Removable Hard-Drive Options for Deploying PXI Systems in Classified Areas

Publish Date: Sep 17, 2013 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print

Overview

To deploy test and measurement systems in classified areas, you often need these systems to have an associated declassification process. Declassifying a PXI system requires knowledge of all its memory components, including the chassis, controller, and modules. PXI embedded controllers feature nonvolatile storage in the form of a hard drive or a flash drive that retains user and system information even after the system is powered down. Because nonvolatile storage is required for the PXI embedded controller to operate, the PXI system should offer the ability to remove this storage media so that it can be placed in a secure environment.

This white paper provides several options for configuring a PXI system to offer removable storage. It also includes setup guidelines for these removable storage solutions.

The following are requirements for removable storage in automated test systems:

  • OS to boot from drive
  • Capable of being the only storage in the system
  • Scalable for multiple systems
  • Support for NI LabVIEW real-time OS

 

Key advantages and solutions for removable storage within a PXI system are explained below.


System Declassification

The process for declassifying a PXI system is straightforward. PXI chassis from National Instruments do not contain any memory devices that are user-accessible. You can clear the user-accessible volatile memory components on all NI PXI modules by simply powering down the PXI system. The nonvolatile memory components on NI PXI modules retain their contents when powered down; however, these are not user-accessible.

 

Nonvolatile storage is required for the PXI embedded controller to operate. Accessible removable storage offers the ability to remove this storage media so that it can be placed in a secure environment.

Software Images

Some situations require different software images within the same system hardware. With removable storage, you can have separate, unique software images loaded on multiple hard drives that could be used on the same station. This advantage is necessary in multiple user situations.

 

Serviceability

Removable storage gives you the ability to field-replace hard drives ensuring maximum uptime for PXI systems.

 

Solutions for Removable Storage

Solution 1: PXI Express Embedded Controller With Removable Hard Drive

National Instruments offers a PXI Express embedded controller with front panel accessibility to the hard drive. These controllers have a carrier that can be removed from the front of the controller and are available in several rotating drive and solid-state drive options.

 

 

Figure 1. NI PXIe-8135 With Front Panel Removable Storage

This controller is also offered with an eSATA accessory, allowing you to interface out to an eSATA external drive.

 

 

NI PXIe-8135 With Removable Drive

Processor

Intel Quad-Core i7-3610QE

CPU Frequency

2.3 GHz

(3.3 GHz Turbo-Boost Mode)

Cores

4

Memory (Standard)

4 GB (1x 4 GB), 1600 MHz DDR3

Memory (Maximum)

8 GB (1x 8 GB), 1600 MHz DDR3

USB

4 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0

Ethernet

2 Gigabit

Hard Drive Options

250 GB (or Greater) 7200 RPM

80 GB (or Greater) SSD

100 GB (or Greater) eMLC SSD

250 GB (or Greater) SSD

 

Table 1. NI PXIe-8135 With Removable Drive Features

 

Requirement

Status

Is the removable storage solution bootable?

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Can the removable storage solution act as the only storage device in the PXI system?

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Is the solution scalable for multiple systems?

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Is the solution supported by LabVIEW Real-Time OS?

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Table 2. Requirements of Removable Storage in Automated Test Systems

 

Solution 2: Rack-Mount Controller With Removable Hard Drives

National Instruments offers rack-mount controllers in various configurations that have front-side removable hard drives. These controllers have one expansion slot that you can populate with an MXI-4 or MXI-Express remote controller for either PXI or PXI Express chassis. Table 3 summarizes the different configurations and Table 4 states how this solution performs with respect to the outlined requirements.

 

 

Figure 2. NI 8352 Rack-Mount Controller With Front-Side Removable Hard Drives

 

NI 8354

NI 8355

Processor

E5620

E6600

CPU Frequency

2.4 GHz

2.4 GHz

Cores

up to 8

2

FSB

1066 MHz

1066 MHz

L2 Cache

8 MB

4 MB

Memory (Standard)

1 GB (2 x 512 MB), 667 MHz

1 GB (2 x 512 MB), 667 MHz

Memory (Maximum)

4 GB (4 x 1 GB), 667 MHz

4 GB (4 x 1 GB), 667 MHz

Hard Drive (Standard)

4 x 250 GB (RAID-0)

2 x 250 GB (RAID-0)

Hard Drive (Maximum)

4 x 250 GB (RAID-0)

4 x 250 GB (RAID-0)

Ethernet

2 Gigabit

2 Gigabit

USB

4 (2.0)

4 (2.0)

Drive

DVD-ROM

DVD-ROM

 

Table 3. NI 835x Rack-Mount Controllers With Removable Hard Drives

 

Requirement

Status

Is the removable storage solution bootable?

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Can the removable storage solution act as the only storage device in the PXI system?

https:/lh4.googleusercontent.com/yqhg1HHDTGGQ12ariC0SqSwgirwldAbG1K6iOTExllB2WHhHrh1gsA9tF2sZJNhJNZdNlkFVwsaYlYjYatGK9yz8GiM9ouui__aT1n5S7dvmkKmMO5wTqW9u

Is the solution scalable for multiple systems?

https:/lh6.googleusercontent.com/gJmSAMIEUOTB_seifgnbfuidtn4AjlHL5z9V3v0HC5RaYbzEQ2i6lChHO52x-DsILlH0qdjLBDG7Gqxp5Oei5b757pBgKmbMVESlr73qU26hqpD22fZyuo7q

Is the solution supported by LabVIEW Real-Time OS?

https:/lh3.googleusercontent.com/Ax-LIdkvuKbX33LKlLc_gLs3DzCJOS8JWpLrNl_b6-RScia5bWD0PLMbfRYnRFNDNqXBG1-aYLHsiNBqWg4DlkAxUPPvqp5YHgocxIelRyXIq5tZXDhdNbZU

 

Table 4. Supported Features for the NI Rack-Mount Controllers

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