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Linux wins big in ATCA “Best of Show” honors

Oct 24, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 21 views

Linux-friendly products took all four “Best of Show” awards at the AdvancedTCA Summit. Top awards went to Nortel for its Linux-based Versatile Service Engine (VSE) platform and VSE-based MSC Server; to RadiSys for its Linux-based ATCA-9100 blade; and to VirtualLogix for its HA virtualization software.

(Click for larger view of the Nortel Versatile Service Engine)

The second-annual awards program were presented on Wednesday at the AdvancedTCA Summit at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. The Best of Show award winners were judged based on distinctiveness, central use of AdvancedTCA (ATCA), and technical and business significance, say the organizers.

The ATCA standard encompasses a variety of specifications for carrier grade telecommunications and networking equipment, including servers, gateways, wireless network controllers, and edge and access routers. Maintained by PICMG, the specifications define server blade and backplane form-factors with an eye toward maximizizing reliability, manageability, and serviceability.

Best of Show awards were given to following products:

  • Best Infrastructure — Nortel Versatile Service Engine (VSE) — Nortel's carrier-grade VSE platform (pictured at top) incorporates ATCA-compliant, industry-standard commercial hardware, a “hardened” Linux implementation with telecom-specific extensions, and “modular, fault-tolerant middleware,” says Nortel. VSE underlies a number of Nortel products including its MSC Server, Packet Mobile Switching Center (P-MSC), Call Session Controller (CSC 1000), Home Subscriber Server (HSS 1000), and Home Location Register (HLR) system. According to Nortel, these systems all use the VSE equipped with various combinations of a few types of software-programmable multi-purpose blades.

    RadiSys Promentum ATCA-9100

  • Best Unique Customer Application — Nortel AdvancedTCA ALL-IP MSC Server — Based on Nortel's VSE, the MSC Server provides a circuit switching platform that serves both as a network node in a wireless telecommunications network and as a point of access to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), says Nortel. The MSC Server is said to supervise and control voice/data path connections to the PSTN and other switches while supporting both GSM and UMTS technologies.
  • Best Hardware — RadiSys Promentum ATCA-9100 Media Processing Blade — The latest in the RadiSys Promentum family of ATCA servers and blades, the ATCA-9100 is based on a Freescale MSC8144 digital signal processor (DSP) and a 1.3GHz Freescale PowerQUICC III MPC8548 Local Management Processor (LMP). Designed for media gateways and high density media servers in wireless, broadband, and IPTV applications, the board includes a gigabit Ethernet switch and sRIO switch, as well as power and IPMI infrastructure, says RadiSys. The PowerQUICC-based LMP processor is integrated with 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM and dual 128MB flash memory modules that contain redundant boot, Linux OS images, and a local flash file system, says the company. The ATCA-9100 is also said to be integrated into the RadiSys PromentumSYS-6010 10 Gigabit platform.
  • Best Software — VirtualLogix VLX vHA 1.1 Carrier Grade Virtualization (CGV) — VirtualLogix started shipping its CGV product in July. A High-Availability (HA) version of its carrier-grade VLX-NI (network infrastructure) software, CGV combines VirtualLogix's virtualization stack for networking equipment with a new virtualization-enabled vHA interface. vHA is billed as a way to provide fault recovery and system management services across virtual and physical domains (see diagram below). The full VirtualLogix CGV package also offers hardware and guest OS management features, as well as application restart from a known state, which together are said to provide greater flexibility in managing HA systems and controlling availability levels. CGV ships with Linux-ready tools for configuration, development, and monitoring, says the company.

vHA in high-end, multiple multi-core environment
(Click to enlarge)

Finally, to recognize PICMG's efforts in advancing ATCA standards, this year's awards included two AdvancedTCA Summit Industry Leadership Awards given to PICMG president Joe Pavlat, and PICMG VP/technology Dick Somes.

Stated Ernie Bergstrom, president of Crystal Cube Consulting and chairperson of the AdvancedTCA Summit, “AdvancedTCA is sparking incredible innovation for our next generation of high-performance telecom applications.”

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