GEN4 – A New High Performance Platform


While PICMG and its members are committed to the future of ATCA, we recognize that at some time in the future a new, platform that may not be backwards compatible with ATCA may be needed.

A PICMG working group is already defining the requirements for this new platform, which will be called GEN4™.

The GEN4 architecture will be optimized for very high performance computation and network modular platform applications that are beyond the capacities of current AdvancedTCA systems. It will be targeted at high performance computing, central network, network edge, and high capacity storage applications with critical capacity, performance, reliability, density, and efficiency requirements. The explosive growth of Internet traffic (especially driven by video, big data, and the WEB 3.0) will require the deployment of much more capable network elements and will require that they be deployed rapidly. As datacenter and telecommunications networks converge, and cloud computing and various heterogeneous processing models become prevalent, GEN4 will be positioned as the standard modular platform architecture of choice.

GEN4 will be scalable in computational power, networking bandwidth, and storage capacity.

GEN4 will be a new architecture which is complementary to AdvancedTCA. While the boards and shelves will not be plug compatible, the software and management infrastructure elements will be adaptable between architectures. GEN4 will achieve order of magnitude levels of improvement over original PICMG 3.0 R1.0 systems in multiple dimensions, including:

  • Architected with energy efficiency, simplicity, and scalability goals set by emerging market demands.
  • Module size for high-capacity networking and compute performance using off-the-shelf silicon.
  • System throughput (to hundreds of terabits/s), module bandwidth (to tens of terabits/s), and storage capacity in exabytes.
  • Efficient power delivery with High Voltage DC options as well as AC
  • Module cooling capacity (over 2000 Watts, with fluid cooling options)
  • Scalability to efficiently create large multi-frame systems
  • Cybersecurity at the lowest level of the hardware architecture to address secure military communications applications.

GEN4 will be a new approach to address the widely varying performance needs of the applications through hierarchy of increasing capability subsystems, supporting SDN and NFV, while providing investment protection for customers with deployed AdvancedTCA systems. And like all PICMG platforms, it will be an open, public standard that anyone can implement.

GEN4 systems will provide the capacity and density required by the next decade of Internet application and traffic growth, serving the modular platform marketplace from 2015 through at least 2025.