Put simply, FRU stands for "Field Replaceable Unit", and represents any number of components within a server, compute blade/node or other computing system that can be easily removed and replaced at the location where the system is deployed ("in the field"), rather than having to deliver the system to a repair facility to replace a faulty component.
Many servers and compute nodes are specifically designed so that major components such as circuit boards, cooling fans, power supplies, hard drives and similar items gone bad can be quickly and easily swapped with new replacement parts. Designing in this way allows users and technicians who have a basic level of familiarity with the system to make the replacement in a short period of time and allows organizations to stock or order FRU replacements in a timely manner to avoid prolonged periods where the hardware is out of service.
This is an essential element of product design for these devices, as it reduces system downtime and lowers the operating cost (often called "total cost of ownership" or "TCO") of these often expensive and mission-critical systems. In addition, many FRU items can be “hot-swapped”; that is, the failed component can be removed from the system and a new, working component can replace it while the system is still in operation, without having to suspend or shut down its operation. Many mission-critical systems are also designed with redundant field replaceable parts, so if one power supply or hard drive fails, for example, the system will automatically fail-over to the backup/redundant component until the FRU is replaced and the system is made whole again.
Many products from AMI utilize and integrate with FRUs in order to extend the operational capabilities and reliability of servers, compute nodes and other computing systems. For example, our StorTrends® SAN storage appliances feature FRU kits that can be ordered and kept in stock on site in case of a failure, or customers can contact us for quick shipments of FRU components when needed as part of our StorAID™ technical support service.
Additionally, many of our MegaRAC® Remote Management products feature virtually instantaneous FRU discovery as part of their hardware inventory capabilities - and can retain and communicate vital information about the state of the failed component to keep the system operating as-is. Likewise, our Aptio® V UEFI Firmware features similar capabilities about identifying and managing FRU components, to make the job of system administrators and IT staff easier when system components fail.
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