The VITA 74 NanoX Small Form Factor specification was released as a VITA Draft Standard for Trial Use at the end of 2013. The next step is for full ANSI/VITA ratification which the working grouping is undertaking at this time.
According to Wayne McGee, chairman of the VNX Marketing Alliance, in order to take advantage of previous work, the VITA 46 specification has been used as a basis for VITA 74. The base standard gives details on the mechanical implementation of the system plug-in modules. Two types are defined, 19mm and 12.5mm. Each type addresses a different set of functions.
VITA 74 defines both mechanical and electrical specifications to implement a small form factor system. The specification addresses a need for a standardized approach to small-scale systems to be used in rugged environment applications and includes , modules, backplanes, enclosures and integrated systems. The goal is to allow vendor implementation flexibility at the same time as ensuring component interoperability.
The standard adopts the VITA 74 signal mappings, introducing a new high-speed low cost connector and reduces the number of serial fabric options. The result is a specification that has two serial fabrics, Ethernet and PCI Express. In the interest of keeping the system as simple to implement as possible, a single CPU root node is specified.
Fabrication of the module enclosure is left to the vendor. In addition, details are provided for the module base carrier board, including connector location, assembly hole locations and component keep-out. The 19mm module has room for a two-board stack. The inter-board connector selection is outside the scope of this specification.
Finally, even though the standard doesn’t specify backplane implementation, details are provided as part of a 4-slot backplane. This can be used as a design starting point for doing a derivative implementation, as defined by the particular application. Also, an example chassis with detail dimensions is given as a starting point for a chassis design. The chassis example can be reproduced in whole or modified a required depending on the requirements.
“Emerging new small form factor system standards such as VITA 74 for rugged applications are gaining interest from system architects designing computing platforms for rugged applications,” said McGee. “The mission of the VNX Marketing Alliance is to spread awareness of the value the VITA 74 NanoX technology brings to the market.”
The alliance is made up of technology suppliers developing products based on the VITA 74 NanoX Small Form Factor specification and currently includes: Alligator Designs Pvt Ltd., Alphi Technology, Alta Data Technologies, CES-Creative Electronic Systems, Data Device Corp., IOXOS Technologies SA, Red Rapids, Inc. , Samtec, Themis Computer, and VectorNav Technologies.