High Availability Embedded System Designs for Industries and Small-scale applications
The rise in the commercial and industrial embedded systems has boosted the prospects of the embedded systems market worldwide. The rise in the installation of smart grid systems and increase in demand from the different end-industries has further influenced the growth of the overall market.
Today, in the current industrial and commercial scenario, it is highly unlikely for any company or an organization to function smoothly without smooth communication, organized workflow, and efficiency. Embedded systems play an important role to facilitate that as they integrate the hardware and software to perform several functions within a larger system. This helps in uninterrupted communication and improves the overall productivity. Embedded systems find applications in several industrial sectors such as industrial, commercial, medical, automotive, and the military sector. Progressive Markets has recently added a report titled, “Global Embedded System Market.” The report offers useful information related to embedded systems and insights such as market share, size, and growth. Embedded systems also help to enhance flexibility, efficiency, and precision in multiple computerized applications.
High Availability (HA) for industrial and embedded systems
System designs have gained significant importance in the modern era. Constant effort and research is carried out to integrate the principles of high availability in environment, industrial, and embedded servers so that they are robust, efficient, and reliable. IT teams of small to large businesses have invested heavily in making extreme uptime possible and given significant importance. It is essential for industrial and embedded applications that are often utilized in a mission critical environment.
Similar to how the need to achieve extreme uptime is identified, it is equally important to reduce the downtime as much as possible. High availability plays a vital part in doing so and a novel approach to system designs. These systems highly focus on failure recovery rather than largely focusing on failure prevention that is adopted by majority of the systems. Availability is often defined as the time that a particular system is functioning in an optimum manner with all the specifications. The overall standard of availability systems is 99.99 percent uptime i.e. less than 5 minutes downtime in the year or less than one second downtime in a day. To understand availability, it is essential to understand the two terms, mean time to failure (MTTF) and mean time to repair (MTTR). MTTF means the average time taken for a component to fail. It is an important indication of reliability. MTTR denotes the time a system takes to recover from failure and function in the optimum manner once again. According to research and study, availability can be enhanced by improving reliability and by reducing the time a system takes to recovers from a failure.
A system that is less susceptible to failures helps to reduce the MTTR. Some of the critical systems are duplicated to negate single-points of failure and the points are often tracked and monitored. The backup systems are deployed when the main system is facing some difficulty or a problem. This helps to reduce MTTR. The processes and systems that are used to identify failures should be automated to improve the overall efficiency and reliability.
High Availability in Industries
High availability finds applications in several small-scale to large-scale applications at the enterprise and industrial level. However, all the techniques and designs are not suitable for industrial applications. The enterprise approach and the industrial approach towards HA is very different. The enterprise approach to HA involve the combination of clusters and load balancing software with layers of hardware to achieve cost-efficient HA. The main difference between the enterprise approach and industrial approach is the space required. High availability in enterprise do not require a lot of space for large data centers and layers of hardware. An industrial infrastructure cannot accommodate multiple servers, hence requires designs to provide high availability that will is the most suitable for the situation. In the enterprise approach, hardware is given priority to enhance availability. Industrial HA requires reliable hardware sub-systems such as storage, power, networking, and memory that are vulnerable to failure. Each sub-system are vulnerable to failure and it is essential to improve their reliability and redundancy.
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Embedded systems have come a long way in the last decade. The number of applications have increased and the overall technology has also shown commendable advancements. The enterprise and industrial use of embedded systems highlight how embedded systems are designed in a different manner to carry out more or less the same functions. With the progress in technology, embedded systems are also advancing. R&D activities are on the rise as major players in the industry are seeking novel and innovative methods to design and develop embedded systems.