exchanged when there is an error. Or a quick way is required to access data recorded on the hard disk of a data logger. And then there are hard disk RAID systems, of course, which make it possible to exchange defect disks during operation without impairing the computer's functionality. All these examples are based on SATA, a hot-plug controller is needed under certain circumstances. This controller is already integrated in the chipset in most cases.
Other applications are wireless solutions using Express Cards. These can be integrated on a CompactPCI Serial peripheral board with ExpressCard slots and are based on USB and/or PCI Express. As known from notebooks, such cards can be plugged in during operation and also be removed with software control. This comes in very handy when servicing is required. A separate hot-plug controller is not needed.
Complex multi-processing is also possible based on PCI Express. CompactPCI Serial allows the integration of up to 9 CPU boards in one system without bridges (with bridges even more). Communication is controlled centrally via the system slot. This way, very high data rates can be reached in clustered systems. A special hot-plug controller in the system slot is also required.
It is much easier to build multi-processing systems based on Ethernet. Here the system slot is no single point of failure anymore, as every board can communicate with every other board directly without a switch (full mesh). Special software is not required either.
Hot-plugging is an integral part of CompactPCI Serial. Applications might be a pluggable hard disk, RAID systems or complex multiple systems. Another proof that CPCI-S.0 is based on proven standards, can be mastered easily and is reliable and robust - high-tech with minimal overhead and low costs.