Tektronix TekExpress SATA

Tektronix, Inc. recently announced the TekExpress(tm) compliance test automation framework and new TekExpress SATA automated compliance test software. Running on the TekExpress framework, TekExpress SATA leverages Tektronix’s serial data performance instruments to automate 100% of the required SATA Gen-1 and SATA Gen-2 compliance tests for receivers, transmitters, and interconnects. The TekExpress compliance automation framework has been developed for automated one-button testing of high speed serial data standards. Pricing for TekExpress Framework is $4,900 and MOI modules range between $5,900-$19,900. Options are available today for RSG. Pre-release versions are available for TSG/PHY/OOB. Remaining SATA modules are expected to be available by the end of the second calendar quarter in 2008.

The TekExpress framework is built on top of TestStand from National Instruments that serves as the sequence control engine. NI TestStand is a ready-to-run test management environment designed to simplify the automation of test and validation systems. TestStand, when combined with TekExpress can be used to develop, manage and execute additional test sequences beyond SATA Gen-2 Compliance Testing.

Controlled from a Windows XP PC, TekExpress SATA efficiently executes the 153 SATA Gen-2 tests required by the Methods of Implementation (MOI) certified by the SATA-IO working group. TekExpress SATA software orchestrates the instrument setup and control sequences to provide complete certification test results for all four SATA-IO approved MOIs in under 3 hours of total elapsed test time. This represents a reduction in compliance test time of approximately 70%, saving designers valuable time on SATA design verification cycles.

Second generation serial data bus architectures including SATA Gen-2 provide an order of magnitude greater data throughput than possible only a few years ago. The accelerating performance of data rates is making design efforts even more challenging and adds design complexity that can hinder time to market and increase development cost. Consequently, engineers need powerful test equipment and software capable of greater performance, more extensive analysis, and improved efficiency. The new TekExpress SATA automated compliance test package from Tektronix provides unattended compliance testing for SATA Gen-1 and SATA Gen-2 that helps customers to streamline test operations and assists them with bringing new products to market quickly.

The compliance test modules for TekExpress SATA are divided into those for “Hosts/Devices” and for “Cables.” There are six modules required for the former and one for the latter. For Hosts/Devices, the automated test modules include: Physical Layer (PHY); Transmitter Signaling Group (TSG); Out of Band (OOB); Receiver Signaling Group (RSG); Receiver Margin Test (RMT) and; Transmit and Receive (Tx/Rx). For Cables, there is an additional Cable Signal Integrity (SI) module. Execution of the SATA MOIs is performed from any Windows XP computer.

Using traditional test methods customers typically take eight or more hours to cycle through the required SATA Gen-2 compliance tests. This is especially time consuming if an error is encountered and the tests need to be performed again. By using TekExpress SATA, a complete SATA Gen-2 compliance test can be performed largely without user intervention, providing complete test results in a few hours.

More info: Tektronix Serial ATA (SATA)