VITA Technologies Fall 2021 with Application Guide

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p. 5 Editor’s Foreword Salute to VMEbus!

p. 9 S OSA Milestone SOSA reaches key milestone

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2 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

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FALL 2021 | VOLUME 39 | NUMBER 2


On the cover VMEbus turns 40! The cover is dedicated to the countless busloads of people who contributed to its success. Illustrated aboard the VMEbus are Lym Hevle, founder of VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA); Ray Alderman, past technical and executive director and current VITA chair; John Black, technical consultant to VITA and past editor of VMEbus Systems magazine; Lollie Wheeler, the heart of VITA; Wayne Fisher, IEEE working group; and Shlomo Prital, past chairman of the VITA Technical Committee. Illustration by Chris Rassiccia, OSM creative projects. Also in this issue: The VITA Technologies 2022 Application Guide.

VMEbus: Forty and Fit! » p. 10

By Jerry Gipper, VITA Editorial Director


Special Feature

VMEbus 40th Anniversary


VMEbus: Forty and Fit!


VITA staff members’ musings on VME

By Jerry Gipper, VITA Editorial Director

Market Research The VITA ecosystem 16 Today’s market tends for VITA standards and related technologies

By Brian Arbuckle, Embedded Market Research

Technology Feature 18 The evolution of VPX I/O

Today’s market tends for VITA standards and related technologies » p. 16

By Brian Arbuckle, Embedded Market Research

VPX and I/O

By Jerry Gipper, VITA Editorial Director


5 Editor’s Foreword

Jerry Gipper

Salute to VMEbus!

6 VITA Standards Update VITA Standards Organization activity updates

8 Defining Standards

VITA 42: Switched Mezzanine Card (XMC) Picks Up Speed

9 SOSA Milestone

The evolution of VPX I/O » p. 18

Jerry Gipper

SOSA reaches key milestone

By Jerry Gipper, VITA Editorial Director

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10/1/08 10:44:38 AM

Editor’s Foreword By Jerry Gipper, Editorial Director @VitaTechnology

Salute to VMEbus! This October we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the introduction of VMEbus! Who would have thought with the announcement on October 21, 1981, of VMEbus that we would see it have such an impact on the industry forty years later? In a newly released market report on key VITA technologies, “The world market for VITA standard-based boards and systems – 2021 edition,” VMEbus is still demonstrating a 2.8% growth in boards revenue and holding stable at 1.7% growth in systems revenue. Granted, the unit shipments continue to decline but the rising cost in supporting products is leading growth in overall revenue. The handful of existing merchant suppliers continue to release new products, helping to extend the useful life of existing platforms and keeping VMEbus a significant factor in critical embedded computing. Very few of the original VMEbus suppliers still exist under their company names of 1981, but many are still around as divisions and subsidiaries of today’s suppliers as the critical embedded computing industry continues to evolve.

VMEBUS PIONEERED MUCH OF THE WORK IN THE MODULAR OPEN SYSTEMS APPROACH (MOSA), WHICH PAVED THE WAY FOR EFFORTS LIKE THOSE UNDERTAKEN BY SOSA. THE MARKET AWARENESS, ECOSYSTEM DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICIES ESTABLISHED BY VMEBUS EFFORTS ARE THE FOUNDATION TO MANY OF THE INITIATIVES THROUGHOUT THE CRITICAL EMBEDDED COMPUTING INDUSTRY TODAY. VMEbus has been a key influence in the tremendous advancement of open standards, literally the “poster child” for the open standards model. Rarely is a conversation on modular open system architectures held without mentioning VMEbus. When VITA members announced VPX in 2005, the proposed standard even included a way to incorporate VMEbus into a VPX system! Most recently VMEbus’ influence was demonstrated in the recent public release of the modular open standard architecture defined under the SOSA Technical Standard 1.0, with VITA’s VPX standards a key component. VMEbus pioneered much of the work in the modular open systems approach (MOSA), which paved the way for efforts like those undertaken by SOSA. The market awareness, ecosystem development, and policies

FIGURE 1: The first issue of VMEbus Systems, published in 1985.

established by VMEbus efforts are the foundation of many of the initiatives throughout the critical embedded computing industry today. My career has centered around VMEbus. I first became aware of VMEbus when I was hired into Motorola Microsystems in 1984 as one of a team of 15 focused on selling and promoting this new technology. Four years later, I moved into a product marketing position, getting even more involved in setting the direction of VMEbus. Over the years, I held various roles from marketing to business strategy at what eventually came to be known as the Motorola Computer Group, but all of them involved VMEbus. After leaving Motorola in 2004, I began working with VITA in a marketing capacity, eventually becoming the executive director in 2014. This publication started as VMEbus Systems in 1985. The inaugural issue featured a 14-page article on VMEbus, tagging it as the 32-bit architecture for the future. Little did the authors of that lengthy article, John Black and Shlomo Prital, envision VMEbus having such a long future! I became involved with Open Systems Media in 2005 working on VMEbus Systems, later renamed to VITA Technologies. VMEbus articles have filled the pages of the magazines since the first edition in 1985 (Figure 1). Those that have been involved in the VMEbus industry should be very proud of their contributions. The influence of VMEbus has changed the arc of open standards in a positive direction. I am sure that the work will continue to have an impact for many more years to come. Stay healthy, stay safe. VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |


VITA Standards Update By Jerry Gipper

VITA standards activity updates Note: This update is based on the results of the September 2021 VITA Standards Organization (VSO) meeting. Contact VITA if you are interested in participating in any of these working groups. Visit the VITA website ( for details on upcoming VITA meetings.

ANSI accreditation

Accredited as an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) developer, VITA provides its members with the ability to develop and promote open technology standards. The following standards have recently been ANSI and VITA approved via public VITA consensus ballot: › ANSI/VITA 42.0-2021: XMC: Switched Mezzanine Card (revision) › ANSI/VITA 65-2021: OpenVPX Architectural Framework for VPX (revision) › ANSI/VITA 65.1-2021: OpenVPX Profile Tables (revision) › ANSI/VITA 68.2-2021: VPX: Compliance Channel (new) All published standards are available for download by VITA members and are posted at the online VITA Store for purchase by nonmembers.

VSO study and working group activities

Standards within VITA may be initiated through the formation of a study group and developed by a working group. A study group requires the sponsorship of one VITA member, while a working group requires sponsorship of at least three VITA members. Several working groups have current projects underway. Here’s a roundup of these projects:

ANSI/VITA 46-2019: VPX Baseline

Objective: The VITA 46.0 base standard defines physical features that enable high-speed communication in a compliant system. Status: The standard is open for revisions. The working group is reviewing updates for compliance requirements and support for 12 V power.

ANSI/VITA 46.11-2015: VPX System Management

Objective: The VITA 46.11 standard defines a system management architecture for VPX systems. Status: The standard is due for its five-year review. Improvements based on feedback from the community are under

6 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

consideration. The standard has been submitted for public consensus approval.

ANSI/VITA 48.0/48.2-2020: VPX REDI: Mechanical Base Standard/Conduction Cooling

Objective: The VITA 48 standards provide an overview of the associated plug-in units for air cooling, conduction cooling, and liquid-flow-thru (LFT) and spray-cooling applications. Specific connector-mounting details are defined in VITA 46. The VITA 48 family of standards defines applicable detailed dimensions of key module and subrack interfaces. The implementations described in these standards are targeted for 3U and 6U form-factor boards on 0.85 and 1.00 centers. However, the packaging approach presented is applicable to boards with other form factors, different connector series, and alternate module pitches. Status: The standards are being updated to allow for a 100-mmdeep VPX module. The working group is developing a draft of the updates.

ANSI/VITA 48.4-2018: VPX REDI: Liquid-Flow-Thru Cooling

Objective: This standard establishes the mechanical design requirements for an LFT-cooled electronic VPX module. Status: This working group is making revisions to the standard.

VITA 51.4: Reliability Component Derating

Objective: The goal of this working group is to develop a new component derating standard. Status: This working group has joined forces with the IEEE to jointly develop this standard under IEEE-2818. A draft document has been developed. This working group encourages industry participation and inputs for determining the appropriate derating considerations, specifically what derating levels your company typically uses. This information would help the working group find consensus derating levels for components that are useful for the industry.

ANSI/VITA 61.0-2014: XMC 2.0

Objective: The VITA 61 XMC 2.0 standard, based upon VITA 42.0 XMC, defines an open standard for supporting

high-speed, switched interconnect protocols on an existing, widely deployed form factor, but utilizing an alternate, rugged­ ized, high-speed mezzanine interconnector. Status: The standard is due for its five-year review. Revisions to match VITA 42 and VITA 88 changes are in review.

ANSI/VITA 62.0-2016: Modular Power Supply Standard

ANSI/VITA 78-2015: SpaceVPX Systems

Objective: VITA 78 is an open standard for creating high-­ performance, fault-tolerant interoperable backplanes and modules to assemble electronic systems for spacecraft and other high-reliability (high-availability) applications. Such systems will support a wide variety of use cases across the aerospace community, including some nonspacecraft systems. This standard leverages the VPX standards family.

Objective: This standard provides requirements for building a power supply module that can be used to power a VPX chassis. The module will fit within the standard envelope defined for VPX modules in the VITA 48.0 standards.

Status: The standard is open for revisions. The documents have completed public ANSI/VITA review and are in the commentresolution phase.

Status: The standard is due for its five-year review. The working group is developing a draft of the revisions that are in review.

Objective: This standard leverages the work done on ANSI/ VITA 78 to create a standard with an emphasis on 3U module implementations. The most significant change from SpaceVPX is to shift the distribution of utility signals from the utility-­ management module to the system-controller module to allow­a radial distribution of supply power to up to eight payload modules.

VITA 62.1: Power Supply Front End for High-Voltage/3-Phase 3U Module

Objective: The VITA 62.1 standard describes requirements for building a high-voltage/3-phase/3U-class front-end powersupply module that can be used to power a VPX chassis in the VITA 62 family of standards. The module will fit within the standard envelope defined for VPX modules in the VITA 48.0 standards. Status: The working group is developing a draft document that is in review.

VITA 66.5: Optical Interconnect on VPX – Hybrid Variant

Objective: This document describes an open standard for configuration and interconnect (within the structure of VITA 66.0) enabling an interface compatible with VITA 46 containing blindmate optical connectors with fixed contacts on the plug-in module and floating displacement on the backplane. Status: The working group is developing the draft document.

ANSI/VITA 67.3-2020: VPX: Coaxial Interconnect on VPX, Spring-Loaded Contact on Backplane

Objective: The VITA 67.3 standard defines an open standard for configuration and interconnect (within the structure of VITA 67.0) enabling an interface compatible with VITA 46 containing multiposition blind-mate analog connectors with coaxial contacts, having fixed contacts on the plug-in module and spring action on the backplane. Status: The standard is open for revision.

VITA 74.x: VNX

Objective: The VITA 74.x standards define a mechanical format for standardization of switched serial interconnects for smallform-factor applications

VITA 78.1: SpaceVPX Lite Systems

Status: The working group has developed a draft document of the standard that is currently in working-group ballot.

VITA 87: MT Circular Connectors

Objective: The VITA 87 MT circular connector standard defines a standard for circular connectors with optical MT. Circular connector shells are compliant to MIL-STD-38999. MT offer options for 12 or 24 fibers per MT and for physical contact or lensed MT.

SOSA and VITA: Enabling Open Standards for Improved Capability

Status: The working group is reviewing a draft document.

Sponsored by Annapolis Micro, Epiq Solutions, Pentek, VITA 88: XMC+ and TE Connectivity Objective: The VITA 88 XMC+ standard defines an improved

electrical/mechanical connector for(SOSA) XMC applicaElements of the Sensormezzanine Open System Architecture tions. Mechanically, the proposed connector is compatible technical standard are leveraging standards developed by the with VITA 42/61 footprints, achieving backward compatibility VITA Standards Organization, specifically VITA 65, also known as while offering improved mating/unmating forces. Electrically, OpenVPX. VITA has Gen also become a participating member SI of the speeds up to PCIe 5 (32 Gbps) and maximum perforSOSAare supported. Consortium along with the Air Force, Army, and Navy. mance

Join a panel of industry experts for this webcast, which will

Status: has moved to public VITAtoconsensus cover The how working the SOSAgroup Consortium is working with VITA enable ballot. standardization of VITA-based standards within the SOSA

Technical Standard.

For a complete list of VITA standards available for purchase Totheir watch the webcast: and status, go to


Status: The working group is developing a draft of revisions.

VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |


Defining Standards By Jerry Gipper

VITA 42: Switched Mezzanine Card (XMC) Picks Up Speed Low-profile mezzanine cards are an important accessory for embedded computing systems. XMC (VITA 42) is a popular mezzanine based on switched protocol technologies. The standard recently went through a revision update. This article reviews the changes made to the standard. The Switched Mezzanine Card (XMC) standard, also known as VITA 42, provides a broad base for traditional high-speed, switched interconnect mezzanine cards. The XMC standard was recently revised to ANSI/VITA 42.0-2021, benefiting mezzanine and carrier card applications that utilize higher higher-speed interface specifications. “XMC offers flexibility and scalability for routing high-speed protocols in a number of popular rugged computing form factors,” said Burrell Best, SI industry standards manager at Samtec. “The latest ANSI/VITA 42.0-2021 revision features several enhancements enabling support for multi-gigabit protocols in next-generation XMC applications. Additionally, new resources simplify implementation of the electromechanical interface between carrier cards and mezzanines.” This revision effort was led by Samtec with the help of several other VITA members.

Technobox, Inc. advanced 32-channel RS485/422 XMC (P/N 8643). Photo courtesy of Technobox, Inc.

XMC is the latest generation of low-profile mezzanine card standards based on the popular PMC standard. These revisions extend the performance and utility of the standard for the most demanding applications.

The entire standard has been reformatted to use current VITA standards requirement terminology. VITA standards are also starting to include basic guidance on compliance and verification methods, which have been added to the ANSI/ VITA 42.0-2021 standard in section 2. A product’s performance must be verified to all requirements listed in applicable rule(s) in order to claim compliance to a standard. The Verification Method List consists of one or more of the following:

XMCs are widely used in applications where the carrier board has high limitations, from 3U/6U slot cards such as VME, VPX, and CompactPCI to motherboards and custom form factors. Many suppliers use a variety of carriers and XMCs that can be quickly combined into a wide range of products for specific applications. This “building-block” approach facilitates a very quick time-to-market strategy.


The XMC connector’s original electrical footprint has been revised to a more efficient “via-in-pad” design, allowing for a higher level of performance, while still being backwards compatible. Improved figures have been added throughout the standard document to improve readability. Several new figures provide guidance to better understand the mechanical interface between XMC mezzanine and carrier cards. Information concerning air and conduction cooling, as well as PMC connector use, was updated. This revision mentions the VITA 61.0 XMC 2.0 standard based on VITA 42 and also introduces the proposed VITA 88.0 XMC+ next-gen mezzanine standard. VITA 88.0 utilizes an alternate, ruggedized, higher-speed mezzanine interconnect compatible with the VITA 42 electrical footprint. An “XMC Informative Design Guide” has been added to provide support when developing high-speed XMC mezzanine and carrier cards. XMC mezzanine and host board design considerations, trace length recommendations, and loss budget estimations for PCI Express are presented in this guide. The intention is to provide the designer an

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informative reference, and also to highlight a range of design choices that are important to consider when designing high-speed interfaces.

› › › › › ›

Inspection Demonstration Analysis Test Verification Not Required Root or reference standard test applies

Some of the appendices have been moved into the main body of the standard, as they contain requirements that must be met. The VITA 42 suite of standards is available for purchase at the VITA Online Store at

SOSA Milestone By Jerry Gipper

SOSA reaches key milestone The Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Consortium was formed under The Open Group in 2017 to enable government and industry to collaboratively develop open standards and best practices to enable, enhance and accelerate the deployment of affordable, capable, interoperable sensor systems. Since then, SOSA has been working diligently on getting their first standard released. This milestone was reached on September 30 with the release of SOSA Technical Reference Standard (TRS), Edition 1.0. (Figure 1.) Reaching this milestone is a huge achievement, as the challenge of pulling together such a diverse ecosystem to focus on the development of modular open systems approach (MOSA) standard is immense. A MOSA solution has been a goal for over thirty years with this being the first true collaborative effort of this magnitude to reach this milestone. Many companies had to work together to complete the technical reference standard, companies with many diverse goals. The suppliers to the ecosystem wished to keep their own distinctive competencies in play. The various defense programs all had their own requirements, many overlapping but just as many that did not. To bring all this together required leadership that could ride herd on the effort. Many U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) leaders – Army, Navy, Air Force, and other services – expressed their strong desire to see the MOSA solution succeed. This helped fuel the fire to keep the work moving forward. SOSA emerged and work started after HOST [Hardware Open Systems Technologies], CMOSS [C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards], and other initiatives realized that they had common goals and that by working together they could go further. Special recognition goes to Mike Hackert (NAVAIR/ HOST) and Jason Dirner (CERDEC/CMOSS) for their inspiration and dedication to championing their respective teams’ efforts. Additionally, the SOSA steering committee united to recruit key contributors and set obtainable goals. But the real “cat whisperer” herding the cats was Dr. Ilya Lipkin from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), who tirelessly pushed all the right buttons to keep everyone on track during this grueling process. His persistence and leadership were the incentive that made it possible to reach this milestone. Dr. Lipkin acknowledges that much more work is ahead. He has challenged the ecosystem to keep driving forward to meet future performance and capability needs. At Embedded Tech Trends 2021, Dr. Lipkin pointed out that current connector interfaces used in VPX have been around

[DR. ILYA LIPKIN] LEFT THE VITA COMMUNITY WITH THE CHALLENGE: DEVELOP NEXT-GENERATION VITA CONNECTORS IN FOUR YEARS OR LESS. THE CLOCK IS TICKING! for a relatively long time, while realizing evolutionary signaling rate and ruggedness improvements over time. He pointed out that through SOSA activities it became apparent a new, more capable, connector will be needed in the coming years. Connector technology needs to provide more contacts, both copper and fiber, that can be used for digital and RF connections. More bandwidth, better interoperability, and room to grow also top the list of requirements. Dr. Lipkin ended his presentation with the question; “Is the time right for optical backplanes?” He is asking if optical for high-bandwidth data transfers with other signals over copper is the next step. He left the VITA community with the challenge: Develop next-generation VITA connectors in four years or less. The clock is ticking!


The Sensor Open Systems Architecture Approach: Leverage Existing Open Standards, courtesy of SOSA.

VITA members are very excited to see this milestone reached. The TRS references very heavily into several VITA standards including OpenVPX (VITA 65) and VRT (VITA 49). VITA looks forward to meeting Dr. Lipkin’s challenge and expanding the adoption of MOSA. VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |



VMEbus 40th Anniversary

VMEbus: Forty and Fit! By Jerry Gipper, Editorial Director

Very few computer-related technologies exist in the industry for more than a few years. This past October 21st marked the 40th anniversary of the announcement of VMEbus. This event is especially significant given the fact that VMEbus is still an extremely practical solution for critical embedded computing. VMEbus has had a profound impact on the open standards community, playing a key role as an influencer in modular open system architecture (MOSA) initiatives. Many standards for embedded computing owe their existence to the efforts of the pioneers of VMEbus: CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, and VPX all exist due to VMEbus. Today’s innovators now have multiple avenues for developing industry standards. Technology has become so complicated that it is nearly impossible for any individual company to create and develop full product lines that meet the demanding needs of any single industry. The early years of VMEbus saw the emergence of a push to open standards. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) was one of the early advocates of open standards. Key leaders recognized early the benefits of MOSA: that the only way to a robust and successful ecosystem of technology providers was through the use of open standards. MOSA requirements are now built into many program contracts.

Ecosystem development

Soon after the announcement of VMEbus, a VME Manufacturers Group was formed. In 1985, it became the VMEbus International Trade Association (VITA), chartered to accelerate the technical and commercial acceptance of VMEbus, and to help build a VMEbus supplier ecosystem. The first edition of a VMEbus product directory was released in May of 1983 with 196 listings from 45 companies (Figure 1). The standardization effort for VMEbus struggled in the early years, primarily because a suitable development venue and process were not available. VITA eventually stepped up and added the VITA Standards Organization (VSO) to its charter, thus providing a home for the full stewardship of VMEbus and its future evolution. VITA evolved to become an industry-leading standards development organization dedicated to the creation of open standards for the critical and intelligent embedded computing industry. VMEbus has led to Futurebus, VPX, VNX, and a range of mezzanine standards. VMEbus Systems magazine was launched in 1985 (Figure 2). The charter of the magazine was to cover the VMEbus industry; this scope was later extended to cover all of VITA standards and the related technologies under its current title VITA Technologies.

Influence on critical embedded computing

VMEbus found its greatest success in what is now defined as critical embedded computing. These systems must work flawlessly to protect life, property, equipment, and the environment. These are systems that must be “able” in many dimensions:

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dependable, supportable, configurable, reliable, serviceable, etc. The real-time deterministic capability of VMEbus made it an ideal solution for larger and more complex real-time computing systems, especially those needing a high degree of real-time control and data processing. The ability to scale both processing and I/O capability created a model that is emulated in today’s even higher-performance systems, like VPX. Backplanebased topologies like VMEbus enable architectures that are not possible in motherboard or “pizza box”-style configurations, ideal for complex and I/O intensive applications. VMEbus also pioneered open standards in rugged systems that can operate in extreme operating conditions. The experience gained in VME is being passed on to the next generation of backplane-based solutions.

FIGURE 1 VMEbus Buyers Guide

FIGURE 2 The VMEbus Systems title launched in 1985.

VMEbus has been used in countless applications too numerous to list, but over the years, it has settled into a key component in many defense applications. Driven by its real-time performance capability and ruggedness, it is a favorite critical embedded solution to many platforms (Figure 3).

Setting the foundation

FIGURE 3 The first VMEbus Specification C.1

VMEbus was derived from the 68000microprocessor bus, so it was a natural extension to use a 68K microprocessor on any processor board. The concept of single-board computers with processor, memory, and I/O all on the same board was still a few years away. A first-generation processor board had little more than the processor, boot ROM, and a serial port or two. This naturally led to the memory-board wars as companies raced to increase memory capacity (the highest-capacity boards only had 128 KB of RAM). Companies were competing to make the densest and most cost-effective memory cards possible. By the late 1980s, the concept of a single-board computer was emerging. Memory density had reached the point where enough could be put on the same

VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |


VMEbus 40th Anniversary


board as the processor that the board no longer needed to always have a separate memory card for the most basic of systems. In the area of I/O, Ethernet was just starting to appear, again requiring a separate and very specialized card just for the most basic connectivity, mostly to small dedicated systems as the internet was not connected to much at the time. Disk storage was also a challenge. Most systems used simple storage systems that took a lot of effort to implement. Originally SASI was very popular, but the newly conceived SCSI bus was gaining attention. Still too complicated to implement without a dedicated VMEbus board, both battled for market position. Mezzanine cards did not exist in the beginning. The first-generation mezzanine cards were proprietary to each vendor and primarily used to add more memory to a VMEbus

Leaders in Open Standards

Enabling the Warfighter with OpenVPX

slot. Mezzanines for I/O, such as Industry Packs and M-modules, started to gain the attention of the industry. The Sun Microsystems S-bus and IEEE PMC [PCI mezzanine card] fought it out for several years before PMC became the preferred choice. Since those early days, most I/O functionality has been merged into the processor. Memory capacity and functionality are way beyond anything that could have been conceived in 1981. What used to take three to five VME slots moved to a single slot and now – in many cases – to a single chip, leaving most of the board space empty. Today’s VME boards have plenty of space on the PCB after going through decades of fighting for every square millimeter! “When VMEbus was defined, the form factor seemed too small and early systems required multiple boards,” states Mac Rush, a retired board hardware design engineer at Motorola Computer Group. “But the entire electronics industry worked to miniaturize everything. Chips integrated more functions. Surface mount technology packages reduced the size of components. ASICs, PLDs and FPGAs allowed us to develop custom logic. Memory density increased. When I started, a 300 MB disk drive used three-phase power and was the size of a washing machine. Now a 256 GB drive is fingernail-sized. The board functionality I designed in the first days of VMEbus have been reduced to single chips with much more capability. VMEbus really benefited from the radical changes in functional density.”

VME going forward

Get ready for next-gen sensor platforms with chassis, boards and system management solutions aligned to the new SOSA™ Technical Standard 1.0 for modular open systems architectures (MOSA).

Performance you can count on Elma Electronic Inc.

12 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

The history of VMEbus has been widely documented: A full timeline and history can be found on the VITA website at VMEbus is the only truly deterministic, real-time optimized, backplane-based solution in the industry. The scalable flexibility and rugged operation capability are second to none. While no one may be working on added improvements to VMEbus, knowing what we have experienced the past forty years, VMEbus can be expected to live on for many more years.


Media partners


VMEbus 40th Anniversary

VITA staff members’ musings on VME All the VITA staff members have experienced careers heavily influenced by VMEbus. They were asked to comment on how VMEbus affected their careers.

Dean Holman, Assistant Executive Director, VITA

It was 1985 and I was a year out of college working as a systems engineer at MITRE Corporation. I was working on the Joint STARS program, attempting to verify if the proposed display processor design would have enough horsepower to meet the rendering needs of the downward looking tank tracking application. I was given a “vanilla” VME 19-inch rack, and some Motorola MVME-147 boards to use in the benchmarking study. At that time, the backplane was straight VMEbus across all slots. There were no interslot signal traces on the P2 connectors to facilitate interboard data transfers. If I wanted to use those user-defined pins on the P2 connector, I had to plug ribbon cables onto the back of the P2 connector shroud between the two slots of interest. Then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was designing next-generation VMEbus boards and systems myself at Mercury Computer Systems. By then, the RACEway overlay on VME was in full swing. It allowed simultaneous switching of three streams of data traffic across the backplane, complimenting the VMEbus data transfers. These increases in bandwidth and clock speeds allowed for a quantum jump in system cross-sectional bandwidth and overall mission-processing capabilities.

Dean Holman

Fast forward to today, and the interslot communications available to support VME is astounding. Mesh fabrics, star interconnects, full switching in a 21-slot chassis. There are very few limitations to the systems engineer with regards to how they can move data between the boards in a system today. VMEbus systems of today are still commanding a huge market share of systems, be those in the aerospace and defense, transportation (i.e., trains), or industrial automation segments. The longevity of VME after 30 years is impressive. As data throughputs and processing needs continue to increase exponentially, newer system architectures such as OpenVPX, with their faster data movement capabilities and processing bandwidths, will continue to gain ground. I believe these newer systems will replace the legacy VME systems in some sizable percentage of the aforementioned segments in order to support the ever-increasing mission needs of the future. Those increased requirements are due to the vastly larger data sets made available via new sensors, information sharing between multiple platforms, and the need for artificial intelligence to be able to process Big Data. Autonomous vehicles – whether land-, sea-, or air-based – all require massive data movement and processing capabilities best met by the newer architectures. That said, the demonstrated ability for system designers to increase clock speeds and memory density will continue to allow the time-proven VMEbus systems in the field to be upgraded to meet numerous applications for many years to come.

Jing Kwok

Jing Kwok, VITA Technical Director

As young design engineer, VMEbus was a well-documented standard that made it easier for me to follow and hone my design skills. Having a well-documented standard supplied direction that would have been impossible to get otherwise. As a midlevel engineer, I had the opportunity to work with the standards community to develop new standards. I was able to take part in standards working-group discussions, eventually leading to a position as the editor for the early work on VPX. As a senior engineer, I had opportunities to drive standards-based designs into corporations and the standards community. VMEbus gave me opportunity to meet with

Ray Alderman

14 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021


to determinism and real-time processing. So, VME put Ethernet on the P0 connector and added the MBLT transactions to move data around. VME can manage determinism on the parallel bus and move data on the fabrics, combining both event-driven and data-driven architectures. The original designers of VME left “hooks” in the original specification, so we could hang new capabilities on them as technology advanced over time. That’s where we added 32-bit transactions, fabrics on P0, 64-bit (multiplexed) transactions, and MBLT. No other bus technology in history has done that without destroying backward compatibility. That’s why VME is still a viable and attractive embedded computer architecture today. No other computer architecture in history has stayed vibrant for 40 years. And VME will still be practical at 50 years. I see nothing on the horizon that can replace VME in real-time deterministic applications.

AND THE MILITARY MARKETS IN THE 90S. customers to educate them on the VME standards and ask for system feedback that drove internal design solutions which resulted in design wins. In my current role as the VITA technical director, I get to participate in a multitude of standards working groups, helping them to better define the standards and get them through the open standards consensus process under VITA.

VPX Systems for Mission Critical Applications

Ray Alderman, Chairman of the Board, VITA

In the 70s, 8-bit microprocessors over­ whelmed the markets using relay ladder logic and programmable controllers (sequencers) in low-end industrial applications. In the 80s, DEC, Data General, Prime, Micro Data, and some other minicomputer vendors were the 16-bit dinosaurs roaming high-end industrial applications, but again just as sequencers. That all ended when the 68000 processor, real-time operating systems, and VME came to market. By the mid to late 80s, upstart VME was the only the deterministic event-driven architecture and took the market away from the minicomputer dinosaurs. To this day, VME is still the only deterministic real-time event-driven architecture in the market. Its proven capabilities in the industrial markets spilled over into telecom and the military markets in the 90s. Today, we have the serial fabrics that can move data around faster than VME, introducing data-driven architectures. But fabrics can never come close

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VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |



The VITA ecosystem

Today’s market trends for VITA standards and related technologies By Brian Arbuckle

Reliable market data for critical and embedded computing technology is hard to come by, and even more so when zeroing in on VITA technologies. To better understand the size of the ecosystem for VME, VPX, PMC, and FMC technologies, VITA joined with Brian Arbuckle, analyst with Embedded Market Research, during summer 2021 to conduct research on technologies based on key VITA standards. The full market report: “World Market for VITA Standards-based Boards and Systems – 2021 Edition,” is now available for purchase from the VITA website at Market_Research. Areas covered include: › › › › › › ›

Executive summary Recent mergers and acquisitions Report introduction and method Market-share percentages of major vendors Sales by revenue and units by board and system type Perceived trends affecting business Perceived risks to business operations

Executive summary

Annual sales of VITA standards-based products (VME, VPX, and PMC/XMC) to the merchant market are estimated to have increased, on average, 5.6% from 2019 to 2020. Boards notched the highest revenue number, while systems sales are the fastest-growing aspect. 6U VPX systems were the fastest-growing form factor from 2019 to 2020. The majority of VME and VPX boards and systems are sold to defense prime contractors that, in turn, sell to governments. The largest customer for defense electronics

16 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

is the U.S. government, with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget having the greatest impact on market growth. U.S. defense spending in total remains relatively steady, but the budget allocation emphasizes compute-heavy technologies and has supported the increase in demand for VME and VPX boards and systems. Market trends reported by VITA suppliers include the open systems DoD mandate; sensor proliferation using artificial intelligence (AI); and an increased emphasis on security by offering trusted computing solutions. The OpenVPX standard being championed by VITA aligns well with the DoD’s demand for improved implementation of open standards and interoperability. VITA members are also harnessing the latest AI chip technology and developing accelerator boards for intensive data-processing applications.



VITA market-leading companies also offer a rigorous approach to supplychain security. Business challenges during the reporting period include the supply-chain interruption caused by COVID-19 and in particular the global semiconductor shortage. Continuing challenges include product obsolescence, particularly regarding VMEbus, already in its 40th year of production. The use of COTS [commercial off-the-shelf] servers and virtualization of applications, rather than using dedicated hardware, is an ongoing challenge in some markets.

THE UNIT SHIPMENTS OF VMEBUS ARE DECLINING FASTER THAN THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED IN 2018 SHOWS, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE AVERAGE SELLING PRICE OF THE PRODUCTS HAS NEARLY DOUBLED, ACTUALLY LEADING TO 5.6% YEAR-OVER-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH. VITA member companies continue to grow both organically and by acquisition; during the period covered by the report, there has been some merger and acquisition activity that has placed a significant value on the expertise and capabilities of these VITA-standard suppliers.

Under the hood

One of the most common questions received at VITA is “When is it projected that VPX sales will exceed VME?” Early in the life of VPX, it was assumed that the crossover would happen in the first 5 to 10 years. But that did not happen. VME was much more entrenched than anyone could have imagined, plus the complexity of VPX slowed its advancement.


Revenue of VME and VPX, 2016-2020.

Digging deeper into the most recent data reveals an interesting observation: The unit shipments of VMEbus are declining faster than the research conducted in 2018 shows, but at the same time, the average selling price of the products has nearly doubled, actually leading to 5.6% year-over-year revenue growth. This is driven by two factors: › The increasing costs of supporting the growing list of obsolete components › The most recent increases in component costs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. These cost increases are helping VME revenue remain relatively steady. VPX, on the other hand, has seen a smaller increase in costs, driven only by the pandemic. VPX is also seeing a slightly greater increase in unit shipments, as it starts to gain traction in more designs. If these dynamics stay in place, we could see VPX merchant sales exceed VME in the next two or three years. We are at the point where any single design win could put VPX in the lead. Two key aspects that were not captured in the latest research: First, how much custom product is being developed under NRE; and second, how much is developed and built by nonmerchant suppliers (prime contractors, for instance). Discussions within the community think that it could easily be two to three times greater. It should also be noted that the research did not capture ancillary products such as chassis, power supplies, and unique application modules without processors. These factors also add significantly to the total number of both VME and VPX markets. (Figure 1.) The full report, “World Market for VITA Standards-based Boards and Systems – 2021 Edition,” is available for purchase on the VITA website. Additional market research and quarterly reports can be found at Brian Arbuckle is a market analyst specializing in embedded computing. Brian has an engineering degree from the University of Warwick and an MBA from Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge, UK). His career has spanned marketing management roles in industry for electronic and mechanical components as well as systems and communications networks. He has worked in analyst roles for technical market research organizations IHS Markit and Informa Tech and in recent years authored an annual market research report on the embedded computing industry. VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |



VPX and I/O

The evolution of VPX I/O By Jerry Gipper, Editorial Director

VPX has the greatest I/O density and capability of any embedded computing standard in existence. It continues to evolve to meet demanding industry challenges. This article looks at the current state of its capability and where it might go from here. Today’s processing capability is far outpacing the ability to collect and bring data into the processing stream. System architects continuously struggle to optimize schemes for the best system performance. VPX is designed to give architects the best options possible, while bringing the maximum amount of I/O into a slot and then getting it into the processing stream. Since its introduction in 2003, VPX has continued to evolve to meet the demanding needs of its target markets. From its inception, VPX was defined to support multiple module pitches. Early implementations focused on 0.8-inch pitch spacing, but as VPX implementations broadened, a convergence on 1.0-inch pitched profiles occurred. This shift has led to a significant impact on VPX I/O strategy.

Challenges of first-generation VPX I/O

The increase in pitch width highlighted just how inefficient early connector modules standards – VITA 66.x for optical interconnects on VPX and VITA 67.x for coaxial interconnects on VPX – really were. This shortfall was further compounded by the continuous push for improved size, weight, and power (SWaP),

18 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

requiring more I/O to be available within a slot, as well as a market trending to 3U-sized modules. A lot of valuable connector space is underutilized by housing various connector styles. Additionally, combining optical and coaxial requires separate connectors, using even more valuable space. Figure 1 illustrates the connector layout and spacing for three separate VITA standards for optical interconnect on VPX using the 0.8-inch pitch spacing. A second challenge as VPX evolved was the way first-generation standards required contacts on the plug-in-module half of the connector to be floating and those for the backplane half to be fixed. The floating/fixed combination ensures blind-mating capability, critical to the overall standard. But this meant that the only way to route a signal to the plug-in module was through a cable from the onboard component to the connector at the edge of the board. Routing cables to the connector on the plug-in module can be difficult at best and can also add unnecessary cost and


complexity to the module. Active connectors with intelligence or driver circuitry would never be practical with the floatingconnector style originally specified.

VITA 66.5 – the hybrid variant for I/O

In developing the VITA 66.5 Optical Interconnect on VPX – Hybrid Variant standard, it was determined the first area that needed improving was the elimination of a cable requirement. Running cables of any type to a plug-in module is not desirable. Having a blind-mate connection scheme that could eliminate cables is very important. There is a significant savings of volumetric density within the plug-in module. Added benefits include improved performance as well as reduced cost and assembly time. The scope of the VITA 66.5 standard resided solely at the mating interface; backend termination was left open for innovation and market-driven solutions. This functionality allows for alternate packaging of the connector modules, potentially eliminating all cables on the plug-in module. The second area of opportunity was to better utilize the full 1-inch pitch for the module. Several module widths were designed with OpenVPX implementations in mind. Within these modules, various contact sizes are available for selection. These contact variations allow optimization between power handling and density. Integration of RF and optical contacts within a single connector module is defined in VITA 66.5. This motivation is driven by SWaP initiatives of the VPX ecosystem. This is particularly important in 3U applications, where backplane I/O is a very limited resource. Sharing the connector module makes the best use of the available space, while providing the flexibility designers require. The last new feature is the flexibility of the contact location definition within the connector module space, a move motivated by a market desire to make better use of the space to meet specific mission requirements. This design freedom maintains interoperability that is still maintained through publication in the ANSI/VITA 65.1, OpenVPX System Profile Tables standard, enabling market-driven evolution without the need for additional VITA 66 or 67 development, which would slow acceptance. The existing method calls out separate VITA 66 and 67 modules and integrates them within an OpenVPX slot profile. Under VITA 66.5, it will be easier to integrate the optical and coaxial interfaces in a single module.

Updates preserve design flexibility

The VITA 66.5 standard defines the compliance of the optical interface, while ANSI/VITA 67.3, Coaxial Interconnect on VPX, Spring-Loaded Contact on Backplane standard, defines the compliance of the coaxial interface. These standards are closely


Example of optical mating interfaces. Image courtesy of TE Connectivity.

related, similarly structured, and intended as a supplement to the ANSI/VITA 65.1 profile tables definition. Any standardized aperture is then included within the slot profiles of OpenVPX, guaranteeing physical interoperability by documenting the dimensions. The connector modules within the Compliant Connector Modules list – designed with overarching VPX compliance in mind – are included in new VITA 65 OpenVPX slot profiles. These slot profiles support an ever-evolving ecosystem without needing to alter the backplane, an extremely important consideration for system architects. Payload plug-in modules can be replaced as new capabilities, integrated within a slot, requiring additional contacts with different arrangements. VITA 66.5 was written so that the backplane half of the connector fits into an aperture space defined by the standard. This means that backplane designs can be simplified because there is no need to install connectors with routing or other backplane considerations forcing complex redesigns of the backplane. The desired connector can be added into the aperture space depending on the VITA 65 OpenVPX profile selected for a specific configuration. An upgrade is as simple as replacing the existing backplane connector module with a vendor-provided replacement, all without replacing the backplane. “Integrating active optical transceivers into the plug-in connector module requires a rugged design that not only meets MIL-STD environmental conditions, but also fits in the width of a single backplane aperture as defined in VITA 67.3,” states Steve Devore, product architect, DRS Signal Solutions, and chair of the VITA 66.5 VSO Working Group. Steve understands the challenges: “The transceiver’s mechanical mounting system and electrical interface must be able to fit side by side on the plug-in board for high port density. And the MT ferrule must be integrated into the optical transceiver to reliably mate with the backplane optical connector using slot and tab guide features. The VITA 66.5 standard defines the active optical plug-in module’s footprint outline, the mounting position on the VPX VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |


VPX and I/O


plug-in module, the position of the MT ferrules, and the alignment guide features to ensure a blind-mate connector system capable of 500 mating cycles.”

Principles behind the standard

The following three objectives are the principles behind the VITA 66.5 standard: 1. Eliminate the requirement of cables on the plug-in module: The standard eliminates the requirement that optical cables must be routed from the transceiver to the plug-in module to backplane connector. Instead, improved active connectors can be used – increasing density, lower costs, improved performance, and ease of assembly. No more manually adding short cables on the plug-in module. The added benefit for optical implantations is the ability to support an active module where an active optical transceiver is integrated in a blind-mating configuration. 2. Facilitate standard integration of VITA 65, VITA 66, and VITA 67: The standard focuses on the mating interface definitions. Backplane module footprints for common connectors are defined in the ANSI/VITA 66.4 and ANSI/ VITA 67.3 standards. This is a key factor enabling physical backplane slots to support multiple I/O configurations, as shown in Figure 2.


a) 3D view of example backplane apertures and b) 3D view of module E shell.

3. Enable growth within the document: The standard is structured to allow market-driven evolution, with sections designed to support the addition of new interfaces or modules; this enables backwards compatibility, with a clearer path to support subsequent designs.

VITA 66.5 going forward

The VITA 66.5 working group was very creative in developing this standard. They were able to enable state-of-the-art I/O connectivity, while providing a path for maintaining leading edge I/O density. The door is wide open for future innovation in VPX I/O.


| VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 201083220_Anzeige_Aussteller_DEU_177,8x123,8.indd 1 06.10.21 09:10

VITA Technologiess Application Guide

OpenVPX Sponsored By:


Annapolis Micro Systems WILD™ Chassis Managers Highly-Integrated, Secure & Aligned with SOSA™ 1.0 • Capability: Provides control and access to Plug-In Card JTAG and Maintenance ports, CLK1 usage, network functions & optional advanced security functions

RFSoC Board Combines Analog & Digital in One 3U Slot

• FPGAs: Xilinx UltraScale+™ Zynq (ZU5EG or ZU11EG) & Microsemi PolarFire • Mounting: Directly on backplane, or via 3U or 6U VPX plug-in carrier card • Power: Only requires 3.3V • Optional BSP: For customizing Zynq PS & PL for security • Standards: VITA 46.11, SOSA 1.0 & MIL-STD-1553 • Availability: Commercial off-the-shelf


Interface Concept ComEth4510e

The WILDSTAR 3XR2 is the first RFSoC board that combines analog and digital capability in a single 3U OpenVPX slot. Combining filtering and tuning with digitizing and processing delivers much lower SWaP-C than separate single-function modules, while maintaining the ability to upgrade either capability separately. The combined analog/digital capability does not sacrifice performance or interoperability. It features two Gen 3 RFSoCs, is 100Gb Ethernet capable, and is aligned with SOSA™ 1.0. ™

GENERAL FEATURES • Full-length Analog Interface Mezzanine Site for hosting: • A direct RF digitization mezzanine • Simple analog circuitry (filtering, amplification, etc.) • A 3rd party or customer-supplied analog tuner to allow for digitization of higher frequency signals • Two Xilinx Gen 3 Zynq® UltraScale+™ RFSoC FPGAs (XCZU43DR - Others also available) • VITA 46.11/SOSA IPMC Support • A Full Board Support Package for fast and easy Application Development ADC & DAC I/O • ADC: 8 Channel, 0.5–5.0+GSps Rate, 14 bit Resolution • DAC: 8 Channel, 0.5–10.0+GSps Rate, 14 bit Resolution • Backplane RF support with VITA 67 Mechanical & Environmental • Air, conduction, or AFT cooled: -55°C to +85°C Operating • Supports OpenVPX payload profiles: • U2F1H-14.6.11-n (SOSA Primary) • U4F1J-14.6.13-n (SOSA Secondary) • Developed in alignment with SOSA Technical Standard 1.0 • 410-841-2514

22 | VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021

The ComEth4510e is a new high-speed 6U OpenVPX control and data plane 40 Gigabit Ethernet switch for compute-intensive applications. The control plane and data plane are based on an independent Marvell Prestera DX switching matrix, providing 10/40 GbE interfaces and a high port density (up to 91 ports) together with high-speed switching capability (up to 720Gb/s) that significantly increase networking performances, required in defense and industrial application systems. The ComEth4510e switching is controlled be a separate management processor which runs Interface Concept’s “Switchware” switch management stack providing IPV6 support, RIPng, and OSPF v3. 6U-VPX/365-ComEth4510e-6U-VPX-Dual-Plane-40-Gigabit-Ethernet-Switch


Interface Concept ComEth4590a

The ComEth4590a is a 3U 1/10/40 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Data and Control Planes. It is a high performance rugged­ ized dual plane 3U VPX Layer 2/3 Ethernet switch devel­ oped in alignment with the SOSA™ (Sensor Open Systems Architecture) Technical Standard. It integrates two sets of independent layer 2 (Ethernet) and layer 3 switches & con­ trol processors to support physically separated Control and Data Planes for highly secured 3U VPX systems. These two Ethernet packet processors, managed by the Dual core ARM processors, offer remarkable switching capabilities with 1G, 10G and 40G Ethernet configurations.­Switches/ 3U­VPX/309­ComEth­4590a­3U­VPX­11040­Gigabit­Ethernet­Switch­ with­Data­and­Control­Planes

VITA Technologiess Application Guide


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Test & Measurement

Dawn VME Products Fabric Mapping Modules

Dawn OpenVPX backplane Fabric Mapping Modules simplify topology customization. Dawn VME Products Fabric Mapping Modules automate optimization of OpenVPX backplane topologies. Newly patented FMM micro-overlays quickly customize offthe-shelf OpenVPX backplanes to mission requirements. Fabric Mapping Modules allow designers to work with flexible configurations of high-speed links. Off-the-shelf backplanes can be quickly customized to mission requirements without the time and expense required for new backplane designs, a critical advantage when schedules are compressed by late system changes. Dawn engineers have successfully used Fabric Mapping Modules to solve many OpenVPX application problems in the design phase.

Test & Measurement

Dawn VME Products Dawn Single Slot OpenVPX Development Backplanes

The Dawn family of one-slot OpenVPX test station and development backplanes gives engineers the ability to perform compatibility tests and easily reconfigure payload module profiles and slot interoperability to meet custom requirements. Highly useful as stand alone or in combination with other backplanes, with or without RTM connectors. Multiple units can be topology wired using MERITEC VPX Plus cables. Available 3U and 6U in VITA 65, VITA 67.1, VITA 67.2, VITA 67.3, Nano-RF, SOSA aligned and Power Supply slot profiles. Custom configurations available.

SOSA and VITA: Enabling Open Standards for Improved Capability Sponsored by Annapolis Micro, Epiq Solutions, Pentek, and TE Connectivity Elements of the Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA) technical standard are leveraging standards developed by the VITA Standards Organization, specifically VITA 65, also known as OpenVPX. VITA has also become a participating member of the SOSA Consortium along with the Air Force, Army, and Navy. Join a panel of industry experts for this webcast, which covers how the SOSA Consortium is working with VITA to enable standardization of VITA-based standards within the SOSA Technical Standard. Speakers: Rodger Hosking, V.P. and Cofounder of Pentek, Inc., now part of Mercury Noah Donaldson, Chief Technical Officer, Annapolis Micro Systems Michael Walmsley, Global Product Manager, Aerospace/Defense/Marine, TE Connectivity John Orlando, CEO and Cofounder, Epiq Solutions

To watch the webcast:


VITA Technologies with Application Guide Fall 2021 |



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