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Tracewell ATCA shelf combines performance with small footprint

Posted: 20 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:tracewell systems? advancedtca? atca? system platform?

Full mesh shelf focuses on high reliabilityTracewell Systems has introduced a new horizontal 5-slot, full mesh shelf for AdvancedTCA (ATCA) that meets NEBS Level III and UL/EN 60950, EN55024. The new low-profile 5U system platform focuses on high reliability, high availability, easy maintenance, and low cost of ownership. Key features of the new system platform include an advanced high capacity push-pull cooling scheme, and a replicated mesh backplane optimized for 3.125Gbps and higher.

At the heart of the design is an advanced triple-replicated full mesh backplane, which provides three fabric channels per slot to triple data throughput. The fabric layout has been characterized and tested to provide link performance up to 6.25Gbps. For maximum reliability, the backplane includes bussed Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB) management connectivity. The shelf configuration board resides on the backplane and also contains an IPM controller. The backplane also serves as the main interconnect point for all field replacement unit (FRU) devices, which nearly eliminates wiring throughout the system, said the company.

The primary shelf management system is the low power and small footprint Motorola M100 that includes Hardware Platform Interface (HPI) and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) interfaces, as well as an on-board RMCP server. It also provides redundant IPM controllers for IPMB0-A and IPMB0-B for high reliability, and has proven interoperability with all available ATCA-compliant IPMI management schemes. Other shelf management systems can also be supported.

Designed for high reliability with an emphasis on eliminating single points of failure, each shelf-level FRU also includes redundancy at the control circuit level, where an IPM controller is located on both IPMB-A and IPMB-B buses. And for a higher level of redundancy each IPM bus has a separate control processor with information sharing, resulting in shelf reliability that meets or exceeds 99.999%. In addition, the new solution has the capability to identify all problems down to the FRU level. All shelf FRUs provide standard failure alerts, and predictive failure non-critical alerts.

For cooling, the 5-slot, full mesh combines a high-pressure push-pull fan configuration with advanced software control, allowing operation at 200W per slot even in the event of a fan failure. It also incorporates an active RTM cooling for up to 30W per slot. Under normal operating conditions, fans speeds are reduced to provide quiet operation. In the event of a fan failure, fans speeds are increased to 130 percent to compensate for lost airflow.

Offering field replaceable fan trays, the unit includes two front and two rear removable fan trays for right-to-left airflow, and the control circuits have been optimized to handle component, supply and control failures. Fan trays also include a mean time between failure (MTBF) tracking sensor, alerting the system manager when fans approach the end of rated operating life. The MTBF value is adjusted based on fan operating revolutions per minute (RPM) and temperature. This unique feature allows fans to be replaced before failure, which reduces unscheduled maintenance, according to the company.

Power is provided to the shelf through the rear-mounted power entry module (PEM), which provides common and differential mode EMC filters. Power is distributed in a redundant arrangement so that a single power feed or a single PEM can fail without impacting system operation. Power sensors provide alerts when voltages and or currents deviate from expected values.

Pricing for the complete horizontal 5-slot, full mesh for AdvancedTCA is $5,995 in quantities of 10 with dual shelf management controller (ShMC) and PEMs. Delivery is eight to ten weeks.

- Gina Roos

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