of an innovative software capability that addresses a problem faced by military and aerospace customers who want to implement PCI Express™ peer-to-peer connectivity using the VPX architecture. Previously, customers were required to “hand-craft” a solution, with consequent impact on program cost and time to market. This capability will accelerate the adoption of VPX and enable existing platforms to migrate to it with greater ease.
The VPX architecture makes extensive use of high speed switched serial fabrics such as Gigabit Ethernet, Serial RapidIO™ and PCI Express to create high speed interconnects between the various hardware elements of a system. While peer-to-peer connectivity is possible with Gigabit Ethernet through the use of a network stack (TCP/IP), the problem with achieving similar connectivity with PCI Express has been significantly more challenging. GE’s software solution requires minimal system resources, imposing neither the CPU overhead nor performance limitations of a network stack such as TCP/IP; performance matches the raw DMA capability of the supported hardware.
For many system integrators – notably those implementing multiple serial switched fabrics in their system, or those using 3U VPX where PCI Express may be the only fabric option for data plane communication – this new GE software capability will prove invaluable. Until now, customers wanting to take advantage of the inherent performance, scalability, flexibility and functionality of VPX and requiring PCI Express peer-to-peer connectivity as part of their solution, had little alternative but to create a custom solution, with a consequent reduction in productivity and with long term support implications as technology evolves.
“Time to market and managing costs are key concerns for the large majority of our customers, and this new software capability responds to those concerns,” said Peter Cavill, General Manager, Military & Aerospace Products at GE Intelligent Platforms. “It provides a highly flexible connectivity solution and eases system integration while minimizing development time and cost. Moreover, it has an extended roadmap that will see it embracing a range of current and future hardware and software technologies, enabling our customers to secure a long term sustainable competitive advantage.”
Peer-to-peer operation allows existing operational modes on, for example, VME or CompactPCI backplanes, to be transplanted to PCI Express-connected VPX implementations, making system migration more straightforward. PCI Express was designed primarily for architectures in which a single root node controls a number of peripheral end-points in a master/slave relationship: delivering peer-to-peer connectivity for PCI Express allows all cards in a system to participate equally in shared data activities, providing increased system flexibility and performance.
Initial solutions are available immediately on several GE VPX single board computers using VxWorks®; the roadmap encompasses Linux® support and a wider range of topologies and supported hardware.
About GE Intelligent Platforms
GE Intelligent Platforms (ge-ip.com) is an experienced high-performance technology company and a global provider of software, hardware, services, and expertise in automation and embedded computing. We offer a unique foundation of agile and reliable technology providing customers a sustainable competitive advantage in the industries they serve, including energy, water, consumer packaged goods, government & defense, and telecommunications. GE Intelligent Platforms is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA.
PCI Express is a trademark of PCI-SIG. RapidIO is a registered trademark of the RapidIO Trade Association. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. VxWorks is a registered trademark of Wind River Systems. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.