Fabric technologies reach the mezzanine level

Webb, Warren
June 2005
EDN;6/9/2005, Vol. 50 Issue 12, p45
Trade Publication
This article focuses on the Advanced Mezzanine Card (AdvancedMC) standard that offers designers standard plug-in modules with high availability, hot-swap functions and multiple switched-fabric options. Designers use mezzanine modules to increase the flexibility and scalability of a board design. AdvancedMC employs a subset of the same Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) that AdvancedTCA carrier cards require. IPMI interacts with a shelf-management controller that works in its own in case the host processor is defective. Management enables the hotswap AdvancedMC modules to reduce the cost of spare-part inventories and also lower the system mean time to repair (MTTR). A switch on the module's front panel activates a hot-swap sequence to suspend operation, remove power, specify operator action, and reactivate the replacement module. On the interconnect side, AdvancedMC supports high-speed serial interconnects that will eventually include all of the switched fabrics Advanced TCA allows. AdvancedMC can handle multiple lanes of the modern protocols, such as Ethernet, PCI Express, RapidIO and InfiniBand. With all the high-power, hot-swap, switched-fabric, and management features of AdvancedMC, it is understandable that designers considered using the modules to plug directly into a backplane for small, stand-alone systems. INSET: AT A GLANCE.


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