News Archive (1999-2012) | 2013-current at LinuxGizmos | Current Tech News Portal |    About   

Linux-based ATCA and AMC boards adopt Octeons

Aug 6, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 11 views

Emerson Network Power (ENP) announced an ATCA (advanced telecommunications computing architecture) blade and AMC (advanced mezzanine card) module based on Cavium Octeon network processors and carrier-grade Linux. The ATCA-9305 blade uses dual 16-core Octeon CN5860s, while the AMC-9210 module sports a Octeon Plus CN5840 or CN5850.

(Click for larger view of the ATCA-9305 )

The ATCA-9305 is aimed at security and packet-processing applications for the wireless and transport markets. It can support data plane packet processor, security coprocessing, video compression, and pattern matching technology, says ENP. The hot-swappable device is said to comply with the SCOPE profile for central office ATCA systems, PICMG 3.0 ATCA mechanical specifications, and E-keying. The blade also offers an IPMI-based system management interface, intended to let operators identify and repair problems at the blade level.

The two 800MHz CN5860 Octeons on the ATCA-9305 provide a total of 32 cores, as well as hardware acceleration with thread pinning, security, de-compression, regexp, packet queuing, and scheduling functions. The blade also includes a Freescale PowerQuicc III management and communications processor clocked at 1GHz and a Broadcom BCM56802 10GbE multilayer switch. The device's 8U form-factor, single-slot design is touted as offering easy front-panel access to Ethernet and serial management ports, and enabling the addition of a custom rear transition module with storage.

ENP ATCA-9305 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Specs for the ATCA-9305 include:

  • Processors — 2 x 16-core Cavium Octeon CN5860 clocked at 800MHz; 1 x Freescale MPC8548 PowerQuicc III management/communications processor clocked at 1GHz; 32KB instruction and data L1 caches
  • Interconnects — 2 x Altera Stratix II GX bridges per processor for SPI-4.2 high-speed interconnect and XAUI
  • Octeon memory — up to 8GB DDR2 SDRAM per processor; up to 256MB RLDRAM per processor
  • PowerQuicc memory — 2GB DDR2 SDRAM SO-CDIMM with ECC; 2 x 4MB soldered NOR flash; 1GB soldered NAND flash; 2 x I2C EEPROMs for user NVRAM and initialization
  • Bus — PCI at 66MHz in 64-bit PCI-X mode; PCI Express x4 port lane
  • Networking — 10 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Broadcom BCM56802 multilayer switch; redundant GbE links to backplane base channel, front panel GbE port, and backplane fabric interface
  • External networking — 2 x 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet ports
  • Network support — PICMG 3.0, PICMG 3.1, PICMG 3.1
  • Serial — 1 x serial console port
  • Power — 39.5 – 72 VDC; max. 200W
  • Operating temperature — 23 to 131 degrees F (-5 to 55 degrees C)
  • Operating system — CGL Linux (see below)

The ATCA-9305 is provided with a Linux Support Package (LSP) for MontaVista Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) 5.0. Other software includes a monitor based on the Embedded PowerPC Linux Universal Boot (U-Boot).

The ATCA-9305 also offers an optional Centellis 2000 software platform that includes and is verified with Wind River PNE, says ENP. Available Linux Support Packages (LSPs) are said to support both Emerson ATCA blades and user applications. Finally, both the MontaVista and Wind River distros are compatible with CGL 4.0.

(Click to enlarge)


The AMC-9210 packet processor card is designed to plug into ATCA platforms such as the ATCA-9305, offering wire-speed packet processing for broadband services incorporating 3G wireless, VoIP, and IMS network infrastructure. Specific applications include media servers, deep packet content inspection, Node-B/RNCs, line rate crypto and security functions, stateful protocol identification, edge/access routers, and policy enforcement, says ENP.

The AMC-9210 is based on the Cavium Octeon Plus CN58xx processor family, and is available with either the eight-core CN5840 clocked to 500MHz, or the twelve-core CN5850 clocked to 600MHz. The Octeon offers hardware acceleration for packet processing and security, says ENP, including addition of support for Kasumi for wireless security. It is also said to provide integrated coprocessors for packet I/O, compression/decompression, IDS, and anti-virus.

AMC-9210 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The hot-swappable AMC-9210 is equipped with four gigabit Ethernetv(AMC.2) ports plus four PCI Express (AMC.1) connections to the carrier. It also offers four interchangeable SFP modules, and two 1000BASE-BX interfaces to the carrier. The module is said to provide integrated IPMI, and is designed for NEBS/ETSI. Software support for the module includes Wind River PNE Linux or MontaVista CGE Linux, both with Cavium Octeon extensions.


ENP did not offer information on the pricing or availability for either the ATCA-9305 or the AMC-9210, but more information can be found here and here respectively.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Comments are closed.