Our new SOSA aligned multiprocessor: you can have it all


Maximizing the value of customer investments and minimizing long term cost of ownership has long been central to how Abaco approaches product development. That has shown itself in a number of ways over the past three decades – but perhaps the most striking is the continuing commitment to regularly making available new products that are form, fit and function compatible with their predecessors.

Simple, straightforward

The principle is based on enabling customers to take advantage of new technologies – and the higher performance and greater functionality they bring – but with minimal disruption. The ideal upgrade for the majority of customers will involve simply unplugging one card and replacing it with another card. No software redesign, no re-qualification, no testing – with all the associated cost, inconvenience and schedule risk that are involved – but just a simple, straightforward insertion of the latest technology.

Take our PowerXtreme family of 6U VME single board computers, for example. It was first launched in 1998 in the shape of the PPC1A with its 333MHz PowerPC processor and up to 336Mbytes of memory. The latest addition to the PowerXtreme family is the PPC11A, with 5x the processor speed and eight times as many cores, more than 20x the memory capacity – and all with significantly lower power consumption.  The PPC11A is a simple slot-in replacement for earlier PowerXtreme boards.

Maintaining faith

Ensuring that we maintain faith with our customers isn’t always easy, however. Take the new SOSA standard, for example. If we are to compete in a market in which SOSA will be a key requirement for all future programs, we need to develop SOSA-aligned solutions. The problem is: the SOSA architecture and existing customer system architectures are different.

What to do? In the case of our new IPN254 multiprocessor, we went ahead and developed two versions – one SOSA-aligned, the other to provide an upgrade for existing customers.

The IPN254 is Abaco’s fourth generation of multiprocessors. It’s an innovative combination of the latest NVIDIA 6.4 TeraFLOPS Quadro RTX3000 GPU with the latest 9th generation Intel Xeon E CPU designed to deliver maximum processing performance from a single 6U VPX slot. Additionally, the IPN254 utilizes the Mellanox ConnectX-5, facilitating dual 40 GigE KR4 data plane Fat Pipes for increased data plane bandwidth across the system.

Best of both worlds

Further, the IPN254 includes the Xilinx Zynq Ultrascale+ FPGA with its advanced security features, and provides support for the latest DisplayPort 1.4 outputs capable of 4K @ 120 Hz or 5K @ 60 Hz, in line with the latest display standards.

It’s the best of both worlds. At the time of writing, the IPN254 is the only 6U VPX multiprocessor to be aligned with the SOSA standard. And: it’s also available to enable existing customers to acquire a substantial, yet straightforward and cost-effective, performance boost to their systems.

Yes, developing two versions of a product is a more expensive approach to bringing new solutions to market – but when it comes to doing the right thing by our existing customers, we figure it’s worth it.

Stuart Heptonstall

Stuart is Abaco’s Global Product Manager for graphics and related products, including the extensive work we are doing in AI and machine learning, based on NVIDIA’s technology. Located at our European HQ in Towcester, England, Stuart achieved a BEng in Communications Systems Engineering at Leeds Metropolitan University, and an MBA from Loughborough University.