9/16/2002 - A new joint development team to create powerful, flexible and scaleable application specific servers was announced. Celoxica, Motorola and StrongBow Technologies are working together to create servers that embed applications, such as transaction processing for credit cards, directly in hardware.
StrongBow’s modular server technology is designed around Motorola Computer Group’s MXP platform and the proposed PICMG® 2.20 standard for a high-speed serial mesh interconnect. The platform carries boards with multiple Xilinx Virtextm-II Pro Platform FPGAs, for massively parallel hardware implementation of applications, which are programmed using Celoxica’s DK1 design suite. Customers can quickly and confidently design, implement and manage business critical applications.
"Without Celoxica’s tools, this would not have been possible," said Alan Prouse, CEO and founder of StrongBow Technologies. "With DK1.1 we are able to take the algorithm that is the heart of the application, and express it directly in FPGA hardware. Users do not need CPUs, operating systems and associated overheads to run their applications. Instead they gain a massive increase in throughput, in excess of two orders of magnitude, while preserving all the relevant aspects of their legacy software."
"An added bonus is that the servers use off the shelf, state-of-the-art technologies. By using high-performance Xilinx Virtex-II ProÔ FPGAs and the Motorola platform, we are able to scale to meet increased demand, both by adding extra chassis, and by using later generations of FPGAs."
The MXP platform was chosen for its flexible, scalable backplane architecture and carrier grade features that are a necessity in next generation high end server applications. In addition to the FPGA boards, the platform carries communications cards to connect to clients, either directly, across communications network or through the internet, and to storage systems. Protocols, such as the TCP/IP stack, and security measures, such as SSL, are implemented directly in hardware using DK1.1.
On a single programmable platform chip, the Virtex-II Pro Platform FPGA integrates fully embedded systems components, hard and soft IP and millions of gates of customizable logic. Virtex-II Pro offers hard IBM PowerPC 405 processor cores, custom IP generation, multi-gigabit serial transceivers and up to 10 Mb of on-board RAM. This rich set of features supports a wide range of applications by providing a very high level of flexibility to system designers. The Virtex-II Pro architecture is ideal for the modular application server, which requires high speed serial communication between chips and the ability to efficiently implement a wide variety of complex applications and algorithms in hardware.
"Xilinx is delighted to be associated with the new Strongbow project," said Robert Bielby, senior director of Strategic Solutions Marketing for Xilinx. "It is a valid endorsement of the power and performance of the Virtex-II Pro and the concept of the platform FPGA."
"We are excited about providing StrongBow with a comprehensive design methodology for taking their complex algorithms from C to FPGA," said Phil Bishop, CEO of Celoxica Ltd. "The complexity of their system is a true testament to our capacity as an FPGA design solution supplier for algorithmic implementation in the embedded system design space."
The DK1 design suite targets the design, validation, iterative refinement and implementation of complex algorithms in hardware. It includes built-in design entry, simulation, and synthesis - all driven by Handel-C, a design-entry language based on ANSI-C that combines parallelism with a central timing model. Developers with knowledge of the C programming language find DK1's Handel-C language simple to use. With its intuitive hardware-specific constructs, Handel-C lets software developers quickly code hardware designs.
DK1's integrated Handel-C-to-gate-level synthesis and optimisation eliminates the need for any interim HDL stage or the need to maintain any additional code stream. The integrated Handel-C compiler lets developers generate optimised EDIF netlists appropriate for targeting FPGAs using FPGA manufacturers' tools. In addition, DK1 can optionally generate VHDL and Verilog for traditional ASIC flows."
Celoxica brings software methodologies to hardware design with tools that converge electronics design automation (EDA) and embedded software development (ESD) to improve designer productivity, address design skills shortages, and overcome system performance bottlenecks.
The company's design tools, and their supporting products and services, introduce three aspects of software development to the hardware design process: a C-based language for rapidly describing the functionality rather than the underlying structural detail of the hardware; an integrated development environment (IDE) for hardware design with features such as symbolic debugging as well as synthesis that correlates to software compilation in that it is very fast; and libraries of predefined functions including access to peripherals and processors in hardware via common APIs.
Celoxica has alliances and partnerships with Altera Corporation, Actel Corporation, Avnet Design Services, Wind River Systems Inc. and Xilinx, Inc. The company is headquartered in Abingdon, UK, with additional offices in Campbell, California, USA; Yokohama, Japan; and Singapore.
About StrongBow Technologies
StrongBow Technologies, Inc. provides industry leading, state of the art modular application servers that dramatically exceed the performance standards of traditional CPU driven application servers. StrongBow servers eliminate the need for traditional operating systems, and CPU’s and thus enables customers to design and implement high-performance, low cost server solutions. Customers will immediately benefit from reductions in total infrastructure costs through its dense modular design.
About Motorola (www.motorola.com)
Motorola Computer Group is a business unit of the Motorola Integrated Electronic Systems Sector (IESS). It is the world's leading supplier of embedded computing platforms for equipment manufacturers in telecommunications, network storage, imaging, medical equipment and semiconductor production and test equipment industries, with core competencies in services and training, design, manufacturing and systems integration capabilities. IESS is a leading provider of advanced electronic products and systems for customers integrating electronics into their products. Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is a global leader in providing integrated communications solutions and embedded electronic solutions. Sales in 2001 were $30 billion.
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