Electronic Design

Group Releases Software Spec For CompactPCI Hardware

The PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) has released its first software-focused specification. Designated PICMG 2.12, this guideline is meant to simplify the porting of hot-swap infrastructure software to Compact-PCI hardware produced by hundreds of PICMG member companies.

An increasingly important process, hot-swapping refers to the removal and replacement of components without deactivating the system. It's becoming essential in telecommunications and other applications that require continuous operation, even when plug-in boards need to be removed and replaced. The hot-swap infrastructure software functions in conjunction with a CompactPCI platform's operating system (OS). It manages the logistics of connecting a newly inserted CompactPCI board to the OS and disconnecting before the removal of the board.

The main body of the PICMG 2.12 specification defines a set of hardware and OS-independent porting interfaces. There are OS-specific appendices for the Windows NT family of operating systems, including Windows 2000, and Linux. Each appendix includes guidance for designers porting a hot-swap infrastructure to their platforms. For instance, it explains how to handle the different implementation approaches for the signal that notifies its host processor of configuration changes in its system.

The Software Interoperability Technical Subcommittee that developed PICMG 2.12 was chaired by Mark Overgaard of Pigeon Point Systems, Scotts Valley, Calif. The specification was approved at the most recent PICMG board of directors meeting, and it has been distributed to group members. For ordering information, go to www.picmg.org.

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