MicroTCA

November 29, 2023

PICMG 2023 in Review: Specs, Specs and More Specs

COM ExpressCOM-HPCJess IsquithMicroTCAMicroTCAOpen Standards

By Jessica Isquith, President, PICMG

The end of every calendar year provides an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and shortcomings. But as 2023 draws to a close, I’m nothing short of astonished with what our membership has accomplished.

Seven specifications have reached significant milestones this year alone:

  1. COM-HPC 1.2. The latest and most advanced COM on the market was upgraded (to a smaller size) with the release of the COM-HPC 1.2 spec revision. Dubbed COM-HPC “Mini”, the 95 mm x 60 mm platform loses a connector compared to its fellow COM-HPC form factors, but still delivers 400 pins for carrying high-speed signals from the processor module to carrier boards.
  2. COM Express 3.1. The established leader in the computer-on-module (COM) market upgraded interfaces to provide increased speed and bandwidth over the previous generation. This will keep the specification compatible with leading-edge processor technologies.
  3. MicroTCA R3.0. MicroTCA continues its 15-year evolution, as Revision 3.0 of the specification add 100 GbE and PCIe Gen 5 interfaces to cement the open platform in high-energy physics and scientific research, communications, and medical applications for years to come. MicroTCA is also a favorite of Quantum Computing startups, many of whom have already adopted the standard in their R&D efforts.
  4. ModBlox7. The first open standard Box PC, ModBlox7, is in its final review phase and expected to be ratified by Q1 2024. It’s modularity, flexibility, and scalability is poised to address the demands of today’s industrial and transportation use cases.
  5. IoT Specs. PICMG’s IoT specification efforts continue to expand as work with Redfish APIs was formally adopted by the DMTF. With continued effort and adoption, the IoT.x family of specifications will enable sensor-to-controller-and-beyond data transparency that will drive the need for and application of compute intelligence at the edge.
  6. CompactPCI Serial Extension. CompactPCI, one of the original PICMG specifications, lives on in the form of CompactPCI Serial. A specification extension adds PCI Express Gen 4, 100 GbE, and support for other modern serial signals. The upgraded performance will allow CompactPCI Serial Extensions to keep targeting industry and transportation platforms where it has been successful for decades.
  7. InterEdge. InterEdge defines a set of specifications for process and automation control for the rugged far edge. This effort is a collaboration between PICMG and OPAF of the OpenGroup and backed by leaders in the energy and industrial markets. It is scheduled for release in early Q1.

All these accomplishments set PICMG up for an exciting 2024, which also happens to be the consortiums 30th anniversary of developing open embedded computing standards. With multiple new specifications primed to enter the industry, we’re looking forward to keeping up the momentum we’ve built over the last calendar year thanks to the hard work and determination of our member companies.

In addition to thanking existing members for their consistent contributions, we invite non-member companies to become part of the specification development process by joining and participating in PICMG. Through collaboration, significant problems are being solved that are reshaping multiple industries with open, interoperable solutions that enable thousands of embedded solutions to reach the market in an efficient and timely fashion.

September 18, 2023

MicroTCA.0 Revision 3 Delivers 4x Performance Improvement with 100 Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe Gen 5 in up to 12 Slots

Industry NewsMicroTCANewsPICMG

Latest MicroTCA revision adds high-bandwidth interfaces and increased TDP to prepare the specification for demanding next-generation edge and server workloads

WAKEFIELD, MA. PICMG, a leading consortium for the development of open embedded computing specifications, has ratified Revision 3.0 of the MicroTCA.0 (µTCA.0) specification. This new release addresses urgent bandwidth requirements by defining 100 GbE and PCIe Gen 5 fabrics that improve system performance by 4x while also expanding platform thermal design power (TDP), enabling the use of higher performance processors. Users can now select from a range of specification-compliant building blocks and solutions that allow for more power per slot for higher transfer rates within µTCA chassis and to external systems and server clusters. It also lays the foundation for building next-generation MicroTCA proofs of concept.

Revision 3 of MTCA.0 addresses the current and future demands of applications such as machine vision, AI, defense, research, instrumentation, wireless communication, and emerging applications like quantum computing. “Revision 3 of MTCA.0 addresses urgent requirements and thus enables companies to now provide specification-compliant solutions rather than proprietary or custom approaches,” says Heiko Korte of NAT Europe and lead of PICMG’s MicroTCA Technical Working Group. “The fact that so many MicroTCA ecosystem suppliers have joined the working group shows the importance of the changes and also underlines the strong interest to make these part of an open specification.

“The broad spectrum of participants also ensured that every single agenda item got reviewed from different angles and properly discussed,” he adds.

MicroTCA.0 Revision 3.0-compliant solutions will be available shortly, including chassis, MicroTCA Carrier Hub (MCH), Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC), Rear Transition Module (RTM), and power modules (PM) products from VadaTech, NAT, AIES Sp z o.o., nVent SCHROFF, and others. The commitment of existing vendors to continuing the development of µTCA products is joined by increased interest from players in emerging fields like quantum computing, projecting a healthy lifecycle for the open computing specification for years to come.

“VadaTech is proud to have been part of the development and ratification of revision 3 of the uTCA specification,” says Alex Malcom, Managing Director of VadaTech Ltd. “Its release secures the continued adoption of the standard by commercial, scientific and defense organizations around the world.”

The MicroTCA.0 Revision 3.0 specification can be accessed at www.picmg.org/product/micro-telecommunications-computing-architecture-base-specification. For more information on the MicroTCA family, visit https://www.picmg.org/openstandards/microtca.

About PICMG

Founded in 1994, PICMG is a not-for-profit 501(c) consortium of companies and organizations that collaboratively develop open standards for high performance industrial, Industrial IoT, military & aerospace, telecommunications, test & measurement, medical, and general-purpose embedded computing applications. There are over 130 member companies that specialize in a wide range of technical disciplines, including mechanical and thermal design, single board computer design, high-speed signaling design and analysis, networking expertise, backplane, and packaging design, power management, high availability software and comprehensive system management.

 

Key standards families developed by PICMG include COM-HPC, COM Express, CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, MicroTCA, AdvancedMC, CompactPCI Serial, SHB Express, MicroSAM, and HPM (Hardware Platform Management). https://www.picmg.org.