OpenVPX — From Concept to Specification

The OpenVPX Industry Working Group, a 28-company team founded by Mercury Computer Systems, collaborated with a common goal and accelerated the completion of a system architecture specification for open system COTS suppliers and integrators to specify, design, and build multi-vendor interoperable solutions.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Electronics & Computers

Transitioning to OpenVPX for Next-Generation C4ISR Systems

VPX systems offer tremendous performance for the Mil/Aero market, including naval, airborne, and ground-based computing systems. The architecture provides an unprecedented combination of bandwidth, user IO, and rugged design, in both a 3U and 6U Eurocard format. The new OpenVPX initiative has opened up new definitions for VPX system interoperability, including defined module profiles, slot profiles, backplane & chassis configurations, secondary expansion fabrics and control planes, and higher speed fabric options.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Defense industry

Putting OpenVPX To Work

Before the advent of OpenVPX, designers of embedded systems took advantage of the extreme connectivity offered by VPX (VITA 46), but were faced with a virtually unlimited number of possible implementations. Specific choices for the control and data channel assignments for each slot, the backplane connectivity, and serial fabrics were often made somewhat arbitrarily to suit the particular needs of the current system. Although following the general framework of VITA 46, each system tended to be so unique that the boards and backplanes designed for one system were seldom usable in other systems, even from the same vendor.

Posted in: Articles, Open VPX, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Radio equipment, Switches

Moving From System Specification to Software Development

Systems engineering is not about developing electronics, mechanical, or software designs. Systems engineering is really about four things:

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Product development, Systems engineering

Testing DC Power Systems

DC is not always DC. When systems are developed to operate on DC power, the DC electrical environment will have noise and may experience other disturbances. This article will explore considerations for generating low frequency disturbances (glitches, sags, surges, spikes) that occur in the 100 microsecond and longer region with bandwidths of 10 kHz or less. In contrast, noise, which is outside of the scope of this article, can be low frequency (like 50/60 Hz hum) but becomes a challenge to generate in range from kHz, to MHz or up to the GHz range.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electric power, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures

Programming Network Processors Made Simple

The telecommunications industry’s continuous strive for higher performance has spurred innovations in processor architectures. The general trend has been to go parallel; adding more cores to a single processor device and then dividing tasks between them. This has resulted in a more complex environment for software engineers to master. But does this mean that the programming of next-generation network processors (NPUs) has to be difficult? Not necessarily.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware

Designing Solid State Drives Into ATCA-based Platforms

Due to the growth of video on demand (VoD), IPTV media content, and embedded database applications, AdvancedTCA (ATCA)-based storage capacity requirements continue to increase exponentially. In addition, storage requirements have become more complex and varied for ATCA designs that have expanded beyond the central office to include network data center and general data center applications that need to handle a wide variety of server platforms. The advancements and general availability of new storage solutions, particularly solid state drives (SSDs), enables ATCA platform developers to meet the design metrics of a broader range of markets where distributed data storage and management become increasingly required. The continual evolution of SSD storage technology, with its improved capacity, performance, and cost reductions, provides additional opportunities for integrating storage directly into the ATCA platform, allowing new designs to gain the benefit of high performance and availability provided by ATCA-based systems.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Data management