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EBX, ETX and ITX SBC Roundup

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


FPGA Boards Transform Radar and SIGINT Capabilities

Volume 15 Number 9 September 2013

An RTC Group Publication

EXCLUSIVE: Designing at the System-to-System Level — Part 1

You need it. We build it. Copyright © 2013 RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. RTD is a co-founder of the PC/104 Consortium and an AS9100 and ISO9001 Certified Company. All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

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The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing


Military Storage Hierarchies: From RAID to SSDs

CONTENTS September 2013

Volume 15

Number 9

SPECIAL FEATURE Military Storage Hierarchies: From RAID to SSDs

10  Military Demands a Whole Hierarchy of Storage Solutions Jeff Child

18  Cache Partitioning Enhances Multicore Performance Tim King, DDC-I


24  Customized Approach Leverages OpenVPX Flexibility Brian Roberts, Dawn VME Products

SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT EXCLUSIVE: Designing at the System-to-System Level: The Industry’s New Challenge

28  Innovative Systems and Standards Enable Efficient Ground Vehicle Networking Johnny Keggler

34  FACE Standard Brings Open Concepts to Airborne Platforms Jeff Child


38  Busless Embedded Form Factors Mean Tight SWaP Requirements Jeff Child


EBX, ETX and ITX Boards Roundup Digital subscriptions available:

COTS (kots), n. 1. Commercial off-the-shelf. Terminology popularized in 1994 within U.S. DoD by SECDEF Wm. Perry’s “Perry Memo” that changed military industry purchasing and design guidelines, making Mil-Specs acceptable only by waiver. COTS is generally defined for technology, goods and services as: a) using commercial business practices and specifications, b) not developed under government funding, c) offered for sale to the general market, d) still must meet the program ORD. 2. Commercial business practices include the accepted practice of customerpaid minor modification to standard COTS products to meet the customer’s unique requirements. —Ant. When applied to the procurement of electronics for the U.S. Military, COTS is a procurement philosophy and does not imply commercial, office environment or any other durability grade. E.g., rad-hard components designed and offered for sale to the general market are COTS if they were developed by the company and not under government funding.

Departments 6 Publisher’s Notebook Quantum Change on the Way 8

The Inside Track


COTS Products

50 Editorial Open Architecture’s Day in the Sun

Coming in October See Page 48 On The Cover: Under development by the Air Force, Gorgon Stare is a video capture technology that makes use of many Terabytes worth of solid state disk storage. It is a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an MQ-9 Reaper UAV. The system is designed to do wide-area surveillance, which entails downloading many different images to a variety of military users for analysis. Shown here, an MQ-9 Reaper sits on the flightline at Creech Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Lance Cheung)

The Journal of Military Electronics & Computing

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, PUBLISHER Pete Yeatman,


Art/Production ART DIRECTOR Kirsten Wyatt, GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Farina, LEAD WEB DEVELOPER Justin Herter,

Advertising WESTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Stacy Mannik, (949) 226-2024 MIDWEST REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SALES MANAGER Mark Dunaway, (949) 226-2023 EASTERN REGIONAL SALES MANAGER Jasmine Formanek, (949) 226-2004 BILLING Cindy Muir, (949) 226-2000

COTS Journal HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050,

Join the growing number of programs that use LCR Electronics’ ATCA Chassis in the field for mission-critical computing. To learn more about LCR and our products, contact us today.

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9 South Forest Avenue Norristown, PA 19401 (800) 527-4362 sales email: 4 Untitled-7 1

COTS Journal | September 2013 9/3/13 9:34 AM

Published by THE RTC GROUP Copyright 2013, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.

Aircraft Interface Devices (AID) Solve avionics system integration and compatibility problems with Ballard Technology’s versatile Aircraft Interface Devices. These rugged units are an essential part of many avionics upgrades, such as tactical mission systems and electronic ight bags (EFB), where they serve avionics data while protecting aircraft control domains from interference and corruption.

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NOTEBOOK Quantum Change on the Way


pparently the overall economy has bottomed out and is s-l-o-w-l-y improving. And the military electronics market is also starting to move ahead. This does not mean that the general budget for the military is improving, only that the reality of having fewer people means that in order for the military to perform its mission it needs to depend more on electronic systems. It will take a little time before there is a general positive feeling about the military electronics market, but unless our elected officials decide to do something extremely stupid, the trend will continue. The budget situation for the military electronics industry over the last two years has been a lot like a tornado going through a town; some suppliers were untouched and others completely devastated. Whether you were hit was dependent on the programs you were part of. From here on out we need to face the fact that the current U.S. budget climate is all about less money and getting more for what the military spends. The DoD will reduce the uniformed and civilian manpower as low as they reasonably can, and increase the use of less costly electronics to replace the effectiveness lost by the manpower reduction. Programs that will be seen in a more favorable light will be the ones that use available technology and limit costly development programs. Whether creating new platforms or upgrading existing platforms, one fact is certain: gone are the days when electronics and computing technologies were just a part of military deliverable’s functionality. From now on primes will start to partner with electronics systems suppliers, or may acquire companies that develop them. Vendor-supplied electronics systems will form the intelligent systems that are fundamentally tied to the capabilities and requirements of everything from radar systems to fire control systems to advanced communications gear. The result is that high-level technical decision makers— from DoD execs, to program managers (both uniformed and non-uniformed), to engineering managers—need to keep pace with the system-level technology issues along with the many global, big-picture trends that drive and affect technology decision making. The importance of technology as the military moves forward has even been part of every speech made by the 6

COTS Journal | September 2013

U.S. Secretary of Defense over the past year. But while the importance of electronics and computing technology in the military is far from new, the role it’s playing and the stakes involved have moved to a whole new plateau. Until recently, our industry supplied modules, boards, boxes, preconfigured systems and in some cases complete subsystems to a prime that integrated those electronics into a platform that ended up in a deliverable system. The responsibility of finding a supplier that used the technologies necessary to fulfill the requirements of the different elements within a platform or deliverable was on the shoulders of the prime contractors. In order to be successful as a supplier in the new budget climate, suppliers need to be conversant with the architecture of the platform and deliverable. They also need to tailor their offerings to be not just compatible, but also highly effective with the other elements within the platform and deliverable. Whether the platform is a UAV, a manned aircraft, a ground combat vehicle or a warship, every platform has varying requirements from basic SWaP reduction to highly sophisticated unique needs of a specific platform. Exploring different technology options and their different benefits is essential to every platform management team—from teams developing the smallest autonomous ground vehicle to those developing highly complex, large aerospace or marine platforms. Similar to what our industry did when the COTS philosophy was first introduced to the military, we now need to do the same with respect to platform architecture development and integration. This industry is at a point of experiencing a quantum change and any time we humans are faced with accepting a change, there is resistance. Our industry on both the supplier and user side will require some time before this imminent change is understood and accepted.

Pete Yeatman, Publisher COTS Journal

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INSIDE TRACK Northrop Grumman Awarded $617 Million Contract for E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $617 million contract for five full-rate production Lot 1 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft (Figure 1). The first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye took to the skies in 2007 over St. Augustine, FL. Since then, Northrop Grumman has delivered 10 new production E-2Ds to the U.S. Navy, on cost and on schedule. An additional 10 aircraft are in various stages of manufacturing and predelivery flight testing at the company’s St. Augustine Aircraft Integration Center. Initial operational capability with the Navy remains on track for 2015. The E-2D program continues to find ways to reduce costs and provide best value to the customer through improving aircraft delivery processes, standardizing repair methods and looking for opportunities to improve spares timing to increase the overall program affordability. According to Northrop Grumman, the Navy’s E-2D program of record at 75 aircraft, full-rate production enables the production of the remaining 55 aircraft over the next 10 years and provides the opportunity for a cost-effective, multi-year procurement. Northrop Grumman, Los Angeles, CA. (310) 553-6262. [].

Raytheon Receives $218 Million for Advanced SM-3 Missile Contract Raytheon Company was awarded a $218,530,196 contract by the Missile Defense Agency to complete the assembly and delivery of 29 Standard Missile-3 Block IB missiles (Figure 2). Launched off U.S. Navy ships, SM-3 interceptors protect the U.S. and its allies by destroying incoming short-, medium- and intermediaterange ballistic missile threats by colliding with them in space. The three back-to-back successful SM-3 Block IB flight tests have demonstrated the missile’s advanced capabilities and reliability against various threats in a variety of mission scenarios. Combatant commanders around the world are eager to build up their inventories in support of Phase 2 of the Phased Adaptive Approach


Figure 1

An E-2D Advanced Hawkeye assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20 makes its first carrier takeoff aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). in Huntsville, AL. Guidance sections and guidance units will be built at the Raytheon Missile Systems Space Factory in Tucson, AZ. Raytheon Waltham, MA. (781) 522-3000. [].

Lockheed Martin Completes Long-Range Surveillance Radar Demo Figure 2

Launched off U.S. Navy ships, SM-3 interceptors protect the U.S. and its allies by destroying incoming short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missile threats. starting in 2015. Final assembly will take place in Raytheon’s new, state-of-the-art Redstone Missile Integration Facility

COTS Journal | September 2013

Lockheed Martin successfully operated its full-scale prototype long-range air surveillance radar during a recent capability demonstration to the U.S. Air Force. The ThreeDimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) will serve as the principal Air Force long-range, groundbased sensor for detecting, identifying and reporting aerial targets. This next-

generation system will replace the Air Force’s AN/TPS-75 air search radar. During the event, the 3DELRR full-scale prototype showed its maturity, f lexibility, scalability and the benefits of its open technology design. More than 70 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and Office of Secretary of Defense personnel attended the demonstration either locally or via webcast. The radar detected required targets of opportunity launched from the Syracuse airport and surrounding areas. The company hired additional test aircraft for the event, putting the prototype through more advanced performance detection and tracking scenarios expected of long-range radars. Lockheed Martin Bethesda, MD. (301) 897-6000. [].

SPECIAL FEATURE Military Storage Hierarchies: From RAID to SSDs


COTS Journal | September 2013

Military Demands a Whole Hierarchy of Storage Solutions With a deluge of high-resolution data being captured constantly, the military now sees data storage as a key part of military platforms. Technology suppliers offer a mix of rugged solutions ranging from SSDs to RAID systems. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


igh-bandwidth sensor platforms on UAVs, satellites and other system are bringing in a deluge of data. This is making military data storage a more missioncritical function than ever before. Memory arrays comprised of RAID module, rotating disks, SSD and sophisticated interfaces are being tasked to manage and store massive amounts of data. This section explores the key technology and product trends in military data storage. For their part, SSDs now have densities enabling system designers to store complete program and data storage all on rugged SSDs. This has interesting implications as storage media of significant densities can now reside in slot-card board-level systems or as mezzanines on SBCs. There are two ends of the spectrum for today’s military storage implementations. One is low-capacity, low-performance embedded storage boards. The other is higher-capacity, higherperformance, but physically much larger and heavier, external storage boxes or subsystems. However, current flash-based Solid State Drive (SSD) technology—combined with optimized storage controller architectures—has fueled the development of embedded storage blades that provide high levels of consistent performance, reliability and capacity. The latest crop of highdensity, rugged solid state storage solutions is enabling military September 2013 | COTS Journal



system developers to pack in system complexity without the burden of memory storage constraints.

Advanced Security Technology One of the newest trends in SSDs is the inclusion of more sophisticated security technology. Along such lines, this summer STEC has expanded its s800 family of Serial Attached Storage (SAS) solid state drives (SSDs) with the introduction of the industry’s first generally

available Micro SAS SSDs. Additionally, STEC announced that the new small form factor (1.8-inch) Micro SAS SSDs are available with stringent 256-bit AESXTS encryption, enabling hardware-level security in cloud computing, data centers and web-based applications, as well as in government and defense environments where data protection is crucial (Figure 1). Uniquely designed for blade servers, caching and high-density computing environments, the new Micro SAS drives

Figure 1

The s800 family of Serial Attached Storage (SAS) solid state drives (SSDs) feature a small form factor (1.8 inches) and are available with stringent 256-bit AES-XTS encryption. provide storage system developers with the smallest enterprise-class SAS SSD form factor yet. They meet the demanding performance, footprint and power requirements of today’s enterprise-storage applications. In addition to their corporate enterprise system applications, the new Micro SAS SSDs and encryption address the rigorous demands of the federal sector. Government agencies face increasingly tighter requirements on computing and storage systems’ size and energy usage— concerns addressed by the Micro SAS drives’ small form factor and power draw that’s 20 percent less than standard 2.5inch SAS SSDs. Additionally, mobile/remote defense computing and storage systems call for high levels of encryption in the field so that data is inaccessible should equipment fall into the wrong hands. The new STEC Micro SAS drives are available in 200 Gbyte and 400 Gbyte capacities.

New Capacity Points Military embedded applications have capacity needs that don’t necessarily match to commercial needs. Virtium recently introduced its DecaStor line of solid state drives (SSDs) (Figure 2). Designed to help embedded systems OEMs rely on a ready supply of SSDs in hardto-find capacities, Virtium DecaStor 2.5and 1.8-inch SSDs are ideal storage solutions for applications designed around 80, 160 and 300 Gbyte capacity points. DecaStor SSDs also feature 10-channel Untitled-5 1 COTS Journal | September 2013 12

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controllers, which deliver compatible transfer speeds for a wide range of military networking and monitoring systems. Virtium DecaStor products can be screened to extended temperatures and deliver security features with AES encryption, security erase and vtGUARD data protection in the event of an unexpected power interruption. DecaStor supports sequential read/write speeds of 410/375 Mbytes/s respectively, with read IOPS of 47,000 and 2,500 write IOPS. Vir-

tium’s DecaStor SSDs are available now in 80, 160 and 300 Gbyte capacities.

High-Density RAID Solutions Exemplifying the modern use of compact rugged RAID storage, Phoenix International Systems offers the missionoriented RPC24 high-performance Fibre Channel RAID Subsystem (Figure 3). It features a capacity of twenty-four drives in two easily removable magazines containing up to twelve solid state disk or Figure 2


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The DecaStor 2.5- and 1.8-inch SSDs offer 80, 160 and 300 Gbyte capacity points. Sequential read/write speeds of 410/375 Mbyte/s respectively, with read IOPS of 47,000 and 2,500 write IOPS. hard disk drives, each housed in rugged 2U (3.5-inch) panel height, 19.5-inch deep enclosure. It provides up to eight host ports of 8 Gbit Fibre Channel (followed soon by 6 Gbit SAS and 10GigE iSCSI) to SAS, or SATA devices over a 12 Gbit SAS internal bus. The unique design of the RPC24’s rugged, cable-less, backplane-based, high-density 2U chassis provides a broad environmental operational envelope (-20° to +70°C, 45,000 ft altitude with SSDs), redundant, hot-swap components and vast storage capacity, while assuring the highest level of data availability. Incorporating aluminum and steel in its rugged construction, the RPC24 weighs only 51 pounds with a full complement of 24 SSDs, is less than 20 inches deep, and is certified to military specifications MILSTD-810G and MIL-STD-461E.

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Also in the theme of purpose-built removable storage, Winchester Systems offers the RR2P Series. Designed as transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport, the RR2P is a lightweight aluminum 2U RAID disk array, weighing 48 pounds fully loaded, featuring two secure, yet easily removable disk canisters (Figure 4). Each canister holds 10 compact 2.5inch Small Form Factor (SFF) disk drives


with capacity up to 2 Terabytes each and total system capacity to 40 Terabytes. For speed, capacity and economy, a variety of SAS and Solid State Disks (SSDs) are available in the 2.5-inch SFF size to meet varying needs. The RAID controller delivers up to 2,000 Mbytes/s write through-put for rapid data recording and up to 2,200 Mbytes/s for data reading and transfer from SAS disks. In a typical surveillance application, the post-mission canisters with the critical images are easily removed and plugged into a ground station. Fresh canisters are immediately loaded into the mobile unit for rapid redeployment. All 10 disks in a canister are carried as a single unit by a handle for safe transport. Each canister locks into place with a positive locking lever. Reliable canister connectors are military grade for field usage and rated for 5,000 insertion cycles. For personnel safety during deployment, the canisters are held by secure restraints for crash protection impact to 200 Gbytes. The RR2P has four 8 Gbit Fiber Channel links that can be user configured as dual ports per

Untitled-2 1

Figure 3

The RPC24 is a Fibre Channel RAID Subsystem that features a capacity of twenty-four drives in two easily removable magazines containing up to twelve solid state disk or hard disk drives, each housed in rugged 2U (3.5inch) panel height, 19.5-inch deep enclosure. canister and offers options including AC or DC power supplies and a variety of disk and SSD storage alternatives. It is conveniently only 17 inches wide to mount with a variety of standard rackmount rails and offers optional base plate mounting screws for secure lockdown to the vehicle. The RR2P is designed to facilitate

rapid data transfer from mobile vehicles to ground stations. Importantly, the RR2P will operate at 40°C and at 10,000 foot pressurized attitudes. Variable speed fans provide cooling on demand while reducing noise and vibration at moderate ambient temperatures. A front-mounted LCD on each canister provides power, activity and status information.

Overlap with Telecom The requirements of telecom have a lot of overlap with rugged military needs. That’s why telco-based ratings like NEBS have relevance in the defense world. A new 2U RAID array has been certified to Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) Level 3. The 12-drive array from One Stop Systems supports up to 48 Tbyte data storage using twelve 4 Tbyte SATA drives. It connects to the host server with either PCIe x8 or SASx4 connectivity. The chassis includes dual redundant 500-watt power supplies, two removable blowers for superior cooling, and a removable NEBS filter and filter cover. The RAID array boasts 2700 Mbyte/s

8/29/13 10:14 AM September 2013 | COTS Journal 15


the performance. The 2U RAID array lists for $5,899 and is available immediately. Phoenix International Orange, CA. (800) 203-4800. []. One Stop Systems Escondido, CA. (877) 438-2724. [].

Figure 4

RR2P is a lightweight aluminum 2U RAID disk array, weighing 48 pounds fully loaded, featuring two secure, yet easily removable disk canisters. data transfers from server to storage on a single PCIe x8 connection. A single SASx4 connection to the server provides 1900 Mbyte/s data transfers. PCIe is suitable for storage applications that require extremely fast read and write transfers. Because there is no software conversion from PCIe on the motherboard to another protocol, latency

Untitled-4 1 COTS Journal | September 2013 16

is reduced, providing extremely fast data transfers. Two SASx4 input cable from one or two servers to the two SAS connectors on the rear of the RAID array. Both can be input connections from two servers or one can be an input and the other an output to connect another RAID array, thereby doubling the storage capacity and increasing

STEC Santa Ana, CA. (949) 476-1180. []. Virtium Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. (949) 888-2444. []. Winchester Systems Billerica, MA. (781) 265-0200. [].

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SPECIAL FEATURE Military Storage Hierarchies: From RAID to SSDs

Cache Partitioning Enhances Multicore Performance For military safety-critical applications, it’s a tricky problem to manage the complications of multicore computer systems. Smart cache partitioning helps tame that beast. Tim King, Product Marketing Manager DDC-I


ne of the biggest challenges that developers of military safetycritical software applications for multicore processors (MCPs) face is managing contention for shared resources such as cache. Benchmarks demonstrate that MCPs significantly increase cache contention, resulting in worst-case execution times (WCETs) that are typically 100 percent (or more) greater than average-case execution times (ACETs). One way that developers can effectively manage this contention and boost multicore performance is to utilize an RTOS with cache partitioning.

Multicore Complications On an MCP, applications running on different cores compete for shared cache (L2, and/or L3 if present). This greatly increases the potential for interference whereby an application running on one core can significantly impact the execution time of an application running on another core. Consequently, the impacted software may overrun its execution time budget and/or miss deadlines, resulting in unsafe failure conditions. FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | September 2013

Core 0

Core 1



L1 cache

L1 cache

L2 cache

Figure 1

Shown here is a dual-core configuration without cache partitioning. Here each core has its own CPU and L1 cache and both cores share an L2 cache. Note that shared memory and optional L3 are not shown. MCPs are designed to optimize average-case execution times (ACETs), often at the expense of worst-case execution times (WCETs). But while optimized ACETs work well in non-critical applications, developers of certifiable, safety-critical software must design and budget application execution times for WCET behavior. Unfortunately, MCPs typically inflate the difference between WCETs and ACETs by 100 percent or more—in practice, some have been en-

countered with deltas exceeding 1000 percent. Consequently, on MCPs, applications require significantly higher execution time budgets (much of it often unused), resulting in significantly degraded CPU utilization. Cache partitioning reduces WCET and increases CPU utilization by reducing cache competition and making it easier to bound and control interference patterns. By setting aside dedicated partitions for critical applications, developers can reduce


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Core 0

Core 1



L1 cache

L1 cache

L2 cache with applications executing on Core 1 (note that applications on the same core also compete with one another for L2; cache partitioning applies in this case as well). If application A on Core 0 uses data that maps to the same cache line(s) as application B on Core 1, then a collision occurs. For example, suppose A’s data resides in L2; any accesses to that data will take very few processor cycles. Then, suppose B accesses data that happens to map to the same L2 cache line as A’s data. At that point, A’s data must be evicted from L2 (including a potential “write-back” to RAM), and B’s data must be brought into cache from RAM. The time required to handle this collision is typically charged to B. Then, suppose A accesses its data again. Since that data is no longer in L2 (B’s data is in its place), B’s data must be evicted from L2 (including a potential “write-back” to RAM), and A’s data must be brought back into cache from RAM. The time required to handle this collision is typically charged to A. Most times, A and B will encounter such collisions infrequently. In those cases,

L2 cache Core 1 cache partition

Core 0 cache partition Figure 2

Here again each core has its own CPU and L1 cache and both cores share an L2 cache. But in this case the RTOS partitions the L2 cache such that each core has its own segment of L2. interference from applications residing on other cores and provide timely, deterministic access to cache. This reduces the amount of time that must be budgeted for critical tasks, thereby shrinking the delta between ACET and WCET and boosting overall CPU utilization.

Cache Partitioning In a simple dual-core processor configuration (Figure 1), each core has its own CPU and L1 cache and both cores share an L2 cache. In this configuration, applications executing on Core 0 compete for the entire

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their respective execution times can be considered as “average case” (ACETs). However, on occasion, their data accesses will collide at a high frequency. In these cases, their respective execution times must be considered as “worst case” (WCETs).

When developing certifiable, safetycritical software, one must design and budget an application’s execution time for worst-case behavior, since such software must have an adequate time budget to complete its intended function every time it executes, lest it cause an unsafe failure condition (note that a safety-critical RTOS must enforce time partitioning, wherein each application has a fixed amount of CPU time budget to execute). With the potential for multiple applications on multiple cores to generate contention for L2, WCETs on MCPs often are considerably higher than ACETs. And since certifiable, safety-critical applications must have time budgets to accommodate their WCETs, this situation leads to a great deal of


Execution Time (uSecs)

Designing for Worst Case

Read-Only ACET vs. WCET Behavior 700

500 400 300 200 100 0









Working Set Size (KB) ACET (no CP)

WCET1 (no CP)

WCET2 (with CP)

Figure 3

Shown here are the results of the read-only test application that demonstrate the benefits of cache partitioning. These results are representative of the other three tests.


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budgeted but unused time, resulting in significantly degraded CPU utilization. Cache partitioning reduces WCET by reducing cache collisions among competing applications residing on different cores. Again, in a simple dual-core processor configuration (Figure 2), each core has its own CPU and L1 cache and both cores share an L2 cache. However, in this case, the RTOS partitions the L2 cache such that each core has its own segment of L2, meaning that data used by applications on Core 0 will only be cached in Core 0’s L2 partition. Similarly, data used by applications on Core 1 will only be cached in Core 1’s L2 partition. This partitioning eliminates the possibility of applications on different cores interfering with one another via L2 collisions. Without such interference, the deltas between application WCETs and its ACETs are often considerably lower than is the case without cache partitioning. By bounding and controlling these interference patterns, application execution times are more deterministic and time budgets can be set far more tightly, thereby keeping processor utilization high.

Test Environment and Applications Cache partitioning tests were performed on a 1.6 GHz Atom processor (x86) with 32 Kbyte of L1 data cache, 24 Kbyte of L1 instruction cache and a 512 Kbyte unified L2 cache. Note that while a single core x86 processor was used for these tests, this cache partitioning capability applies equally well to applications executing on the same core (which compete for L2). Further, it does not depend on any features that are special or unique to x86 processors and applies equally well to other processor types (such as ARM or PowerPC). Four memoryintensive test applications were used, all using a range of data/code sizes, sequential and random access strategies, and various working set sizes including read-only, write-only, copy and code execution. Tests were run with and without a “cache trasher” application, which evicts test application data/code from L2 and “dirties” L2 with its own data/code. In effect, the cache trasher puts L2 into a worst-case state from a test application’s

perspective. That is, the cache trasher mimics real-world scenarios, where different applications run concurrently and compete for the shared L2 cache. Each test application was executed under three scenarios: In scenario 1, without cache partitioning and without cache trashing, the test application competes for the entire 512 Kbyte L2 along with the RTOS kernel and a variety of debug tools. This test establishes baseline average performance, wherein each test executes with an “average” amount of L2 contention. In scenario 2, without cache partitioning and with cache trashing, the test application competes for the entire 512 Kbyte L2 along with the RTOS kernel, a variety of debug tools and the rogue cache trasher application. This test establishes baseline worst-case performance, wherein each test executes with a worst-case amount of L2 interference from other applications, primarily the cache trasher. In Scenario 3, with cache partitioning and with cache trashing, three L2 partitions are created: a 256 Kbyte partition allocated to the test application; a 64 Kbyte partition

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allocated to the RTOS kernel and a variety of debug tools; and a 192 Kbyte partition allocated to the rogue cache trasher application. This scenario establishes optimized worst-case performance, wherein each test executes within its own L2 partition with no interference from other applications, including the cache trasher.

Benefits of Cache Partitioning Results of the read-only test application demonstrate the benefits of cache partitioning (Figure 3). These results are representative of the other three tests. With no cache partitioning and no cache trashing (scenario 1, ACET), the read-only test averaged 105 usecs to execute given a working set size of 512 Kbyte. With no cache partitioning, but with cache trashing (scenario 2, WCET1), the test took roughly 400 usecs to execute given the same size working set (a 280% increase). However, with cache partitioning and cache trashing (scenario 3, WCET2), the average execution time drops back to 117 usecs, or just 11% higher than the ACET. These results clearly demonstrate the efficacy of cache partitioning for an application that performs a large number of reads per period. Though difficult to discern here, the impact on bounding WCETs is more pronounced when the application’s working set size fits within the cache partition that it’s using (in this case, 256 Kbytes). This result is expected due to the nature of cache. That said, embedded, real-time applications tend to have relatively small working set sizes, so we expect that cache partitioning will benefit most applications.

tion to interfere with each other. However, such interference is much easier to analyze and bound than the unpredictable interference patterns that may occur between applications executing on different cores with shared cache. In those situations, applications could be mapped to separate cache partitions. The benchmark results clearly demonstrate that cache partitioning technology provides an effective means of bounding and controlling interference patterns

in shared cache on an MCP. In particular, worst-case execution times are bounded and controlled much more tightly when the cache is partitioned. Consequently, application developers can set relatively tight, yet safe, execution time budgets thereby maximizing MCP utilization. DDC-I Phoenix, AZ. (602) 275-7172. [].

Write-Only Test Results Results for the write-only test were similar to the read-only test, though more pronounced for smaller working sets. For larger working sets, results showed relatively small differences between WCETs with and without cache partitioning. Results for the copy test were similar to the read-only test, though more pronounced for smaller working sets. For larger working sets, results were less dramatic, but still showed significant improvement (roughly 2x) in WCETs with cache partitioning. Note that it is possible for applications executing in the same cache partiUntitled-6 1

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Customized Approach Leverages OpenVPX Flexibility For demanding military applications like radar and SIGINT, OpenVPX offers many performance advantages. A custom backplane topology opens up many options that go beyond “standard” profiles. Brian Roberts, Senior Designer Dawn VME Products


penVPX is a robust embedded computing standard, developed to meet the needs of demanding defense and industrial applications. A primary goal during the definition of OpenVPX was that it facilitates multivendor COTS system-level interoperability including modules, backplanes and development chassis. Since embedded defense systems must often be developed and deployed rapidly, it is very important that potential conflicts are eliminated as quickly as possible during the design phase. Established by the VITA Standards Organization and formally designated as ANSI/VITA 65.0, OpenVPX references other VITA standards to define a comprehensive systems architecture including mechanical specifications for modules, connector descriptions, thermal characteristics, communications protocols, utility and power definitions. It also defines a multiplane architecture approach for communication between system components, including support for several high-bandwidth switch fabric protocols including 10 GbE, PCI Express, Serial RapidIO and SATA for nonvolatile memory. New revisions of 24

COTS Journal | September 2013

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to slot. Backplane topologies are identified as Central or “Star,” Distributed or “Mesh,” and Hybrid, a combination of VME slots and VPX slots (Figure 1). Components from different vendors that adhere to the same OpenVPX profile can be configured into functional systems. This critical characteristic of OpenVPX delivers the benefits of interoperability, straightforward technical upgrades and competition-driven cost containment to the end users of systems, such as the Department of Defense. However, the devil is in the details, as the large number of parameters involved in each profile make matching component profiles a demanding design function.

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Many Topology Options An OpenVPX backplane can be configured into many network topologies such as mesh, star, dual-star, ring or daisy chain. These on-backplane networks permit multiple signals to be routed such that several cards can talk to each other simultaneously, achieving an aggregate bandwidth well over 100 Gbytes/s. OpenVPX uses a concept called “profiles” to define the choices for switch fabrics and other technologies. In a system chassis, there are slot profiles that define the mapping of I/O onto the backplane connectors; Payload, Peripheral, Switch, Storage 26

COTS Journal | September 2013

and Bridge are types of slot profiles, with multiple unique and specific profiles organized under each type. Profile parameters are used to further describe properties of a backplane profile. An OpenVPX backplane profile is a physical definition of a backplane implementation that includes details such as the number and type of slots that are implemented and the topologies used to interconnect them. Ultimately a backplane profile is a description of channels and buses that interconnect slots and other physical entities in a backplane, describing the fabric interconnections from slot

The flexibility offered by the wide range of OpenVPX profiles allows designers to optimize the communication topology between slots within a system’s backplane, delivering tremendous improvements in the performance of real-time applications. Slots can be designed to accept the best I/O modules for a specific application and the number of those slots also matched to application needs. Similarly, the number of processing modules is set to meet the performance requirements, and then the connections between all these modules are designed to match the applications processing style and deliver maximum sensor processing throughput. However, implementing this level of optimized topology can be a complex and time-consuming task, constrained by a number of factors. In the defense arena, an example would be a computing system providing image processing on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), using a set of high-performance computing modules and multiple input channels from image sensors. This computing system must deliver real-time performance while staying within clearly defined Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) constraints that are defined by both the characteristics of the UAV and type of missions it must perform. The system design must make optimal use of every slot and every communication link between the modules in the slots. OpenVPX profiles enable this


optimization, but a cookie cutter, onesize-fits-all approach is not going to work. There is also the real-world challenge of design changes. To go back to the UAV example, it may be that after the system design is already underway, a high-level decision is made to utilize a new, advanced type of sensor with a much greater input bandwidth. This, in turn, drives a change in the backplane profile to accommodate the added bandwidth; somehow, the backplane must be adjusted in accordance with a new OpenVPX profile.

Customized Backplanes A long-standing approach to customizing system backplanes is the use of PCB overlays, which fit over an existing backplane, linking backplane pins to the new, desired and optimized connection topology. This is an effective way to modify an existing design quickly, saving time and money. However, as communications fabrics move into the 5 GHz range, a new set of challenges arise. The impedance variations imposed by the high-performance OpenVPX multi-gig differential connector create significant issues when attached to a standard overlay. There are also cost issues involved in creating traditional overlays for complex OpenVPX designs, negating some of the savings that come from using a backplane overlay. A new technology, connector-less micro-overlays, presents a cost-effective solution that can also supply the necessary signal integrity to meet this challenge. Micro-overlays use BGA solder connection technology to interface a PCB-based differential pair matrix with compatible backplanes. The “micro” nature of the overlay reduces the transmission line impedance variations and “stubs” associated with connector-based interfaces by connecting directly to the main backplane via a solder interface. This advanced technique improves the signal integrity between system cards beyond the requirements of the PCI Express, Serial Rapid I/O and 10Gbit (XAUI) Ethernet standards (Figure 2).

A Practical Example Dawn VME Products has enhanced the micro-overlay approach with a patent-

pending Fabric Mapping Module (FMM) technology that simplifies and automates the optimization of backplane topologies in compliance with OpenVPX profiles. FMM allows designers to work with flexible configurations of high-speed links, so inter-slot communications can be customized to meet unique system requirements. These micro-overlays can also facilitate rear transition modules and low profile connector interface systems when normal transition modules do not fit the system application envelope. FMM micro-overlays allow off-theshelf backplanes to be quickly customized to mission requirements, without the time and expense required to spin a new backplane. This can be a critical advantage when schedules are compressed by late design changes, as described in the example above. Dawn’s FMM microoverlays also provide a natural migratory development environment for moving from the lab to the field with the highspeed backplanes due to the rugged , low mass, connector-less characteristics of the technology (Figure 3). OpenVPX profiles enable system designers to confidently create systems using components from multiple vendors, and the range of definable profiles allows a wide range of choices in connection standards and topologies. However, the profiles also introduce a new level of complexity to the design process, especially with regard to backplane profiles. During a design, this complexity issue adds to the already time-consuming task of creating a system backplane. Backplane micro-overlays offer a cost-effective and time-efficient method for customizing an OpenVPX backplane. They support the interoperability of OpenVPX, while providing the flexibility to quickly modify designs based on off-the-shelf backplanes. Dawn VME Products San Jose, CA. (510) 657-4444. [].

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Designing at the System-to-System Level: The Industry’s New Challenge

Innovative Systems and Standards Enable Efficient Ground Vehicle Networking Drawing on technology from the canceled FCS program, the U.S. Army has been developing and testing a slew of solutions that make the most efficient use of ground vehicle space and resources. Johnny Keggler Executive Editor


he proliferation of new technologies and advancements in ground vehicle communications has spawned a host of programs designed to integrate communication subsystems into the larger picture of battlefield information exchange. These projects are designed to make all levels of command omniscient in their communication awareness. Much technology and platform architectures for this have been leveraged from the U.S. Army’s trou-

bled—and ultimately canceled—Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. Unfortunately, until the true essence of connectivity is implemented acr the board, such as can be found with the Victory standard, near-sighted visions (in today’s terms) of simply miniaturizing bolt-on solutions persevere (think SWaP). Vehicle space continues to be eaten by “upgraded” networking equipment both inside and out, bringing with it the associated power demands and cabling and cooling obstacles.

The latest strategy designed to link the actual box with onboard assets is the Capability Set 13 (CS 13) program, which is being led by the U.S. Army with support from a wide selection of industry members. CS 13 was validated through the Army’s Network Integration Evaluations (NIE) pathway, and is designed as a fully integrated package of radios, satellite systems, antennas, software applications and other elements that combine to provide communications connectivity through

Figure 1

Two views inside MRAPs that have been equipped with networked communication assets through the CS 13 program. Although covering a broad-spectrum gap in the communications sphere, the prototype vehicles were essentially subjected to bolt-on-type installations. 28

COTS Journal | September 2013


a Tactical Operations Center to on-themove Brigade commanders and down to the dismounted soldier (Figure 1). Through the CS 13 upgrade, which began fielding in October on five “Super Configuration� MRAPs recently delivered to the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, the vehicle’s radios, sensors and all associated software have been integrated into one “package�, which is essentially an extension of the Warfighter Information Network - Tactical (WIN-T).

The full spectrum of battlefield communications capabilities is addressed and interconnected with CS 13, which features some well-known comms hardhitters such as General Dynamics C4 Systems’ ubiquitous AN/PRC-154 Rifleman Radio and the Harris AN/PRC-117G, the PRC-152A and the company’s RF-7800W high-capacity line-of-sight radios. To contrast this traditional equipment installation approach to the aforementioned Victory standard concept, one must consider

Figure 2

A new-build CS 13 prototype is prepared for delivery to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY on 1 October. The Victory initiative will release some of the outboard clutter and help clear some much-needed space within.


Figure 3




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The TMR 200 offers the advanced networking features needed to interconnect with a vehicle’s electronic architecture and command, control, communication, computing and intelligence (C4I) systems. a few important factors. First, the current CS 13 vehicles are prototypes, and the Victory standard still has a chance to be implemented on any new builds of that program. Second, although an impressive list of “converts� have signed on to develop the Vehicular Integration for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance / Electronic Warfare (C4ISR/EW) Interoperability (VICTORY) initiative, including Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, GDC4S, SAIC, Raytheon and DRS Technologies, et al, this new approach to connectivity is still an emerging


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Digital Beachhead is designed as an integrated Victory backbone solution that features GbE switching and routing, along with Victory data bus, and management and shared services. technology and slated for implementation only in future vehicle networking designs. Whereas the game-changing SATCOM-on-the-move concept somehow remains a bolt-on afterthought, and although miniaturization has been a godsend to this arena, Victory implementation will breathe new life into this and other vehicle networking elements, and to the vehicles themselves through the recovery of lost space, reduced weight requirements and power-saving attributes. Where a legacy vehicle would feature multiple GPS units, SPUs, antennas and displays, integration through Victory would combine assets to enable shared antennas, terminals and other resources through designing connectivity to a set of standards found on the data bus (Figure 1). Victory implementation allows systems to share information over an open architecture that allows future upgrades without requiring significant equipment or ergonomic redesigns. That architecture defines common terminology, components and interfaces through a set of standard specifications and reference designs. The documents describe how the specifications could be deployed. The reference designs range from everything to automotive interfaces to commander display interfaces to Video/Imagery Situational Awareness interfaces and Shot Detection System Integration designs. The Victory initiative began in May 2010 and was designed to overcome the

problems associated with the traditional bolt-on approach to U.S. Army vehicle upgrades, and in July 2011 the Victory 1.0 specification was released (currently on version 1.4). The Victory Standards Support Office releases phased sets of specifications addressing the required capabilities for integrating C4ISR/EW mission equipment and platform applications—standards that are hardware and software agnostic. The overall standards specifications include: • a data bus-centric concept • distributed hardware components— so software upgrades can be realized without affecting the actual boxes • physical and logical interfaces between systems and components that are based on the Victory open standard architecture • shared hardware and software IA components that will enable systems integrators to build security designs to protect and control access to proprietary information • a set of shared data bus services Some subsystem vendors have already understood that Victory compliance is a prerequisite for involvement in new tactical and combat vehicle programs and are working toward that goal. Bringing the vehicle manufacturers and system-level developers around to this train of thought will close the circle and

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take the ground vehicle market to its next level. Among the most interesting developments feeding ground vehicle networking in the past year has been the emergence of subsystems purpose-built specifically aimed at that functionality. Along just such lines, earlier this year General Dynamics Canada has introduced its nextgeneration Tactical Mobile Router, the TMR 200, a compact, modular and flexible router that can be easily configured

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and integrated in a variety of platforms and wireless networks (Figure 3). With the ability to handle high-bandwidth applications, it ensures reliable and secure communications even where wireless network infrastructures do not exist or when nodes are overloaded or off the network. It is ideally suited for tactical environments where network and vehicle electronic architectures are becoming more complex with high-definition cameras and sophisticated sensors streaming gigabits of information.

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Engineered specifically for in-field communications, the TMR 200 allows defense and public safety personnel, mobile command centers and central commands to share high-bandwidth applications such as situational awareness information or battle management applications, along with critical voice and data. The TMR 200 offers the advanced networking features needed to interconnect with a vehicle’s electronic architecture and command, control, communication, computing and intelligence (C4I) systems. In addition, it can easily interface with other systems to enable remote control of communication devices in a tactical mobile network. Aiming a solution specifically for Victory-compliant platforms, Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) offers a rugged Victory-compliant networking backbone called the Digital Beachhead system (Figure 4). It combines a 16-port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch with a high-performance, power-efficient Vehicle Management Computer. Using the system, it is now possible to quickly integrate a modern vehicle control system into a ground vehicle that previously had no embedded onboard electronics. Digital Beachhead’s ARM processor-based system computer runs the vehicle’s health management (HUMS/CBM+) software and monitors the vehicle’s primary systems. Digital Beachhead comes pre-installed with Curtiss-Wright Control’s Vehicle Management Framework (VMF) software. Vehicle Management Framework provides high-level logical access to common vehicle interfaces (CANbus, analog and digital I/O, camera, audio and so on). It has interfaces with HUMS logistic services, such as CBM+/CLOE and DDS. The system includes an eventdriven framework for vetronics control and status. A local user interface is provided via VGA/DVI and USB keyboard/ mouse. With an extremely small footprint 10” x 7” x 3”), combined with less than 4 lb weight, the unit offers a low power, natural convection design. Power consumption is 30W max with less than 20W typical. It supports MIL-STD1275-compliant 28 VDC power with optional Nuclear Event Detector (NED) and meets MIL-STD-810 and MIL-STD-461 environmental qualifications.


Designing at the System-to-System Level: The Industry’s New Challenge

FACE Standard Brings Open Concepts to Airborne Platforms While open architecture standards have been slow to catch on in the military, the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) offers whole new levels of efficiency for airborne software computing implementations. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


s the military moves to a more systems-level approach to deliverable platform designs, the pressure is on to not reinvent the wheel for every software need. But open standards have been slow to catch on. One of the more vivid success stories is the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE). The FACE Standard defines the software computing environment and interfaces designed to support the development of portable components across the general-purpose, safety and security profiles. FACE uses industry standards for distributed communications, programming languages, graphics, operating systems and other areas. Its goal is to establish a common computing software infrastructure supporting portable, capability-specific software components across Department of Defense (DoD) avionics systems. The FACE Consortium was formed in 2010 as a collaborative approach to develop a common operating environment supporting portability and reuse of software components across Department of Defense (DoD) aviation systems. The FACE Consortium has developed a supplier-independent, standardized environment for DoD aviation systems allow34

COTS Journal | September 2013

Figure 1

U.S. Army UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters lift off at Cairo West Air Base. The UH-60L Cockpit Digitization Program is among those that Northrop Grumman plans to use the FACE Reference Architecture in. ing software components to be rapidly migrated across systems conforming to the FACE Standard. The FACE Consortium provides a vendor-neutral forum for industry and the U.S. government to work together to develop and consolidate the open standards, best practices, guidance documents and business models

necessary to achieve these results.

Overcoming Adoption Resistance Over the years, attempts at establishing open systems standards have been tried in the military before with mixed success. There are a couple of reasons why FACE is finally catching on. First, current


aviation systems are typically developed for a unique set of requirements by a single vendor, causing longer lead times for urgent needs, platform-unique designs, limited portability of software components, increased costs, and creating barriers to competition within and across platforms. Second, the military aviation community has not created standardized architectural and software interface standards to sufficiently enable portability of software components across DoD aviation systems. Furthermore, contracts typically do not require conformance to a common set of open standards, and program managers are not funded to assume cost or schedule risks of multi-platform requirements. FACE creates an open, modular software environment enabling portability and reuse of software components across multiple programs and platforms. This architecture expands the selection options for military software components, reduces up-front procurement costs, re-

duces system integration cost and risk, reduces upgrade and technical refresh costs, and therefore reduces total life cycle costs. The FACE Consortium builds upon the tenets of Open Architecture (OA), IMA and Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) by defining a standardized method of interface between software components and architectural segments. The consortium is currently comprised of 39 members including DoD and industry member organizations, their representatives and advisors. The Consortium was formed and is currently managed under the auspices of The Open Group.

Already Required in Programs There are several programs with requirements for FACE. Among these are the U.S. Navy C-130T, U.S. Navy ADDS, U.S. Navy Full Motion Video, Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator, and the U.S. Navy BAA for the Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System (AACUS) research program.

For its part, Northrop Grumman was an early advocate of establishing open architecture standards. The company is actively using the FACE Reference Architecture and interfaces on existing avionics programs, including the effort to integrate third-party-developed FACE components inside Northrop Grumman’s embedded GPS/inertial navigation system for the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System program. Northrop Grumman is also pursuing the FACE Reference Architecture for future programs, including the UH-60L Cockpit Digitization Program (Figure 1). Additionally, software components supporting the FACE Technical Standard, such as the full-motion video application for the company’s Integrated Avionics System, have been successfully demonstrated on various hardware platforms. Furthermore, Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Avionics System has already been rated exemplary by the U.S. Department of Defense via the Modular Open Systems Approach Program Assessment and Rating Tool, which measures the degree of implementation of open architecture standards within a program.


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Also an early adopter of FACE, Lockheed Martin last month said it will offer a universal, highly adaptable and affordable mission equipment package (MEP) to meet requirements for the Joint Multi-Role/Future Vertical Lift (JMR/ FVL) rotary wing program, with potential applications for other customers and platforms. The product will be an affordable, dependable solution for multiple customers due to its open architecture and future airborne capability environment (FACE) software design. To improve the affordability and growth potential of the mission equipment package throughout its lifecycle, Lockheed Martin is incorporating the DoD’s FACE-software standards into the cockpit and mission systems. The use of the FACE standard for the software design will provide the U.S. Army unprecedented flexibility for reuse across multiple aviation platforms.


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Busless Embedded Form Factors Mean Tight SWaP Requirements For military platforms where the size and weight of a backplane isn’t practical, busless embedded computer form factors such as EBX, ETX and Mini-ITX are gathering mindshare. Jeff Child Editor-in-Chief


hile slot-card, backplane-based form factors like VME and cPCI enjoy a rich legacy in the military, none of those backplane-based standards suit particular, unique space, power and reliability constraints of small embedded systems. That’s why busless embedded form factors have risen in popularity in recent years. COM and COM Express modules cover the “compute core only” side of that equation. But form factors like EBX, ETX and the various versions of ITX target the more complete single board computer (SBC) needs of busless systems. A growing number of military applications need just such technology, Small UAVs being just one example (Figure 1). For its part, the “Embedded Board, eXpandable” (EBX) standard is the result of a collaboration between industry leaders to unify the embedded computing industry on a small footprint embedded single board computer standard. The EBX combines a standard footprint with open interfaces. The EBX form factor is small enough for deeply embedded applications, yet large enough to contain the functions of a full embedded computer system: CPU, memory, mass storage interfaces, display controller, serial/parallel ports and other system functions. For expansion, EBX allows easy and modular addition of functions not con38

COTS Journal | September 2013

Figure 1

Small UAVs like Boeing’s RQ-21A Integrator are exactly the kind of platform suited for busless embedded computer form factors like ITX, EBX and ETX. tained in standard product offerings via popular existing industry standards— PC/104, PCI, PC/104-Plus, PCI-104 and PCMCIA. PC/104 places the ISA bus on compact 3.6 x 3.8-inch modules with selfstacking capability. PC/104-Plus adds the speeds of PCI bus to the equation. Meanwhile, ETX, which stands for Embedded Technology eXtended, is a highly integrated and compact (3.7 x 4.9 inch) (95 x 125 mm) computer-on-module (COM) form factor meant to be used much like an IC component. An ETX COM integrates core CPU and memory functionality, the common I/O of a PC/AT, USB, audio, graphics and Ethernet. All I/O signals as well as a full implementation of ISA and PCI buses are mapped to four high-density, low-profile connectors on the bottom side of the module. In April 2006, the members of the ETX Industrial Group released the latest generation of the ETX 3.0 specification. The

ETX Industrial Group ( is an independent association of companies that support ETX and advance the standard. Based on ATX, the ITX form factor is more known recently for its spinoff versions such as Mini-ITX and Pico-ITX. Mini-ITX is a 17 x 17 cm (or 6.7 x 6.7 inch) low-power motherboard form factor developed by VIA Technologies in 2001. They are commonly used in small form factor (SFF) computer systems. Mini-ITX boards can be passively cooled due to their low power consumption architecture. The four mounting holes in a Mini-ITX board line up with four of the holes in ATXspecification motherboards. Pico-ITX, meanwhile, is a PC motherboard form factor announced by VIA Technologies in January 2007. The form factor was transferred over to SFF-SIG in 2008. The PicoITX form factor specifications call for the board to be 10 x 7.2 cm (3.9 × 2.8 inch).

WinSystems’ DesignSolutions

SBCs with advanced CPU chipsets employing sleep modes and active power management. Also, the unit can operate in a +85°C ambient temperature environment using normal convection cooling and no fan. The outputs are +5V@10A, +3.3V@10A, +12V@3A, -12V@500mA, and

ATX-compatible DC/DC Power Supply offers Wide Input Range and -40° to +85°C Operation WinSystems’ PPM-DC-ATX is a PC/104-Plus DC/DC power supply for PC/104, EPIC, and EBX single board computers (SBCs) that support ATX power controls. It features a wide voltage input range from 10 to 50 volts, which allows the unit to operate with 12, 24, or 48 volt batteryoperated or distributed DC power systems. It JHQHUDWHV¿YHUHJXODWHG'&RXWSXWYROWDJHVIURP one common DC input, plus supports the software controlled shutdown and power monitoring for

+5VSTBY@2A. Each output is short circuit protected and current limited. A minimum load is not needed to bring the the supply into regulation. When power is applied to the ERDUGÂżYH/('VZLOO illuminate providing a visual status that power is available. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553

PD Power Supply PC/104 Module for PoE Applications WinSystems’ PPM-PS397-POE-1 is an isolated 25W, 802.3af-compliant, Power over Ethernet (PoE) module. It powers a PC/104Plus single board computer stack from DC power extracted from the CAT5 cable. It is designed for use in remote areas where neither AC nor DC power is close and/or available to be used.






Call 817-274-7553 or Visit Ask about our eval program


The PPM-PS397-POE-1 accepts 42-57VDC and converts it to three isolated outputs: +5VDC@5.0A, +12VDC@ 1.0A, and -12VDC@1.0A. Each output is short circuit protected and current limited. A minimum load is not needed to bring the supply into regulation. :LQ6\VWHPVDOVRRIIHUVWKLVPRGXOHFRQ¿J ured for PC/104 and standalone systems. No fans or heat sinks are required to meet its extended operating temperature range of -40° to +85°C. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS: EBX, ETX and ITX Boards Roundup ETX Module with Dual-Core Atom for Upgrade Path and Longer Life of ETX Systems

Mini-ITX Board Marries Low Power with High Performance Graphics

Based on the latest dual-core 32nm process Intel Atom Processor and NM10 Express Chipset, a new ETX module from Adlink aims to further support its ETX customer base with continuing product development. The ETX-CV is targeted at replacing current entry-level and older high-performance ETX modules (up to Intel Core Duo Processor L2400). Power

A series of new Mini-ITX embedded system boards provides an economical solution for applications that require powerful high-quality graphics output with low power consumption. The new AMDY-7000/7001/7002 Series models from American Portwell are powered by AMD Fusion G, Turion II Neo and Athlon II Neo

consumption ranges between 6 and 12 watts and is much lower than that of previousgeneration products. The ETX-CV is positioned as an entrylevel ETX module for generic systems but is also aimed at systems that require a full set of graphics features. The module comes with integrated support for high VGA up to 1920 x 1200 resolution (WUXGA), single/dual channel 18/24-bit LVDS and onboard DisplayPort connector. The ETX-CV conforms to the latest ETX 3.02 specification and provides two additional onboard SATA connectors while maintaining full backward compatibility with earlier ETX standards. The ETX-CV supports up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 memory on a single SODIMM, incorporates an Intel-based 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port and provides dual channel IDE, two channels SATA, four USB 2.0 ports, two serial ports, one parallel port shared with floppy, one PS/2 keyboard/mouse interface and HD audio. The module fully supports PCI and legacy ISA based on high-speed PCI/ ISA bridge and is equipped with an AMI Aptio BIOS supporting embedded features such as: Remote Console, CMOS backup for battery-less operation, CPU and System Monitoring and Watchdog Timer.

processors with powerful ATI HD 6320 and HD 4200 graphics engines. Depending upon the model, the low power consumption ranges from 12W to 25W. DDR3 SO-DIMM memory supports up to 8 Gbytes. Dual display is achieved through VGA/DVI/ HDMI/LVDS and dual LVDS is available on model AMDY-7002; the series supports PCIe x1, PCIe x16 or half-size mini-PCIe depending on the model; dual GbE is based on a PCIe x1 high bandwidth I/O interface; and ATI HD 6320 and HD 4200 provides powerful graphics performance. The AMDY-7000 Series Mini-ITX embedded system board is available now for applications such as point-of-sale (POS), lottery, medical, gaming, high-resolution digital signage and surveillance security monitoring, and it supports a low power, high performance x86 fanless DC option for information kiosks.

ADLINK San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. []. FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | September 2013

American Portwell Fremont, CA. (877) 278-8899. [].

Mini-ITX Motherboard Sports 4th Gen Intel Core Processor Kontron has announced its embedded Mini-ITX motherboard KTQ87/mITX based on 4th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and the Intel Embedded Q87 chipset. For application-specific extension cards it offers one PCI Express Gen 3.0 slot as well as one MiniPCIe. Further peripherals can be connected via four SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) and ten USB 2.0 ports as well as the Kontron- specific

embedded feature connector that executes up to 160 GPIO, analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and digital-to-analog converter (DAC) minimizing the BOM and design-in efforts for individual I/O functionality. The embedded motherboard supports up to three independent hi-res displays or a 4K display that are connected via DisplayPort++. This enables direct connection of DisplayPort 1.2 panels and HDMI/DVI monitors with adapter cables. Besides the hi-res support, it also features hardware acceleration to dynamically improve video quality and it further supports stereoscopic 3D. Two GbE LAN—one with Intel AMT 9.0—allow for extended networking options and out-of-band management, minimizing the need for on-site maintenance. A wide range of storage media can be connected via six SATA interfaces with 1.5/3/6 Gbit/s and RAID 0/1/5/10 functionality plus the mSATA (mini-SATA) socket for stateof-the-art, onboard SSD. HD audio, two COM ports and a Trusted Platform Module 1.2 for safety-related applications top off the feature set of the new motherboards.

Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].

EBX, ETX and ITX Boards Roundup

Sub 1-Watt Pico-ITX SBC Targets Handheld Applications

Mini-ITX Motherboard Carries Third Gen Core Processors

Micro/sys offers a 2.5-inch Pico-ITX ARM single board computer offering power-throughUSB and an impressive mix of video, audio, USB, memory and power features for today’s handheld applications. The SBC5651 features the cost-efficient, power-conscience Freescale Semiconductor i.MX515 ARM Cortex-A8

A Mini-ITX motherboard is optimized for the latest Intel technologies using the third generation Intel Core i7 Mobile ECC processor and Intel QM77 Express Chipset. The X9SPV-M series boards from Supermicro are vPro compliant with 25W CPU i7-3555LE for X9SPV-M4 and 17W i7-3517UE for X9SPV-M4-

processor. It is ideally suited for use in small, low-power handheld and portable devices. The SBC5651 is engineered to satisfy the power management, space conservation and multimedia I/O demands of handheld and portable applications. Consuming less than 1W with user-programmable speeds up to 800 MHz, the SBC5651 offers performance while respecting low power operation. Unimpeded by the extremely compact footprint, the Micro/sys SBC5651 onboard I/O feature set includes 24-bit LCD panel display (TFT or LVDS), TV OUT, audio, CAN, Ethernet, three serial ports, one USB mini-B OTG port, three additional USB 2.0 ports, one SD/MMC card slot, 23 GPIO, RTC, keypad interface and more. The onboard StackableUSB I/O expansion with USB, I2C and SPI provides access to an additional wealth of plug-and-play off-the-shelf I/O boards with A/D, D/A, Zigbee, GPS, mass storage, sensors and other embedded I/O for applications requiring this expandability. Since all components are validated for the extended temperature range from -40° to +85°C, the SBC5651 is industrial temperature capable by design. The SBC5651 starts at $395 in single quantity and mid $200s in 100-piece quantities.

3UE model. The X9SPV M series offer highspeed I/O via PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0, and digital output with Display Port, HDMI and DVI-I. The mini-PCIe with mSATA support can be used for an even smaller footprint with removal of the HDD cage and cabling and using mSATA SSD drives. Quad LAN support provides more networking bandwidth for applications that utilize digital output and embedded graphics as a control device or a video streaming appliance. The ECC SODIMM support differentiates the X9SPV M series from other motherboards emphasizing reliability even for client type applications. With vPro, applications can allocate hardware resources dynamically and ensure secure access via TPM and AMT 8.0. Intel HD Graphics 4000 provides applications three independent displays with great HD to HD transcode performance. Supermicro offers 7-year product life to protect X9SPV-M customer application development and investment. X9SPV M series delivers a robust, reliable platform to embedded application developers with the flexibility to customize functionality based on end device requirements.

Micro/sys Montrose, CA. (818) 244-4600. [].

Supermicro San Jose, CA. (408) 503-8000. [].

FIND the products featured in this section and more at


COTS Journal | September 2013

EBX SBC Gains Power Thanks to Third Generation Intel Core Processor Powered by a third generation Intel Core processor, a new EBX single-board computer boasts a performance level, combined with a high-speed PCIe expansion site that enables the integration of complex high-bandwidth functions, such as Digital Signal Processing

and video processing. The Copperhead from VersaLogic offers dual- or quad-core performance that allows high-end computebound and video-bound applications to now be tackled with just a single embedded computer board, not a set of boards in a rack. This opens new opportunities for automating high-end applications that need to be more portable, rugged, or lower cost than previous CPU architectures allowed. Based on the industry-standard EBX format of 5.75 x 8 inches, the Copperhead features onboard data acquisition via sixteen analog inputs, eight analog outputs and sixteen digital I/O lines, and up to 16 Gbytes of DDR3 RAM. System I/O includes dual Gigabit Ethernet with network boot capability, two USB 3.0 ports, ten USB 2.0 ports, four serial ports and HD audio. Dual SATA 3 and SATA 6 interfaces support Intel Rapid Storage Manager with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 capabilities (SATA 6 ports only). Flash storage is provided via an mSATA socket, eUSB interface and a Mini PCIe socket. The Mini PCIe socket also accommodates plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet channels and other plug-in mini cards. The Copperhead supports an optional TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip for applications that require enhanced hardwarelevel security functions.

VersaLogic Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. [].

EBX, ETX and ITX Boards Roundup

Dual-Core Mini-ITX Board Features Rich I/O Set

Intel Atom D2550/N2600 Small Form Factor PC Is Fanless

EBX Atom SBC Blends High Performance and Legacy Support

A dual-core Mini-ITX board features one of the richest I/O sets available for a wide range of embedded applications including ATM, kiosks, POS, digital signage, healthcare and digital media applications. The Via EPIA-M910 from Via Technologies is available in both active and passive cooling configurations with the choice

WIN Enterprises has announced the PL80510, a fanless, small form factor, industrial computer for the embedded industry. The unit offers the OEM a choice of Intel Atom D2550 or N2600 processors. Both processors are high-performance but low-power consuming

WinSystems announced their EBC-C384, an EBX-compatible, Intel Atom-based single board computer (SBC). The EBC-C384 comes with either the Intel Atom single-core 1.66 GHz N455 or dual-core 1.80 GHz D525 processor combined with the ICH8M I/O hub controller

of either a performance-oriented 1.6 GHz Via Nano X2 dual-core processor or a fanless 1.0 GHz Via Eden X2 dual-core processor, and is paired with the Via VX900 media system processor, which provides the ideal platform for today’s HD-intensive applications. The rich I/O set features HDMI and VGA display connectivity ports with pin headers for two 24-bit LVDS (one single channel and one dual channel), eight USB 2.0 ports, dual Gigabit LAN networking, eight COM ports (which can be expanded to twelve with the VIA LPC-01/02 add-on card) and is available in SKUs with either DC-in or ATX power supply support, providing the utmost flexibility to match a wide range of embedded computing needs. The VIA EPIA-M910 is available with the choice of a 1.6 GHz VIA Nano X2 dual-core processor or a fanless 1.0 GHz VIA Eden X2 dual-core processor. Supporting up to 8 Gbyte of DDR3 system memory, it is paired with the VIA VX900 media system processor, featuring the latest ChromotionHD 2.0 video engine.

at 10W and 3.5W, respectively. The D2550 is a 1.86 GHz, dual-core design; the N2600 delivers 1.6 GHz and is available in dual- and quad-core packages. PL-80510 provides a small footprint system in a rugged aluminum chassis with integrated heat-sink design. Rich I/O supports a number of application areas, including digital signage, building automation, Security/Network Video Recorders, point-of-sale, kiosk, industrial control, cart-based medical and others. System I/O includes 2 GbE LAN ports, 4x COM, HDMI and VGA dual-display capabilities, 1x RS-232/422/485, 3x RS-232, 4x USB 2.0, Audio (Line-Out, Mic-In). Expansion is enabled through 2x Mini-PCIe sockets, 1x Mini-PCIe with USB and 1x Half-size Mini-PCIe with USB. The unit provides up to 4 Gbyte DDR3 SDRAM and supports 1x 2.5” HDD and 1x half-size SATA.

and a variety of onboard serial and parallel I/O interfaces. This SBC’s I/O includes two SATA channels, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM channels that support RS-232/422/485, 48 digital I/O lines and HD audio. Legacy I/O includes a PS/2 keyboard and mouse controller, LPT port and PATA interface. Also PC/104, PC/104-Plus and MiniPCI connectors provide additional expansion options with industry standard off-the-shelf or user-designed specialty I/O modules. Up to 4 Gbytes of DDR3 MHz SODIMM system memory can be supported on the dualcore D525 and 2 Gbytes on the single-core N455 version of the EBC-C384. There is also a socket for a CompactFlash (CF) device as well. The fanless, single-core N455, 1.66 GHz board is priced at $529. The dual-core D525, 1.80 GHz board is priced at $595.

WIN Enterprises North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].

WinSystems Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [].

VIA Technologies Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300. [].

September 2013 | COTS Journal


COTS FIND the products featured in this section and more at

PRODUCTS Core i7 Haswell-Based 3U VPX SBC Has Enhanced Graphics

Aitech Defense Systems now offers the C873, a rugged SBC based on Intel’s 4th generation, quad-core Core i7 Haswell processor operating at 2.4 GHz. The single-slot SBC is one of the first boards to integrate this exceptional computing performance into a rugged, 3U OpenVPX platform, offering up to 20 percent more processing over previous generations of SBCs. The Core i7 processor includes Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 that enables temporary operation at higher frequencies for enhanced performance. It also features an integrated HD Graphics 4600 core for 2D/3D graphics and video processing, and provides RGBHV and HDMI/DVI outputs. The C873 is coupled with a Lynx Point QM87 I/O Platform Controller Hub (PCH) that supports legacy and high-speed interfaces enabling system design flexibility. Standard I/O includes four GigE ports as well as five USB ports, two SATA ports and two serial I/O interfaces as well as eight general purpose discrete I/O lines. An industry-standard PMC/XMC expansion slot enables the integration of additional resources, including memory, I/O or multiple-monarch processor PMCs. Memory includes up to 16 Gbytes of fast DDRL3 SDRAM with ECC protection as well as 64 Gbyte of SATA Flash. Two 16 Mbyte Flash BIOS ensure reliable system boot, even if the primary device fails. The board can be either air-cooled or conduction-cooled, which can also be provided as a VPX REDI-compliant SBC, depending on user requirements. Supporting seven OpenVPX slot profiles (defined by VITA 65), the new C873 can be incorporated in a variety of applications and environments. An IPMI controller offers system-level monitoring of the C873’s health and status. Three onboard temperature sensors and an elapsed time recorder (ETR) further assist in monitoring board health. Both standard and avionics (windowed) watchdog timers as well as a real-time clock are available on the SBC.

Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. [].

Series of AC-DC Linear Power Supplies Offers New Options

Embedded Computer Marries Kintex-7 FPGA and FMC I/O

Acopian has expanded the array of options on their “Infinity” Series of AC-DC linear regulated (to 150 watts) power supplies. Offered in single output or wide-adjust output versions, the newly available options include front or rear panel touch safe, IEC inlets, an on/off rocker switch, AC “on” indicator and a 115/230V selectable switch enabling products to be used worldwide. Programmable models are available with a choice of 0V-5V or 0V-10V analog programming and monitors. The Series also now offers units with AC inrush limiting, transient protection, thermostatically controlled fan and temperature monitor. Single output module pricing starts at $280.00 each, and wide-adjust unit pricing starts at $365.00 each.

Innovative Integration has announced the ePC-K7, a usercustomizable, turnkey embedded instrument that includes a full Windows/Linux PC and supports a wide assortment of ultimate-performance FMC modules. With its modular I/O, scalable performance and easy-touse PC architecture, the ePC-K7 reduces time-to-market while providing real-time performance. Applications include embedded instrumentation, remote sensing, autonomous I/O, mobile instrumentation and distributed data acquisition. The system combines an industry-standard COM Express CPU Type 6 module with dual FMC I/O modules in a compact, standalone design. Included are a programmable Kintex-7 325T/410T FPGA and Spartan 6 FPGAs. This small form factor, 5 x 8 x 11-inch system features a conduction-cooled design using fins or cold-plate.

Acopian, Easton, PA. (610) 258-5441. [].

Innovative Integration, Simi Valley, CA. (805) 578-4260. [].

Rugged 3U cPCI DC/DC Power Converter Delivers 300 Watts North Atlantic Industries has announced the availability of its latest 3U, rugged cPCI power product. The 55RQ2 is suited for harsh land, air and sea applications. The 55RQ2 provides up to 300 watts of power with four outputs and is compliant with MIL-STD-704F. Other features include reverse polarity protection, current share, advanced programmability with BIT features, as well as a built-in EMI Filter compatible with MIL-STD-461-compliant systems. The 55RQ2 is PICMG 2.11 compliant and fits in a 3U cPCI, 0.8” pitch slot and is IPMB compatible. In addition the 55RQ2 is user configurable for power sequencing and ramp rates. The 55RQ2 gives system developers the capability of meeting stringent power, reporting and BIT requirements in a compact, rugged COTS package. Many of today’s military systems rely heavily on power supplies that can withstand rugged, conduction-cooled environments and MIL-STD-704F low/high voltage transients. The 55RQ2 is the latest in a complete line of cPCI power converters that support some of today’s most demanding system power requirements. Basic pricing configuration starts at $2,771 each for a quantity of 100.

North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-1100. []. 44

COTS Journal | September 2013

rugged & ready when you are [

Open VPX [ configured a nd ready to ship

enclosures backplanes system integration & custom solutions VME VPX CompactPCI Open VPX...


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COTS PRODUCTS FIND the products featured in this section and more at

Intel Atom-Based Rugged SBC Supports LCD TFT Panels

Rugged Tablet Offers Full Windows 7 PC Functionality

MEN Micro now offers a low-power, rugged SBC that incorporates flexible I/O for demanding graphics environments. Using an Intel Atom processor running at 1.6 GHz, the new SC27 is compact, powerful and able to withstand harsh environments. Ideal for LCD TFT displays with screens from 7 to 15 inches and a maximum resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, the new SBC reliably operates in compact spaces where conditions are rugged. Up to 2 Gbytes of DDR2 SDRAM memory, with an 800 MHz bus frequency, as well as 16 Mbits of boot flash come standard on the SC27. The board also includes an mSATA slot with transfer rates of up to 3 Gbit/s as well as a microSD slot via USB. Standard I/O includes a Fast Ethernet port via an M12 connector, two USB ports and a GPS interface as well as an RS-232 or RS-422/485 interface. Pricing for the SC27 is $1,042.

Tulip Development Laboratory (TDL), part of the Orbit Electronics Group, has announced that it has added full-function, handheld field computers to its line. XHAND Triumph 7 is the next generation in mobile PC performance. This rugged tablet PC is small, lightweight and fast. It provides a myriad of connectivity options and a wide range of functionality. Its 5.56� display, sharp images and impressive color make it a smart choice for working with detailed maps and other complex visuals. Its full Windows 7 Professional PC capability provides desktoplike functionality. It has also been designed, built and tested to be the toughest of the tough, and can survive in even the most challenging environments, where weather extremes and rough handling are unavoidable. XHAND Triumph 7 features an impressive Intel Atom 1.6 GHz processor, with a massive 64 Gbyte SSD and 2 Gbyte of DDR2 RAM.

MEN Micro, Abler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [].

Untitled-3 1 COTS Journal | September 2013 46

Tulip Development Laboratory, Quakertown, PA. (215) 538-8820. [].

8/23/13 2:31 PM

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Mercury Systems, COTS Journal (ISSN#1526-4653) is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodicals Class postage paid at San Clemente and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to COTS Journal, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.

Coming Next Month Special Feature: MILCOM ISSUE: Embedded Computing Building Blocks for Comms and Networking A major portion of today’s U.S. military platforms is either directly or indirectly involved in communications or networking critical information between warfighters. The trend is toward every vehicle, every aircraft, every ship, every UAV and every soldier on the ground to be able to quickly share data, voice and even video with almost any level of the DoD’s operation. This section explores the display, computing and networking technologies that are all a part of a Net-Centric military. Tech Recon: Open Architecture in Navy Modernization Programs Military shipboard computing systems have quite different requirements than their air- and land-based counterparts. In today’s modernization programs space is usually less of an issue, but the goals of highly automated systems and advanced ISR gear keep the demand for compute density high. When the goal is packing as much compute density into a system as possible, it’s hard to beat a rackmount blade computer architecture. Rackmount systems, ATCA and other bladed solutions are attractive. This section looks at the technology trends of some of the key Navy modernization programs. Part II: COTS Journal Exclusive: Designing at the System-to-System Level: The Industry’s New Challenge Budget shifts and an increasing focus on platform electronics in deliverable systems demand the use of the latest and most cost-effective electronics technology. These program-level issues span a host of areas including choice of backplane-based solutions vs. single packaged systems, open architecture vs. proprietary, program-level thermal and power management, EMI, Multiple Independent Layers of Security and so on. Part II of this special series of articles focuses on those program-level technology trends that are tightly linked to technology decision making. These articles look through a lens of examining program requirements and matching particular program needs to technology solutions. Tech Focus: Rugged Stand-Alone Box Products Traditional embedded board vendors have added stand-alone rugged box-level systems to their military market offerings. These complete system boxes often support standard form factor boards inside them. The result is a complete, tested and enclosed computing solution that eliminates complex integration chores for customers. This section looks at this emerging product class and outlines the problems they solve. A product album rounds up the latest representative products in this area. 48

COTS Journal | September 2013

CompactPCI & Graphics/Video Boards Gallery Featuring the latest in CompactPCI & Graphics/Video Boards Product technologies Velox - SMT Integrated Controller Module

VDK – The development kit for time critical designs

When time to market is an issue 156-pad LGA footprint, 1.8 mm pitch Network ready, TCP/IP stack incl. Program in C, Java and Assembler Dual Ethernet MAC, 3 serial ports Failsafe RTOS and flash file system Up to 53 GPIO, A/D and D/A Saves development time Customized versions on request

Imsys AB Phone: +468-59411070 Fax: +468-59411089

Develop your product in weeks Complete IDE for Windows Enclosure with DIN rail clip From prototype to production RS-232/422/485, Micro SD card Dual Ethernet, SPI and I2C Expansion connector Open design

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75PPC1 – 3U CPCI P2041SBC

Onyx Model 74760, cPCI Board with Eight 200 MHz, 16bit A/Ds and Virtex-7 FPGA

Freescale QorIQ P2041 Quad-Core e500mc Processor < 25 W power dissipation User can specify two I/O or Communications functions Up to 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM Up to 32 GB SATA II NAND Flash Dual 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet ports VGA, HDMI, or DVI Video Interface Wind River VxWorks or Linux OS Support

North Atlantic Industries, Inc. Phone: (631) 567-1100 Fax: (631) 567-1823

E-mail: Web:

Pentek, Inc. Phone: (201) 818-5900 Fax: (201) 818-5904

Precision Timing Board

Phone: (585) 321-5800 Fax: (585) 321-5219

E-mail: Web:

Kibra 480 protocol analyzer - test and debug DDR3/DDR4 Easy setup - no calibration needed Analyzes and triggers on JEDEC timing violations Supports DDR3 ECC SODIMM as well as U-DIMM / R-DIMM Allows faster DDR test and integration for real-time and embedded applications

Teledyne LeCroy E-mail: Web:

Phone: (408) 653-1262 Fax: (408) 727-6622

3U CompactPCI Family


E-mail: Web:

TranzPak 2: Rugged Storage for the Toughest Deployed Environments

VadaTech offers specialized CompactPCI boards for unique, high-performance requirements. This includes 10/100/1000 Ethernet Layer 2 managed switches in up to 12 ports for 3U size, and multichannel graphics boards with DVI/VGA with HDMI. 6U cPCI versions are also available.

Phone: (702) 896-3337 Fax: (702) 896-0332

Eight 200 MHz 16-bit A/Ds 8 GB DDR3 SDRAM Xilinx Virtex-7 VX330T-2 FPGA standard GateXpress supports dynamic FPGA reconfiguration across the PCI/PCI-X bus Clock/sync bus for multiboard synchronization Optional LVDS connections to the Virtex-7 FPGA for custom I/O Also available in AMC, 3U cPCI, 3U OpenVPX, PCIe, and XMC formats

DDR3 / DDR4 Protocol Analyzer Supports ECC SODIMM

cPCI precision timing board Field-proven internal TCXO clock High performance under shock, vibration and temperature External references: 1PPS, 10 MHz, and IRIG timecode GPS synchronization options Conduction cooled with optional thermal frame Customization available


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Latest 2.5” high performance SSDs Up to 800GB SSD, 1TB HDD SATA 3, 6.0Gbps speeds Ultra-compact, lightweight design Hot-swappable & interchangeable Protect data from moisture, debris & EMI

Z Microsystems, Inc. E-mail: Web:

Phone: (858) 831-7000

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EDITORIAL Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Open Architecture’s Day in the Sun


hile you readers are involved in a variety of military applications—unmanned systems being only one of them—there are few segments more hungry for embedded computing. Unmanned systems are also an area probably less likely to be cut when military budget choices are made. In a reduced-sized military, any platform or technology that substitutes or extends manpower is attractive. And in the same such reducedsized military, capabilities like reconnaissance and data collection are critical—and that’s where unmanned systems like UAVs shine. Those may be some of the factors that enabled the AUVSI’s Unmanned Systems 2013 to do very well in Washington, D.C. last month. In a period where military travel budgets are very tight, the show had more than 8,100 attendees and nearly 600 exhibitors. The show being in D.C. where a lot of primes and DoD offices are local was probably a plus. And while certainly AUVSI is attractive to more than just people in the military design segment, defense is a dominant component there. For me personally the show was very productive. Being able to engage with both technology suppliers from our embedded computing industry and prime contractor companies all at the same show is a rare opportunity. Other than shows like MILCOM and AUSA, there are few major marketing shows that have that sort of mix. And AUSVI seems to have now surpassed those others in that respect. At the other end of the spectrum are modest-sized table-top technology shows that are regional and suited for attendees to drop in and touch and feel products. Our company’s RTECC shows are the premier example along those lines, and they are the only show series of its type in our industry space with a long-term record of success. These venues are important for a lot of reasons, but one major one is this: today’s technology decision makers at the primes are not as aware of our industry’s technology and product offerings as they should be. Other than shows like these and the occasional Industry Days events that primes put on, the upper tier defense prime contractors have few forums in which to interact and share information. That’s perhaps one reason why open systems computing architectures have taken a long time to make true inroads into many areas of military design. A recent GAO report addressed this issue in the context of UAVs—or unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) as the DoD prefers to call them these days. The report found that the military branches vary in their use of open systems on the DoD’s ten largest unmanned aircraft systems. The Navy used an open systems approach at the start of development for the air vehicle, ground 50

COTS Journal | September 2013

control station and payloads—cameras and radar sensors—for three of its four current and planned UAS and anticipates significant efficiencies. Navy and contractor officials for their part expect the Small Tactical UAS to be able to integrate at least 32 payloads developed by 24 manufacturers, some in a matter of days or months rather than years as previous programs experienced. Meanwhile, according to the report, none of the Army or Air Force UAS programs initially implemented an open systems approach, relying instead on prime contractors to upgrade and modernize the UAS. The Army is now developing an open ground control station for each of its three legacy UAS programs. And only one of the Air Force’s three UAS programs plans to implement an open systems approach on fielded aircraft. While there are DoD policies that direct programs to use an open systems approach, the Navy is the only service that largely followed the policy when developing its UASs. And while new open systems guidance, tools and training are being developed, the DoD is not tracking the extent to which programs are implementing this approach, or if programs have the requisite expertise to implement the approach. Navy UAS program officials told the GAO that they relied on technical experts within Naval Air Systems Command to help develop an open systems approach for their programs. Until the DoD ensures that the services are incorporating an open systems approach from the start of development and programs have the necessary open systems expertise, it will continue to miss opportunities to increase the affordability of its acquisition programs. Here again, exposure to our companies in our industry—who are the leading experts in open standardsbased computing approaches—is key to making this a reality. There’s evidence that not following an open systems approach has lead to costly upgrades. An example is the B-2 Bomber. The Air Force is spending over $2 billion to upgrade that aircraft’s communications, networking and defensive management capabilities. The B-2 program’s prime contractor is the sole system integrator in possession of proprietary technical data and software, and that means there’s no opportunity for competition and therefore little leverage to get the best return on investment and drive down costs. Particularly in this era where cost issues have moved front and center in the defense industry, the need for embracing standards-based open systems is more crucial than ever. Whether at the board, box or software architecture level, products that can be swapped out, replaced and upgraded easily will play a central role in the DoD’s technology future.

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Pentek, Inc., One Park Way, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 • Phone: 201.818.5900 • Fax: 201.818.5904 • • Worldwide Distribution & Support, Copyright © 2013 Pentek, Inc. Pentek, Talon and SystemFlow are trademarks of Pentek, Inc. Other trademarks are properties of their respective owners.

COTS Journal  

September 2013

COTS Journal  

September 2013