DALLAS, Texas SKY Computers Inc., introduced its latest Smart family of products based on the Infiniband architetcture standard. Using Inifiniband with the SMARTpac 500 front end data acquisition server and the back end SMARTpac 1200 compute server is a shift away from the company's proprietary SKYChannel architecture.
According to Mark Pacelle, vice president of marketing, the reason for the shift is simple: “Companies in high performance market segments such as military and aerospace are finding that as much as they need all the performance that a proprietary real-time computing architecture can give them, they need the lower costs and time-to-market advantages of a standards-based commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)design even more.”
As with its early SKYChannel-based proprietary architectures, Sky's new family uses the latest Motorola 1-GHz AltiVec PowerPC processors. Using the InfiniBand system switched fabric, SKY is able to achieve data throughputs of up to 1 GB/sec.
According to Gerry Pocock, chief software architect, except for a few critical performance bottlenecks that make use of proprietary hardware solutions and certain software enhancements, the new family has no element that is not standards based.
“The introduction of the SMARTpac series from SKY in a sense marks the final transition of the real time computing market, the DSP/signal processing portion of it, at least, from proprietary systems to easier to use and easier to design and faster to market standards based designs,” said Eric Gulliksen, practice director, embedded hardware, Venture Development Corp., Natick, Ma.
In this segment many if not all of the major players have made or are making the transition to standard bus architectures, including Mercury Computing with RapidIO, Spectrum Signal with StarFabric, DRS and SBS with CompactPCI fabric extensions, according to Gulliksen.
The Smartpac 500 is priced at $29,500 for a fully-configured, five processor system. Pricing for the Smartpac 1200 depends on configuration requirements. Both SMARTpac 500 and SMARTpac 1200 will be available in Fall of 2003.