Next week at Embedded World, ECRIN Systems will launch its new Remote Embedded Modular Computer myOPALE(tm)
A little revolution in fact, when we remember that for three decades, Industrial PC’s use always the two same types of architecture from the eighties : ATX/miniITX motherboard or PICMG® passive backplane.
In both cases, the CPU board and its I/O cards staid physically and mechanically linked through Peripheral Component Interconnect PCB - PCI Express® nowadays. myOPALE Concept was born from four simple ideas:
- Breaking mechanical link between CPU and I/O cards thanks to PCI Express Over Cable interconnection;
- Building blocks in a standard 5.25’’ form factor; - Re-Use of widely deployed interconnect standards from SNIA/SFF Technology Affiliate that
encompass cables, connectors, form factor sizes and housing dimensions; - Integrated thermal solution at building blocks level.
Today, PCIe is very popular as backplane, but it is less known as a high speed cabling interface. The serial technology and embedded clocking within each differential signal pair allow PCIe protocol to be used at full speed across a motherboard, backplane or over a cable with the benefits of high performance, low power and reduced costs. The cabled version of PCIe contains same high-speed differential pairs that transfer data on PCB, as well as a number of additional signals – known as Sideband Signals.
One PCIe lane consists of two pairs individually shielded for EMI protection– one transmit pair and one receive pair. Sideband signals provide additional functionalities, but are not directly involved in the PCIe data transfers. myOPALE integrates most advantages of PCIe over cable inside the rack. In myOPALE, PCIe backplane bus is conceptually stretched to operate over a cable from CPU’s to secondary I/O backplanes, physically located anywhere in the chassis. In that way, myOPALE offers to its user many advantages in small foot print 1U 19’’ rackmount, but also very interesting capabilities for other integration format beyond the limits of legacy IPC.
The choice of Mini-SAS HD (SFF-8643) connectors and associated cable authorize high bandwidth 12Gbps for PCIe Gen3 protocol with 8 differential pairs for x4 PCIe lanes between myOPALE-CPU, myOPALE-IO building block and the new NVMe storage media that offers up to 7x SATA throughput, thanks native PCIe x4 Gen3 lanes. The choice of standard 5.25’’ drive bay form factor is well adapted for 1U/2U/4U 19’’ rackmount integrations. myOPALE-CPU integrates a complete Autonomous Embedded Computer (146 x 42 x 200mm for 1.45kg only) based on INTEL® Core™ or Xeon® E3 with 32Go DDR4 ECC, 2 DP, GigE, 4 USB 3.0, 3 USB 2.0, 2 SATA3, internal 2.5’’ SATA SSD, I2C, ext. RTC Batt and 24x PCIe Gen3 lanes to connect up to 5 expansions (PCIe x4 / x8 cards or NVMe) via its 6 Mini-SAS HD connectors.
myOPALE-IO building blocks allows 2 PCIe x4 or 1 PCIe x8 to be integrated independently up to 50cm from the CPU box into chassis. With myOPALE cubes, you can imagine 5 full height I/O cards in a 1U/19’’ when legacy IPC authorized only two; you can imagine full-redondant 1+1 system in a 1U/19’’ impossible with legacy IPC; you can imagine 6 Industrial PC’s with 2 I/O slots extansion each, in a 4U/19’’ rack, and many others cases which you never dared to dream with legacy IPC before. All these Use Cases will be demonstrated on ECRIN booth 2-449 and on PICMG® booth 3A-624
Source: Ecrin Systems