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AdvancedTCA carrier board houses up to four hot-swap AdvancedMC modules

Posted: 23 Feb 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Alex Mendelsohn? Advanced Mezzanine Card? AdvancedTCA? Kontron?

Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) spec is the first entirely new open mezzanine standard to be developed in over a decade. It's one of the things that make this low-cost, but very powerful, product so significant. AMC comprises a new series of PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer's Group (PICMG) specifications based on practices developed with Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA). In this case, it applies to the smaller form-factor mezzanine cards.

AMCs are switch-fabric based, hot-swappable and fully managed. Also, the AMC series of specs follow the numbering pattern set by AdvancedTCA where AMC.0 creates the foundation for the mezzanine cards with definition of form-factor, connector, power and thermal characteristics, management, clocking and base fabric.

Diverse processing
Kontron's AT8400 carrier board will be PICMG 3.0 and PICMG 3.1-compliant. The 8U-sized AT8400 will be a node board for AdvancedTCA shelves, supporting four AdvancedMC slots that are full-height/single-width sized.

With support for its four AMC modules, the AT8400 allows customization of network design, as it will support many different definitions of AMCs that can be used for many types of processing, storage, and I/O tasks. Specifically, the board will be compatible with PICMG 3.0 ATCA, PICMG 3.1 Ethernet/Fiber Channel for AdvancedTCA Systems, D0.96 of AMC.2 Revision 1.0 Gigabit Ethernet, D0.9d of AMC.3 Revision 1.0 Storage, IPMI v1.5, and PCI-Express 1.0a.

As an Ethernet switch, the AT8400 could work as a Broadcom Strataswitch/StrataGX Gb layer-2 switch, where it can accommodate line-rate switching for all packet sizes and conditions. It supports two base channels of 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet using copper. It also could support two fabric channels with two 1000Base-BX ports using an internal SERDES (serializer-de-serializer). It also supports two AMC Gbit Ethernet interfaces per AMC slot and two Serial Gigabit Media Independent interfaces.

For PCI Express, the AT8400 will be able to work as a 32-lane switch, with serial EEPROM storing configuration data. For serial attached SCSI/serial ATA (SAS/SATA), the AT8400 packs a 3Gbips SAS SCSI controller, a 3Gbps SAS expander, and a SAS controller connected to a PCI Express switch via four PCI Express lanes. The SAS expander is connected to the SAS controller via four SAS lanes. There's also an on-board SAS/SATA multiplexer for initiator selection.

Standard management support
Additionally, the AT8400 system will use the Intelligent Platform Management Interface v1.5 approach for board-level management, according to PICMG 3.0. It will give you a route to field upgrades for all software components, as well as dual boot images with roll-back capability. Management is via TCP/IP's Simple Network Management Protocol as well as through a command line interface.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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