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Linux-friendly MicroTCA and ATCA systems to demo

May 22, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

At the MicroTCA Summit next week in Chantilly, Virginia, Emerson Network Power (ENP) is announcing a compact AdvancedTCA (ATCA) system called the Centellis 2000. ENP is also demonstrating its soon-to-ship Centellis 500, a low-cost MicroTCA system that uses plastic packaging.

(Click for larger view of the Centellis 2000 ATCA chassis)

The small form factor, two-slot Centellis 2000 appears to be aimed at those looking for a compact, MicroTCA-like solution, but who are not quite ready to leave the fold of the larger format ATCA blades. The 3U, 19-inch chassis is aimed at central office and data center environments that need a low-profile system that can reuse existing ATCA cards, says ENP. When equipped with an ATCA blade that features Advanced Mezzanine Card (AdvancedMC or AMC) sites or a dedicated AMC carrier blade, says the company, the Centellis 2000 can support two to eight slots of user-specified AMCs.

Centellis 2000 network diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Equipped with gigabit Ethernet switches for non-blocking base channel switching, the system offers a 10Gbps data path between blades and to user slots, thereby enabling the creation of a “full 10-gigabit Ethernet deep packet inspection appliance,” says ENP. Other touted features include front-to-rear cooling, a fault-resilient design, integrated shelf management, and a choice of AC and DC power supplies. The system is also said to support 5NINES availability, or 99.999 percent availability, implying five minutes or less down time per year.

Centellis 500
(Click to enlarge)

The St. Louis-based ENP, a business of Emerson, announced the Centellis 500 in February, but appears to be demonstrating the system for the first time. Due to ship later this quarter for under $5,000, the system runs Wind River Linux, and is described as a deployable, validated system for cost-constrained enterprise, medical, and industrial automation markets.

ENP was able to reduce the cost of the Centellis 500 by using an injection molded plastic enclosure. The case houses ENP's MCH-1010 MicroTCA Carrier Hub, as well as an PrAMC 7211 AMC card equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of DRAM, 1GB of flash, and a front-panel USB 2.0 connector. There's also a 3.125 Gbaud/s MicroTCA backplane, and three open AMC payload slots. It ships with ENP's SpiderWareM3 Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based platform management, monitoring, and maintenance software.

At the MicroTCA Summit, ENP also plans a variety of demonstrations, including a multi-vendor interoperability demo, and a co-demonstration with Tail-f Systems (at the latter's booth) showing Tail-f's ConfD XML-based network management software working with an ENP system. ENP will also show a live video demonstration of an Intel-based MicroTCA system operating under extreme shock and vibration encountered while traveling over uneven terrain. In addition, ENP representatives will be giving nine presentations and tutorials at the MicroTCA Summit, on topics including OpenSAF, ruggedization, enterprise applications, and the future of MicroTCA.


The Centellis 500 will be available later this quarter for under $5,000. No information was available on the pricing or availability of the Centellis 2000, but more information should be available here. More on the Centellis 500 may be found here. Both system are compatible with Linux.

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