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Linux-based MicroTCA server boasts six AMC slots

Apr 11, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 21 views

Network equipment provider (NEP) Performance Technologies (PT) announced the first of a line of Linux-based MicroTCA-based network appliances. The 1U MTC5070's chassis integrates commodity PC power supplies and shelf management functions, leaving six AMC slots free for user configuration.

(Click for larger view of the PT MTC5070)

The MTC5070's push/pull fan system
(Click to enlarge)

Selling for under $2,000 for volume purchases, the MTC5070 reduces MicroTCA development costs by integrating multiple telecom functions such as switches, instead of incorporating them as AMC modules, says PT. The chassis's six configurable AMC payload slots provide a high payload slot count per 1U rack height, says the company, which also claims that its front-to-back, push/pull cooling system (pictured at right) is an industry first for a 1U MicroTCA platform. Combined with AMC modules also available from PT, the system is aimed at applications including WiMAX gateways, security gateways, wireless infrastructure equipment, media gateways, and military communications systems.

Detail views of the MTC5070

The system provides a MicroTCA platform management subsystem that combines carrier and shelf management duties (see diagram below). The carrier manager is said to monitor and control the AMC boards, as well as Ethernet, PCI-Express, telco clock, and power and cooling subsystems. The shelf manager interfaces to external management systems using the Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP) via an out-of-band 10/100 Ethernet port located on the rear of the chassis. In addition, a Command Line Interface (CLI) is accessible from a serial console port for local servicing.

Carrier- and shelf-management architecture

The MTC5070 is said to provide the following key features:

  • Six configurable AMC payload slots (6 x mid-sized single; or 1 x full-size, double and 2 x mid-sized singles)
  • PCI-Express switch
  • gigabit Ethernet switch with dual 1GbE uplinks
  • 10/100 Ethernet out-of-band shelf manager port
  • 40W per slot front-to-back cooling with push and pull fans
  • Removable 300 Watt power supply with AC or DC
  • Power inputs — AC 100 to 240 V AC, 50 to 60 Hz, 4 to 2 A; DC -40.5 to -60 V DC, 10 to 5 A
  • Built-in MCH (memory controller hub) and power functions
  • SATA and SAS storage interconnect between AMC modules
  • MicroTCA-compliant carrier and shelf management
  • Other — serial console port; reset switch; 3 x LEDs; Telco clock support
  • 1U steel enclosure compliant with Network Equipment Building System (NEBS)
  • Dimensions - 1.75 x 17.2 x 18 inches (44 x 436 x 457 mm)
  • Operating temperature — 41 to 104 degrees F (5 to 40 degrees C), plus up to 131 degrees F (55 degrees C) for 96-hour period
  • Operating system - embedded Linux (NexusWare)

PT is a NEP (network equipment provider) that sells blades, AdvancedMC (AMC) modules, chassis management systems, and other networking equipment. The company is unique among NEPs in that it maintains its own Carrier Grade Linux distribution, called NexusWare, which is provided on the MTC5070.

Like competitors such as Kontron and Emerson Network Power, PT is now investing in the MicroTCA format, a smaller, lower-cost version of AdvancedTCA. Both TCA specs are maintained by PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer's Group), and aim to help NEPs leverage off-the-shelf hardware and create interoperable systems.


The MTC5070 is available now for under $2,000 for volume purchases, says Performance Technologies. The company will demonstrate the product at the Embedded Systems Conference Silicon Valley next week at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose (booth 1510).

More information on the product may be found here.

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