Supported Switched/Mesh Fabrics – Part 2

In Part 2 of the Supported Switched/Mesh Fabrics series we’ll explore the multiple benefits of using a system configured with any of the Switched or Mesh fabrics discussed in Part 1, whether in a commercial, semi-rugged or extreme environment.

These options range from Military and government use, in and out of war zones, geologists using to map land formations for possible research, archaeologists using information on where they may dig to find possible treasures, and even scientists tracking space missions, weather patterns and possible natural seismic activity. Many of these options could be performed by controlling state-of-the-arts drones or robotics. There are multiple uses for the processing power and speed from our systems, whether it be the larger systems, 12, 16 or 20 plus slots or the smaller 6-slot systems. It depends on the needs of the customer and the task.

System designers must satisfy the never-ending demand for more bandwidth and features to support the changing market requirements. The key to meeting those challenges is the designer’s ability to get the most out of interconnects that constitute the foundation of a system’s switching architecture.

Mercury offers many different platforms that can be used for whatever problem a customer is trying to solve. We’ve added channels/paths on the boards to connect to the backplane, accessing the different planes that are supported. No matter which configuration our customers require, we have the platforms that will meet those requirements. The SMP engineers have customized both hardware and software when needed, to satisfy these requirements when the standard platform does not quite match. All of this is done through detailed discussions with the customer and their customers.

Customers have many choices that they can select to meet their needs, and if they’re not sure which system or configuration would work better for them, they can ask our engineers who are always willing and glad to help. Mercury also offers different ruggedized levels, depending on what the customer’s application needs. Besides ruggedizing the boards, we also ruggedize the chassis to fit the requirement.

Switched fabrics technology supports the implementation of multiprocessing systems that require the fastest possible communications between multiple processors.

Systems can have two cp (Control Plane) networks plus two, four or more dp (Data Plane) networks, depending on your needs, hardware, and configuration. There is also the FP Ethernet to use on boards that support it.

Hardware Products available from Mercury Systems include HDS, LDS, SFM and GSC – Graphics platforms. Backplanes for PCIE, Distributed Mesh and Centralized Switching. 6U and 3U platforms, are also available to fit whatever configuration is required.


Product Stability and Reliability

All Mercury hardware goes through a variety of environmental testing, temperature, shock and vibe and ESS. Depending on the requirements and classification, the level of testing may differ. Our approach tends to exceed the required limits to offer a more robust and stable product to our customers. Levels of ruggedness: Commercial, AC Rugged L1, AC Rugged L2, Air Flow-By Rugged L4 and CC Rugged L3 (AC = Air-cooled, CC = Conduction-cooled).

  • Commercial Level 0 – For development or deployment in benign environments
  • Air-Cooled Level 1 – For moderate temperature requirements in addition to shock, vibration and humidity
  • Air-Cooled Level 2 – Extended requirements in addition to shock, vibration and humidity
  • Conduction-Cooled Level 3 – For extremely rugged environments where convection cooling is inappropriate or impossible; includes increased altitude, humidity and vibration regimens
  • Air Flow-By Level 4 – For extremely rugged environments and maximum heat dissipation

To learn more, check out our Rugged Capabilities Datasheet, including product options available in the HDS and LDS platforms.


HDS: High Density Server

On-board Gen 3 PCIe® pipes feed the module’s switch fabric interconnects, which are managed by dual Mellanox ConnectX®-3 devices to deliver 40Gb/s Ethernet or InfiniBand™ inter-module data rates.

  • 40 Gigabit Ethernet or InfiniBand high bandwidth switching:
    • Ethernet ecosystem; 10GBASE-KX4, 10GBASE-KR and 40GBASE-KR4
    • Or InfiniBand ecosystem; SDR, DDR, QDR and FDR10


LDS: Low Density Server

  • Rugged, open architecture data/graphics processing module with Mercury’s POET™ implemented Gen 2 Serial RapidIO® and 10Gigabit Ethernet data plane options
  • 4th Generation Intel® Quad-Core™ i7 processor (Haswell mobile class) with AVX2 and on-die GT2 GPU for demanding data/graphics processing
  • Intel® 3rd Generation Core™ i7 (Ivy Bridge mobile-class) quad-core processor at up to 2.3 GHz with 147 GFLOPS peak performance
  • Integrated Gen3 PCIe switching infrastructure for on-board and off-board co-processing 6U/ 3U OpenVPX-compliant VITA 65/46/48 (VPX-REDI) module
  • Integrated Gen3 PCIe® switching infrastructure for on-board and off-board co-processing expansion-plane communications
  • Mellanox ConnectX-3 fabric support InfiniBand or 40 Gigabit Ethernet
  • One XMC and one XMC/PMC mezzanine sites

Costs deter customers from going to 100GB, since the return on investment isn’t there, yet. The 40GB interface is doing the job for most systems.

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