Electronic Design

Enhancing VMEbus To Maintain Its Success

"We have the technology to extend life indefinitely." Where people are concerned, this is science fiction. But for VMEbus, you could say that it's business as usual.

VMEbus technology updates have continued for over 20 years. However, the continuous success of VMEbus results from more than technology enhancement. Investment protection is the key. The improvements most eagerly adopted by users have been backward-compatible, so investments in developing existing products aren't discarded during upgrades.

The latest VMEbus enhancement continues this tradition. The 2eSTT VMEbus protocol delivers sustained data-transfer rates of over 300 Mbytes/s between 2eSST-enabled boards. This blazing performance is achieved in existing VME backplanes and alongside legacy VMEbus boards. Two further initiatives provide a high-speed serial fabric on VMEbus, as well as greater I/O connectivity.

VITA 41, or VME Switched Serial (VXS), adds switched fabrics over a new P0 connection with a choice of fabric technologies. The VME parallel bus is used for bus control and system management, or even fast interprocessor communications applying 2eSST. VITA 41 protects the investment by supporting existing VME boards, without a conflicting P0 scheme, in a VXS backplane.

VITA 46, or VME PCI Serial Switched Fabrics, moves away from the traditional VMEbus connector scheme. It uses new connector technology to support VMEbus signals, switch-fabric signals, and additional I/O capability. Bridging schemes provide a migration path from the parallel VMEbus on DIN connectors. VITA 46 steps in for very demanding applications that stretch beyond the capability of traditional VMEbus or VXS.

These three initiatives-VMEbus with 2eSST, VXS, and VITA 46-enhance hardware performance and functionality to serve the needs of distinct and separate applications. However, it's also becoming increasingly important to improve time-to-market and cost efficiency.

One way to do this is to define pre-validated hardware and software computing platforms that are supportable by the VMEbus community for particular groups of applications. This approach can substantially reduce the time to deploy new products and help achieve economies of scale.

VMEbus with 2eSST enables distributed processing systems with very high performance to be implemented now. Switch fabrics on VMEbus will extend this capability even further. Therefore, it's an ideal time to start defining platforms for those industries that need embedded computing elements to intercommunicate-for example, defense systems and a wide variety of industrial computing systems. By moving beyond hardware enhancements, VMEbus can grow faster and extend its life even further.

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