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ClusBerry for Home clusters up to eight CM4 modules with a la carte I/O

Feb 3, 2021 — by Eric Brown — 5454 views

Techbase unveiled a “ClusBerry for Home” desktop cluster system with 2x to 8x Raspberry Pi CM4 modules and modular configurations including serial I/O, wireless, AI, NAS, USB 3.0 hub, 2.5GbE, and SuperCap.

A few weeks ago, Techbase previewed a DIN-rail form-factor ClusBerry clustering system for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4, as reported by CNXSoft. Now, Techbase has reached out to us about a desktop form-factor ClusBerry for Home version aimed at smart home applications.



ClusBerry for home with 8x CM4 modules (left) and DIN-rail versions
(click images to enlarge)

The features are essentially the same as the DIN-rail model, which is similarly available for order. Shipments will follow about two months after each order. The system is primarily designed for use with cluster software based on Docker and K3s lightweight Kubernetes.


ModBerry 500 CM4

Like the ModBerry 500 CM4, the ClusBerry systems expand upon the Raspberry Pi CM4 with modular I/O, but in this case it clusters 2x, 4x, or 8x CM4 modules. Unlike most cluster boards, such as the upcoming CM4-based Turing Pi 2, the ClusBerry does not merely enable multiple compute modules to share a standard set of I/O. Instead, you can configure each board in a ClusBerry system from an a la carte choice of I/O options. (We were just informed that the earlier Turing Pi 1 is once again available for pre-order in small quantities.)

The Linux-powered, $25 to $90 Raspberry Pi CM4 module has the same Broadcom BCM2711 SoC with 4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores that powers the Raspberry Pi 4. The module ships with 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4-3200 RAM and 0GB to 32GB eMMC, with optional 802.11ac/BT 5.0. The module provides a GbE controller with PoE support plus I/O for dual 4K HDMI, PCIe 2.0, 2x and 4x MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and more.



ClusBerry for Home with 2x (left) and 4x CM4 modules
(click images to enlarge)

The ClusBerry for Home and DIN-rail ClusBerry systems use the same ClusBerry 9500-CM4 mainboard, which attaches the CM4 modules and various I/O boards. The system uses a shared heatsink for cooling.

The standard 9500-CM4 cluster model offers a choice of three I/O options:

  • I/O Controller — DI, DO, AI, 1-Wire, RS-232/485, and CAN
  • Communication Gateway — 1x or 2x Ethernet, serial ports, and wireless interfaces such as LTE-cat.M1, 4G, 5G, LoRa, ZigBee, Z-Wave, Wireless M-Bus; it’s unclear if you get a choice of one or multiple wireless radios
  • AI Gateway — Google Coral Edge TPU via M.2 with PCIe or up to 4x Coral Edge TPU via USB 3.0

The AI Gateway was announced as a standalone product in November called the AI Gateway 9500-CM4. The gateway offers an HDMI port and SIM card slot and optional serial I/O and wireless radios.



AI Gateway 9500-CM4 (left) and dual-CM4 ClusBery with top-mounted display
(click images to enlarge)

In addition to these standard options, there are specialty configurations of the ClusBerry systems as follows:

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  • NAS File Server — 2x SSDs (SATA III with RAID) managed with Nextcloud or ownCloud
  • USB 3.0 Hub — “for 5G communication, Modems, AI Cluster and peripherals”
  • Gigabit LAN/WAN Router — “additional” 2.5GbE network card as an independent switch/router shielded from the mainboard cluster network
  • SuperCap / Power management — for backup power supply (supercapacitors/Li-Ion) and sleep mode management aided with ESP32 module

These optional configurations can further be extended with various expansion cards. Options include RS-232/485 ports, digital and analog I/Os, USB, HDMI, Ethernet, relays, 1-Wire, CAN, M-Bus, accelerometer, TPM, eSIM, and more.



Conceptual diagrams for ClusBerey DIN-rail model
(click images to enlarge)

There is still no detailed spec sheet on the ClusBerry. For example, there are no details for the HMI display shown in the images for both the Home and DIN-rail models.

For another take on CM4 clustering, Sourcekit has just launched a $14.50, single CM4 slot PiTray mini board. The carrier is designed to be clustered with other PiTray boards via GbE.

 
Further information

The ClusBerry for Home and DIN-rail ClusBerry systems are available for order with pricing undisclosed. Shipments take about two months following the order. More information on ClusBerry for Home should eventually be found on Techbase’s ClusBerry website.

 

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