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2013

While budget cuts have slowed the pace of military acquisition, innovation in electronic design for embedded MAG (military/aerospace/government) applications continues unabated, with Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance partners using the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor family to develop new commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products that emphasize component commonality and meet reduced Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP)
requirements.

 

Here’s a few for instances:

 

Curtis Wright’s new CHAMP-AV9 (Fig. 1) is a rugged, high performance OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) DSP (digital signal processing) engine based on a pair of quad-core Intel® CoreTM i7-4700EQ processors. The CHAMP-AV9 combines the floating point performance of the Haswell  microarchitecture featuring updated AVX 2.0 instruction units and redesigned on-chip graphics execution units with the substantial bandwidth and system-enabling features of the 6U OpenVPX form-factor. According to the supplier, the CHAMP-AV9 offers a 2-4X performance improvement per size, weight and power over previous DSP modules. With up to 14 GB/s of data plane fabric and 32 GB/s of expansion plane performance the unit has the bandwidth required to effectively harness the power of the processors.

 

And speaking of the processors, in case you are just tuning in the 4th generation Intel Core i7 microarchitecture contains substantial advances over previous generations.

  • Double the CPU floating-point performance with a fused multiply-add AVX instruction Ability to load two and store one operand per clock
  • Double the L1 and L2 cache bandwidth vs. 3rd
    generation Intel® Core™ processors
  • A 2.4 GHz CPU clock

CHAMP-AV9b.jpg

  Figure 1 The Curtiss Wright CHAMP AV-9

 

 

 

OpenVPX™ builds on the module-centric VPX specifications by providing a nomenclature of planes and profiles to enable system integrators,module designers and backplane providers to effectively describe and define the aspects and characteristics of a system. By following a system-centric approach and defining a number of standard system topologies, OpenVPX enables interoperable off-the-shelf modules and development platforms within the VPX marketplace. The OpenVPX framework defines the interoperability points necessary for integration between Module to Module and Module to Backplane and Chassis. In this way OpenVPX reduces the need for custom development of backplanes and chassis for every application.The major fabric protocols supported by OpenVPX include Ethernet, Serial RapidIO and PCI Express.

 

 

The CHAMP-AV9 engine has been upgraded to DDR3-1600 and Curtis-Wright says that it incorporates thermal management solutions that result in little to no CPU throttling at its benchmark 71oC air-cooled and conduction-cooled 85oC card-edge environments.

 

Processing systems for today’s military radar designs must be scalable, open architecture and capable of long term viability-- unlike consumer and commercial markets where technology turnover is often measured in months the lifetimes of many military systems is measured in years if not
decades.

 

Floating-point-intensive applications such as radar, image processing, and signals intelligence will benefit from the performance boost provided by the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel® AVX2) in the 4th generation Intel® Haswell microarchitecture. Intel AVX2 extends Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX) by promoting most of the 128-bit SIMD integer instructions with 256-bit numeric processing capabilities. The upgraded vector-processing technology also introduces a fused multiply-add (FMA3) that effectively doubles the peak floating point throughput in comparison to the previous generation. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of any image processing task.

 

Floating-point-intensive applications also benefit from the from the performance boost provided by the Intel AVX2 in the Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) XPedite7570, a high-performance, low-power, 3U VPX-REDI single board computer (SBC) based on the 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor. With two PCI Express Fat Pipe P1 interconnects and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, the XPedite7570 is ideal for the high-bandwidth data processing demands of today's military and avionics applications. The SBC can accommodate up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1600 ECC SDRAM in two channels to support memory-intensive applications.It also hosts numerous I/O ports, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB, SATA, graphics, and RS-232/422/485 through the backplane connectors.

 

The XPedite7570 can be used in either the system slot or peripheral slot of a VPX backplane. Wind River VxWorks and Linux Board Support Packages (BSPs) are available, as well as Microsoft Windows drivers. Three levels of ruggedization are available for X-ES [rpdicus (Fig. 2) supporting comeercial, extended temperature, and conduction-cooled applications. Products may be air-cooled or conduction-cooled depending on their end application.

X-ESgraph.png

 

Figure 2 Extreme environments demand extreme engineering solutions

 

 

 

 

Within a tight budgetary environment wherever possible program managers would rather upgrade than acquire and replace. Mercury describes its new HDS6502 module as a building block for its existing customers, enabling them to future-proof their legacy systems through targeted upgrades preserving their software and optimizing SWaP performance, so that more can be achieved with less.

 

Based on Intel's  Haswell microarchitecture Mercury’s HDS6502 module is OpenVPX-compliant and initially will support Serial RapidIO® Gen 2 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet via the company’s next generation, low-latency POET™ (Protocol Offload Engine Technology).  Full backward compatibility with software protocols is provided including ICS™ (interprocessor communication system) and MPI/OFED (message passing interface/open fabrics enterprise distribution).

 

Low I/O latency and reduced module power consumption is gained from the single die cache coherent memory architecture between the CPU and GPU resources. This is a required characteristic of multidimensional computing applications requiring high throughput, determinism and low latency such as SIGINT, IMINT (Imaging Intelligence), RADAR, EO/IR (electro-optic/infrared) and large data/graphics renderings.

 

HDS6502 modules will be available in this fall for deployment in air-cooled, air flow-by and conduction-cooled systems. Support for InfiniBand and 40 Gigabit Ethernet-based modules will follow, according to Mercury. Infiniband is expected to become the switched fabric technology of choice among military system suppliers for inverse FFTs computation in the intensive signal processing functions found in radar and electronic warfare.InfiniBand is said to be also well-positioned to handle tasks in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as for other surveillance, reconnaissance and ground mobile applications.

 

 

Learn More

 

Solutions in this Blog

 

Curtiss-Wright CHAMP AV-9

 

Xpedite 7570

 

Mercury Systems Ensemble® Series HDS6502

 

Wind River VxWorks

 

 

Related Topics:

 

 

Military, Aerospace, Government - Top Picks (blogs, white
papers, and more)

 

 

Performance- Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

 

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions is a General
member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

 

Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a General
Member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance

 

Mercury Systems is a General Member of the Intel Intelligent
Systems Alliance

 

Wind River Systems is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance

 

Microsoft Corporation is an Associate Member of the Intel
Intelligent Systems Alliance

 

Murray Slovick

 

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent
Systems Alliance

 













The military and aerospace industries have some of the most demanding imaging requirements of any industry. Many of these applications are highly computationally intensive with requirements for high levels of precision, thus the need for floating-point data formats. These industries have been pioneers in imaging for decades, influencing much of the technology that is commonly used today, for example, the Vector Signal Image Processing Library (VSIPL) that is a standard set of functions and an open application programming interface (API) for signal and image processing applications.

 

The Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0 introduced in the Haswell microarchitecture take these capabilities to a new level, delivering a 2x increase in peak floating-point throughput for an impressive 307 billion floating point operations per second (GFLOPS) at 2.4 GHz in a quad-core 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor. Fixed-point arithmetic also sees a 2x boost in peak throughput, and both fixed- and floating-point algorithms benefit from new vector gather, scatter, and permute operations.

 

Improvements and Benefits of AVX2

 

Improvements in Intel AVX2 include:

  • Extension of most integer instructions to 256 bits for 2x higher peak integer throughput which is particularly useful for imaging processing workloads.
  • New vector gather, shift, and cross-lane permute functions that enable more vectorization and more efficient loads and stores. The amount of shift is controlled by vector, critical in vectorized loops with variable shifts.
  • Fused multiply-add (FMA) instructions for 2x higher peak throughput—up to 307 GFLOPS at 2.4 GHz in a quad-core 4th generation Intel Core processor. These instructions are very useful in high performance computing, professional quality imaging, and face detection.

 

The most important benefit to the military and aerospace industry is the ability to process even larger sets of complex data in real time, faster and with less power, which helps to optimize the size, weight, and power ratio of their embedded systems. This leads to systems that are more effective, economical and more capable of processing the immense streams of real time data that is collected with today’s embedded systems.

 

Solutions

 

Members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance having been working hard to ensure that they are in step with the Haswell microarchitecture and are able to offer enhancements to their own products that bring out the best capabilities of AVX2. Here is a peek at what a couple of members have done to leverage AVX and improvements they have seen with AVX2.

 

N.A. Software Ltd (NAS) has a suite of software tools for signal processing, vector processors, and DSP-related applications for military, aerospace and other industries requiring fast or real time processing. They also develop and license advanced radar algorithms and low-level DSP libraries including the Vector Signal Image Processing Library (VSIPL). NAS has produced a highly optimized Intel AVX2 VSIPL library that is especially well optimized for complex vector multiply operations, sine/cosine (when the data is not range reduced), and split complex FFTs. The NAS library is standalone code that does not rely on any third party software, enabling the library to be recompiled for any operating system quickly and easily to gain the most out of the Intel AVX2 instruction set.

 

NAS recently used VSIPL DSP operations on the Ivy Bridge and Haswell platforms to benchmark Intel AVX and AVX2. The results show that the Haswell platform has a significant performance advantage for all the DSP operations over most of the data sizes studied. The following table shows which DSP library and platform produced the optimum performance.

 

Routine

GFLOP Peak Performance

Performance Improvement

Ivy Bridge

Haswell

1D FFT

33

41

124%

2D FFT

25

35

140%

Multiple FFT

30

36

120%

Complex vector multiply

29

44

152%

Figure 1: N.A. Software benchmarks of Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 compare Ivy Bridge and Haswell architectures.


More details on the NAS benchmarking can be found in the following reports.

 

NAS provides core software to several of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance members that is then used to enhance and compliment their own software libraries.

 

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions (CWCDS) offers Continuum Vector, a comprehensive set of C-callable functions which have been optimized to exploit the performance of the SIMD instruction sets of Intel AVX.

 

“Many more pixels and bits of data requiring more precision are being processed in military and aerospace imaging applications,” commented Eran Strod, systems architect at Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions. The increases in data and precision drive demand for more performance from the processor to get the job done. “We expect continuous generation-to-generation improvements from Intel and Haswell has done exactly that,” continued Eran. Support for AVX2 in Continuum Vector is expected in the near future as CWCDS completes integration and optimization of the libraries that maximizes the hardware potential of their boards and systems. Eran noted that in early testing, they have seen as much as a 4x improvement in execution times in certain 2D FFT’s, though specific improvements are highly dependent on the function and algorithms.

 

Summary

 

Intel AVX2 in the Haswell microarchitecture continues the performance improvement trend for floating-point data formats that is so important to many imaging applications within the military and aerospace industries. Improvements in many benchmarks are exceeding 2x over the original AVX numbers. This has developers excited about SWaP improvements and the huge gains in real time floating point data processing.

 

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NASoftware Ltd is an Affiliate member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions is a General member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.


Jerry Gipper

OpenSystems Media®, by special arrangement with the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editorial Director,OpenSystems Media,VITA Technologies

ITEXPO.JPGOn August 26, I participated in an SDN/NFV panel discussion during the SDN Precon event that is part of ITEXPO. While the panel session itself covered a range of topics, one of the more interesting aspects of the whole SDN Precon event was that there were a number of presentations that highlighted new use cases that can be enabled by NFV.

 

In his presentation, Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst at Ovum, reviewed the likely impact of SDN on telecom and enterprise applications. He talked about various current SDN deployments, such as those at NTT, Google and Equinix (this last example comprising both connectivity between data centers as well as communication between the data center and a variety of ecosystem partners). He discussed the opportunities for appliance-based enterprise services and explained how SDN results in the simplification of services together with centralization.

Ronald Gruia, Principal Analyst at Frost and Sullivan, explained that VCs are expected to invest over $500M in SDN and NFV companies during 2013. He highlighted a number of NFV use cases, including data center cloud infrastructure, home network management, mobile operator applications such as video optimization and network visualization. He also stressed some key “caveats” or challenges that must be addressed in order for NFV to achieve widespread deployments, including scalability, interoperability, security, V & V (validation and verification) and Carrier Grade reliability.

Mark Durrett, Director of Marketing at Overture Networks, introduced the CloudNFV initiative (Overture is one of the six founding companies, along with 6WIND). He explained how managed CPE appliances (e.g. firewalls and routers) represent a compelling use case, with significant cost savings to be achieved through the elimination of CPE appliances, through pay-as-you-go services and through CAPEX/OPEX savings.

From Huawei, Mike McBride, Director of Technology and Strategy, presented a detailed approach to the virtualization of the home gateway appliance, explaining that current solutions suffer from a high volume of service calls, increasing equipment costs and decreasing service margins. He described how, as a first phase, the home gateway (HGW) function in the ONT equipment at the customer site would be replaced by a virtual home gateway (vHGW) instantiated within the OLT in the carrier network, reducing cost and complexity. Subsequently, a soft BNG (Broadband Network Gateway) controller would implement service chaining within the edge network, eventually co-located with IT functions in the core. As a next step, all these functions would be migrated into the telco cloud for ultimate cost savings.

Of course, all these use cases are examples of cost reductions compared to traditional physical implementations of network functions and network orchestration. In a post published a few weeks ago, I observed that most of the NFV discussions at conferences appear to be around cost reductions rather than revenue growth. Not much seems to have changed since then.

Clearly, significant CAPEX and OPEX savings are expected through the virtualization of functions that have traditionally been implemented as stand-alone, dedicated, fixed-function equipment. From the perspective of service providers, though, top-line P&L growth ultimately comes from making money, and specifically from increasing their Average Revenue per User (ARPU). That means new services that bring real value to subscribers, both enterprises and also consumers like you and me.

As the NFV network-level architecture details and deployment strategies firm up, so that service providers have confidence about the new capabilities of the infrastructure, I would hope that we’ll see a lot more discussions about interesting new services that will raise our monthly bills as subscribers and boost the service providers’ top line revenue.

What are your thoughts on this? What new services do you see being introduced thanks to NFV that will bring real value to subscribers, whether enterprises or consumers?

Do the math and it’s easy to understand why thousands of developers, technologists and business managers will be flocking to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) next month in San Francisco. In addition to hundreds of hours of Technical Sessions and conversations with Intel engineers experienced in a variety of application topics, members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance will present their latest ideas in the Technology Showcase, helping designers  take projects to the next level.(To get a sneak peak of the event – and info on prizes for attendees – check out the embedded@Intel blog. And visit the IDF13 San Francisco page for the full agenda, travel, hotel and registration information.)

 

For example, ADLINK Technology plans to highlight how the power of intelligent systems applied to vehicles can assist bus fleet managers, drivers and passengers in daily municipal and commuter bus operations.  The company’s demonstration will show real-time positioning (via GPS tracking and mapping), two-way communication between drivers and dispatch,  vehicle status including mechanical health and condition, onboard public announcements, emergency notifications, emergency signaling, voice communication and even a live video feed.

 

Focusing on ADLINK’s new Matrix MXE-5400 rugged quad-core fanless computers, at IDF ADLINK will demo the interactive functions that a fleet operator’s back office can use to monitor bus systems such as if engine oil is getting too hot, if the bus is running low on fuel, or if it is traveling too slow or too fast..The ADLINK demo also will show how, by using GPS satellite technology, automatic vehicle location (AVL) can track the location of buses, ultimately resulting in increased fleet efficiency.


The demo further will illustrate how dispatchers can have full control over vehicles by setting alarms if the vehicle is out of its normal corridor as well as making voice calls to the driver, handling passengers’ requests and monitoring passengers via real-time video surveillance inside the bus. The demo will show how the connected back end server can send emergency calls triggered by bus activities.

 

Since  real-time vehicle and passenger information is critical for effective operations management in a daily dispatch environment the IDF demonstration also will present information that can be displayed on  the driver’s terminal as well as video and route data shown  in the passenger cabin (for example  passenger information indicating the next stop) . Other demonstrable Intelligent Vehicle activities include the ability to provide riders with more precise information about when buses will actually arrive at stops, enhancing passenger convenience.

 

ADLINK's MX5400 is based on the 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 -4700EQ processor, the Intel® QM87 chipset and an Ethernet I/O comprising 4x GbE (with 3x Intel® 82574IT Gigabit single-port controller at 2.5 GHz plus one Intel® I217LM PHY) . The unit includes support for ADLINK’s SEMA (smart embedded management agent) and Intel’s® Active Management Technology 9.0, making it well suited for intelligent transportation applications. ADLINK’s SEMA was developed to resolve some shortcomings in today's embedded PC systems. The SEMA architecture consists of two parts: a hardware/driver layer and an application layer. The hardware/driver layer accesses the board management controller (BMC) directly through the onboard chipset via the System Management Bus (SMBus). The BMC handles all SEMA functionality in addition to performing system housekeeping such as start-up power sequencing and other similar functions. The application layer is for user interaction and reads commands and displays the data fetched by the BMC. As the interface to the hardware/driver layer is defined independently from the operating system, the application program can be easily ported between various operating systems. To that end versions for Windows and Linux are readily available.

 

The MXE-5400 delivers remote monitoring and control over embedded devices via the Internet. For embedded developers, using Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT) allows devices to be diagnosed and repaired remotely regardless of whether they are powered up or whether they have a functioning OS.  Advanced management capabilities include remote system reboot—in the event of OS failure—and system disconnect from the web when malicious intrusion is detected. Intel AMT is part of the Intel® vPro™ technology offering.

 

The Haswell microarchitecture-based platform onboard also allows ADLINK to deliver up to double the graphics performance over previous generation devices. Built-in visual features, including Intel® Clear Video HD  technology and Intel® Quick Sync Video 2.0, deliver smoother visual quality, improved ability to decode and transcode simultaneous video streams, and outstanding HD media playback.

 

The MXE-5400 can support up to 3 independent displays without the need for a discrete graphics card and has a DVI-I plus 2 Display ports (see Fig. 1). Additionally, the platform supports next-generation graphics APIs,such as Microsoft DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.0, and OpenCL 1.2.

MXE-5400.png


Figure 1 The MXE-5400 offers numerous I/O ports


The Intel® Core™ i7 -4700EQ processor offers quad-core capabilities with superior performance and a thermal design power (TDP) of 47W, configurable down to 37W. Manufactured on industry-leading 22nm process technology with 3D Tri-Gate transistors, the processor offers enhanced CPU, graphics and media performance.

 

Employing the Intel® Ethernet Controller I217 in MXE-5400 reduces power consumption in all power states compared to previous generations of Intel® controllers. While in active-idle, Intel has implemented Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE), a new IEEE standard. With EEE, Intel has reduced the idle power of the Gigabit link from about 500 mW to just over 50 mW, providing a significant energy savings.  What’s more, the SEMA graphical hardware monitor displays how power consumption and temperature of the board develop over time. There are two temperature curves that can be shown, one for each of the two sensors on the board. These graphs help users to understand system behavior under different load situations.

 

To meet the requirements of bus fleet operators the ADLINK MXE-5400 has to provide ruggedness, including temperature and vibration resistance.  The unit can operate over a -20 to 60°C (-4°F to 140°F) wide temperature range and can withstand up to 100 G shock and 5 G vibration, making it ideal for deployment in harsh environments. Fanless construction also significantly extends MTBF to 190,000 hours and minimizes maintenance costs.


Optional wireless function enhancement for MXE-5400 include WCDMA, 802.11 a/b/g/n, BT3.0, 3G and AGPS. Additional I/O include two onboard SATA-III (6.0 Gb/s) ports, 6 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0, and 4 GbE ports.

 

IDF will take place September 10-12, 2013 at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco. See you there.

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ADLINK is an associate member of the Intel Intelligent Systems Alliance


Murray Slovick

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

The annual Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco starts September 10, but Intel is already kicking off the action on Twitter – look for the #IDF13 hashtag.

 

You can also get a sneak peak over at the embedded@Intel blog, which promises prizes for developers who stop by the Intelligent Systems Zone. Check out embedded@Intel to learn more, and make sure you register to attend!

 

We will also be covering key events from the show here at the Intel® Embedded Community. Stay tuned for more!

 

Kenton Williston

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine

Follow me on Twitter: @kentonwilliston

We now have access to more data than ever before due to the ubiquitous information gathering devices spread around the globe. This Big Data presents significant opportunities and many challenges. Much of this data is sensitive information that can be used to gain insights into individuals and businesses. Large databases and significant processing power are required to store and analyze the information, and robust data security is needed to ensure the data is protected from malicious access.

 

In this blog I am going to explore the benefits of using the Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 series and the Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series to implement data processing and enhance big data security. I am using implementation examples from Advantech, a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. The 250-plus members of the Alliance collaborate closely with Intel to create hardware, software, tools, and services to help speed intelligent systems  to market.

 

Processing Big Data

Large quantities of data is collected from many sources including remote and wireless sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) readers, cameras, microphones and another information sensing devices. Big data is increasing in size with some datasets running to several petabytes of data. To gain the full benefit from big data systems need to rapidly process large data sets and correlate information across multiple sources.

 

The processing of unstructured and semi-structured data has been made significantly easier by the Hadoop software library. Hadoop is a scalable framework that supports the distributed processing of big data across clusters of computers. Hadoop scales from a single server up to many thousands of servers making the results of big data analysis accessible to a wide range of businesses.

 

Big data and Hadoop processing requires significant I/O and storage throughput. The Intel® distribution for Apache Hadoop software integrates hardware-enhanced performance and security capabilities that deliver significant performance gains. The performance of Hadoop can be increased by more than 30 times over previous generations of the Intel® Xeon® processor by using the Intel Distribution for Hadoop with the latest Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 series, 10GbE network connections and solid state drives.

 

Big Data Security

The use of big data creates some significant security issues. Big data is collected through a wide range of information gathering devices. Some data from these devices will contain sensitive information and therefore needs to be protected. This includes Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI) and Intellectual Property (IP).Much of the data can become more sensitive when viewed in the context of data from other sources. Companies therefore need to consider encrypting some or all data when it is moved and then stored.

 

The encrypted data is decrypted for processing and then re-encrypted before being moved back to the storage drives. The results of any processing may also need to be encrypted before being stored or moved to an external device. The greatest efficiency and security is achieved by using the same system for processing and decryption/encryption.

 

Accelerating Big Data Security

Data encryption in software requires significant number of processor cycles. The Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop is optimized for Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel® AES-NI) supported on Intel Xeon processors. This has been shown to accelerate encryption performance in an Apache Hadoop cluster by 5.3x and decryption performance by 19.8x. Significantly higher security performance can be achieved by using hardware security acceleration that is closely coupled to the processor.

 

The Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series integrate hardware acceleration for decryption/encryption and compression and are closely coupled to Intel Xeon processors through PCIe Gen 2.0 and DMI interfaces. As shown in Figure 1 these devices also integrate quad Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe Gen 1 and other I/O interfaces.

 

Intel 89xx.jpg

Figure 1. Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series.

 

The Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop supports the Intel® Quick Assist Technology acceleration built into the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series. Security performance can be scaled by adding additional Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series devices.

 

Scalable Hardware Platform Solutions

Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series with the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series are integrated into a wide range of platform solutions for computing and communications applications including carrier grade servers, network appliances and ATCA. Many of these platform solutions will support the Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop with hardware acceleration for security.

 

The Advantech CGS-6000 carrier grade server integrates dual Intel Xeon processors E5-2600 and E5-2600v2. Hardware security acceleration can be added using Advantech PCIe Cards with four Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series shown in Figure 2. The CGS-6000 system has four full height PCIe x8 slots.

 

Advantech 8910 PCIe Card.jpg

Figure 2. Advantech PCIe Card with four Intel® Communications Chipset 89xx Series.

 

ATCA is a scalable platform for computing and communications applications. The Advantech MIC-5333 ATCA processor blade integrates the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series and the Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series. The blade also supports additional mezzanine modules with up to four additional Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series devices. Advantech NetariumTM ATCA System platforms are available with 2-14 slots and optional extended rear transition modules (eRTM). The Advantech eRTM module shown in Figure 3 supports up to four network mezzanine cards (NMC) that can be used for further security acceleration or other functions. NMCs are also supported on the Advantech FWA-6510 Network Appliance.

 

Advantech eRTM.jpg

Figure 3. Advantech ATCA Extended Rear Transition Module (eRTM)

 

The combination of Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 series, Intel Communications Chipset 89xx Series and Intel Distribution for Apache Hadoop allows system managers to deploy the right hardware and software solutions to enhance big data security.

 

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Advantech is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Simon Stanley

Roving Reporter (Intel® Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Principal Consultant, Earlswood Marketing

Follow me on Twitter: @simon_stanley

What comes in mind when you think of a mobile POS device? A smart phone with a card reader attachment stuck on it? A bulky handheld with keypad, printer and a small screen? A tablet? The truth is, mobile POS is a device category that is wide open and the definitive form factors have yet to surface. That’s what makes mobile POS exciting from a developer perspective. Equally intriguing are the possibilities available to make more intelligent, graphically rich, low-power mobile POS devices by leveraging the many innovations of the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor product family.

 

Form Factors and Use Cases for Mobile POS

Leading retailers are increasingly looking at mobile device POS devices as a way to put store associates on the floor and enable shoppers to make purchases anywhere. This can be a big advantage in situations where a store associate is helping a customer and the customer has just made the decision to buy. It might be shoes, a refrigerator, or a laptop PC. Processing the sale right then, at the moment of the buying decision, helps ensure the sale is made in the store and not later home online. It also helps reduce the number of sales lost as the shopper walks to a distant checkout station and experiences second thoughts.

 

Mobile POS devices come in handy in other use cases as well. They’re great for outdoor sales, such as at a gardening shop or lumber yard. In small shops, mobile POS devices can eliminate a stationary POS checkout station entirely, allowing store employees to freely interact with customers and help close sales. For stores that frequently do demonstrations of items such as a juicer, mobile POS devices enable store associates to make the sale when a customer reaches peak excitement about the product.

 

Mobile POS devices can also be invaluable in situations where a store associate is with a customer and an item is out of stock on the shelves. The store associate can check stock at other nearby stores or the warehouse, and even complete the sale, having the item shipped to the store for pickup or the customer’s home.

 

Store associates can also take advantage of upsell opportunities by showing a customer additional models of an item that might not be available in the store, but offer features a customer wants. To close a sale, a store associate might also show a customer product videos, reviews and recommendations, and even companion products to consider. Imagine, for example, the effect of showing to a customer a third-party video review that highly rates a camera, and then being able to show popular options such as extra lenses and filters.

 

 

 

 

 

For these last cases where a store associate wants to share information, a smart phone-sized device doesn’t offer a big enough screen to comfortably share information with a customer. That’s where they fall short. What works better is a tablet-sized device with a screen large enough that store associates can easily show a customer product features, alternative models, literature, and everything else available to help close a sale. A larger screen also makes it easier to capture a signature when making a credit card sale.

 

Advantages of 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors for Mobile POS Devices

Fourth generation Intel® Core™ processors provide the perfect balance of performance and battery life for Mobile POS devices of all sizes. With 25 percent lower design power versus the previous generation, 4th generation Intel Core processors enable developers to design thinner, lighter and sleeker form factors for mobile POS devices.

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of a fully integrated voltage regulator and new low-power processor states enables dramatic reductions on power consumption, yielding one of the biggest improvements in battery life compared to previous generations in Intel company history. Intel states battery life in an Ultrabook™ equipped with these processors is up to 10.3 hours when used in productivity tasks.

 

This processor family also includes Intel® Rapid Start Technology. This feature enables a device to wake up in just 3 seconds. Such fast startup is important when it comes time to complete a sale or show a customer information or other options.

 

Powerful Graphics That Help Make the Sale

One feature that helps ensure successful customer interactions on the sales floor is a mobile POS with excellent graphics capabilities. Whether an associate is showing a product review, a different model, or a video demonstrating the product in use, the better the graphics and video performance, the more likely customers will become engrossed by what they’re seeing on the screen. Here the latest Intel Core processors shine. New hardware-based media accelerators and added graphics execution units deliver stunning HD video  and 3D graphics performance, offering an even more engaging visual experience than previous Intel® microarchitectures (see Figure 1). In fact, Intel® HD Graphics, the highest volume graphics solution for PCs sold today, now offers 4K x 2K UltraHD 4KD display resolution support (3840 x 2160) for eye-popping visual clarity.


intel-haswellgraphics.jpg

Figure 1. The integrated graphics of 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors provide a dramatic boost in performance.

 

Secure Near Field Communication

One particular hardware-based technology that makes 4th generation Intel Core processors ideal for mobile POS applications is Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT) with Near Field Communication (NFC). NFC enables “Tap-and-Pay” sales—the latest payment trend. NFC-enabled mobile POS devices enable customers carrying NFC-enabled smartphones or smartcards (i.e., digital wallets) to complete secure transactions in an instant.

 

Intel IPT is a suite of four technologies—One Time Password, Protected Transaction Display, Embedded PKI, and NFC—that introduces a “Tap and Interact” function that makes interactions more secure by isolating the data received by NFC from the operating system. Keeping the transaction data from the operating system prevents many forms of malware from gaining access to a customer’s identity information. (I provide an in-depth look at the security and manageability features that these processors bring to retail in an earlier blog: “Enhancing Retail Security and Manageability with 4th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors.”)

 


Solutions from the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

An example of a tablet that’s ready to go as a mobile POS solution is the Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC (see Figure 2). Equipped with a 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor ULT dual-core platform with 15W TDP with Intel® vPro™ and Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), this unit can be ordered with a smart card reader and configured for NFC and bar code scanning. It’s designed for a battery life up to eight hours and features a swappable battery design so retailers can keep it on the floor as long as they’re open each day. The G1010 even has a sunlight-readable display for outdoor usage. For a developer looking to go to market fast, all this unit requires is the software.

 

Arbor G1010.jpg

Figure 2. Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC.

 

For developers looking to design their own mobile POS unit, Portwell offers the PCOM-B630VG Type IV COM Express module available with either 17W or 25W TDP (see Figure 3). A particular advantage of this board and similar ones is that since the PCI-Express slot is not needed for a graphics card, it’s open for other expansion options.

 

Portlwell PCOM-B630VG.jpg

Figure 3. Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express Module.

 

Many more board solutions for tablet and handheld form factors and designed for long battery life will be coming out soon as new, even lower voltage versions of 4th generation Intel Core processors reach board manufacturers. As every device in the modern store, from digital signage to interactive kiosk to electronic shelf display, gets more intelligent, mobile POS systems with rich graphics will continue to grow in importance as a way to market to customers and process sales at any location. Connected to the back office or cloud, these systems will help provide the data for real-time business intelligence to manage inventory, and track sales and profitability, as well as give store associates the latest information they need to close a sale.

 

Keep your eyes on this space. I’m sure that either I or one of my Roving Reporter colleagues will provide an update on new solutions for mobile POS products and POS trends in the near future.

 

 

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Solutions in this blog:

·        Arbor Technology G1010 Tablet PC

·        Portwell COM-B630VG

Related topics:

·        Retail - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Energy Efficiency - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

·        Security - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

 

Portwell is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Arbor Technology is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.

 

Mark Scantlebury

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine

After a lull in which economic crises and healthcare policy changes slowed medical imaging equipment sales, the picture is definitely brightening. Frost & Sullivan expects the global market to hit $30 billion USD by 2017, with much of the growth coming from emerging markets (source: 2013 Global Medical Imaging Equipment Market Outlook Report). All segments offer opportunities: Low-end modalities such as ultrasound are migrating into new form factors and applications, while high-end modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are increasingly being adopted in emerging markets.

 

Performance drives imaging innovation                                   

Parallel processing is key to medical imaging, and the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors and Intel® Xeon® processor E3 v3 deliver parallelism in spades. In addition to offering four cores with up to 15 percent faster performance than previous generations, these processors benefit from the Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0.

 

Intel® AVX2 provides an infrastructure and building blocks for meeting the escalating performance requirements of medical imaging applications through wider vectors, a new extensible syntax, and rich functionality. This upgraded vector-processing technology introduces a fused multiply-add (FMA3) that effectively doubles the peak floating point throughput in comparison to the previous generation. Multiply-add workloads are a critical component of image processing, so this upgrade will significantly benefit medical imaging applications. Intel AVX2 also expands most integer Intel AVX instructions from 128 bits to 256 bits, doubling fixed-point performance. And with gather support, Intel AVX2 now enables vector elements to be loaded from non-contiguous memory locations to simplify code vectorization.

AVX2.png

Intel® Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel® AVX) 2.0 doubles peak floating-point and fixed-point throughput.


The Intel Haswell micro-architecture also offers an upgraded graphics engine with a 60% 3D graphics improvement over previous generations. Enhanced high-resolution display capabilities support up to 4K resolution on three independent displays. What’s more, the new “collage display” mode can present multiple displays to the OS as a unified resolution. These features are all invaluable for display of high-resolution medical images, and they reduce the need for expensive and power-hungry discrete graphics cards.

 

Intel architecture (IA) offers scalability advantage

IA processors offer the performance, energy efficiency, and features for a wide range of modalities, from advanced CT, MRI, and molecular imaging scanners, to mammography, X-ray, and ultrasound. The new Haswell microarchitecture, as implemented in the 4th generation Intel Core and Intel Xeon processor E3 v3, delivers the superior image-processing performance and enhanced security for next-generation devices such as portable ultrasounds and dental radiography. At the other end of the spectrum, the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v2—based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture—offers exceptionally high performance along with energy efficiency for lower total cost of ownership for the most demanding imaging applications.

This scalability offers several important advantages. First, medical OEMs can scale their products to different price and performance points, and can quickly diversify into new markets. Second, the consistent architecture and toolsets speed and simplify development, letting OEMs focus on their application expertise instead of learning new hardware. Finally, the entire IA roadmap is now marching forward with a “tick-tock” cadence that is consistently delivering new levels of performance and power efficiency. This gives developers a clear upgrade path and helps them maintain software designs across product generations.

 

Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance products employ Intel AVX2 with Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors in form factors such as COM Express that are ideal for medical imaging applications 


Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express Module

The Portwell PCOM-B630VG COM Express module brings quad-core technology and significant performance improvements with the 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, while the Intel® QM87 integrated GMA graphics provides better performance and variable display interfaces for imaging-intensive applications. The module is designed to comply with both socket type and BGA type Intel® Core™ i7 processor for intensive computing, and the architecture of the module and carrier boards speeds time to market of tailor-made equipment. Features include the Intel Haswell Core i5/i7 BGA Type CPU, integrated memory controller that supports up to 32GB ECC DDR3-1333/1600, Intel® QM87 integrated GMA graphic, and support for 6GT/s SATA.

Portwell PCOM-B630VG.jpg

Intel Haswell-based Core i7/i5 CPU based Type VI COM Express module with ECC DDR3 SDRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA and USB from American Portwell.


Kontron COMe-bHL6 COM Express Module

By integrating the new Intel® AVX2 and OpenCL 1.2, Kontron’s new COM Express module provides an increase in floating-point performance as well as improved parallel processing capacities for medical imaging and other imaging-intensive applications. The new application-ready COMe-bHL6 offers increased performance density and up to twice the graphics performance compared to its predecessors. Up to three independent, daisy-chained displays with up to 4K resolution are supported to create stunning user experiences. The module is available in versions up to quad-core Intel® Core™ i7 processors with up to 4x 2.4 GHz and features comprehensive display support with 3x dual-mode DisplayPort++ which can also output HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort 1.2. Kontron also offers standardized migration support services to accelerate design-in for fast field deployment.

 

Kontron COMe-bHL6.jpg

Kontron COMe-bHL6 4th Generation Intel® Core i-Series COM Express™ with Intel® Core™ i7


Intel® System Studio supports medical imaging system innovation

On the development side, the IA platform is supported by a rich set of tools, libraries, and development kits that provide portable, optimized signal processing from Intel® Atom™ processors to Intel® Xeon® processors. One key example is the Intel® System Studio, an integrated software development suite that provides deep hardware and software insights to speed development, testing, and optimization of Intel-based embedded and mobile systems. For developers of advanced medical imaging systems, this support is critical to maximize processor performance.

Common aspects of medical imaging workloads include echo addition and cancellation, pattern recognition, noise reduction, anti-aliasing, compression, smoothing, morphing, correlation, and filtering. These types of workloads, which involve processing large amounts of changing data such as MRI images, benefit from the data parallelism and vector registers supported by AVX2, as well as language extensions in the Intel architecture that provide floating point capabilities for data manipulation, data swapping, and matrix multiplication—all required for signal and data processing. The Intel System Studio optimizes AVX code for signal and media processing to speed the data flow and significantly improve performance.

 

Kontron and Portwell are Premier members of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance.

 

Cheryl Coupé

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Freelance technology writer and editor

 

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Solutions in this blog:

 

 

Related topics:

•             Medical - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

•             Performance - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)

Proud to be on the CloudNFV™ team

Post image 1.pngNow that the details of the CloudNFV initiative have been announced, we’re proud to confirm that 6WIND is one of the founding members. When Tom Nolle, President of CIMI Corporation, first invited us to participate, we immediately saw the potential for this group of vendors to rapidly introduce a demonstration platform for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and thereby accelerate the deployment of NFV by service providers. We appreciate the opportunity to work with our CloudNFV partners to demonstrate how our technology solves critical data plane performance challenges in NFV.

 

In a quote that he provided for our press release, Tom stated that “The success of NFV or the virtualization of switches or routers using SDN is totally dependent on the data-path performance of the VMs used to host the functions. The performance of the data path can make or break the business case for any network-virtual applications. 6WIND is the industry leader in data path acceleration, and also the first vendor to step forward with an NFV mission statement. There's nobody with better credentials to optimize density and performance for CloudNFV.”

 

In this post, I’ll explain the key benefits that the 6WINDGate™ networking software, running on Intel® Architecture platforms, provides for the CloudNFV initiative.

Leveraging technology proven in physical infrastructure

6WIND is uniquely positioned to provide data plane solutions for CloudNFV because 6WINDGate is already widely used in physical networking equipment deployed in telecom infrastructure worldwide. Through high-performance packet processing, 6WINDGate enables service providers to maximize the number of subscribers supported per blade, in applications such as LTE Evolved Packet Core (EPC) equipment.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve extended our technology to incorporate solutions for networking performance bottlenecks associated with virtualization elements such as hypervisors and virtual switches, running on Intel® Architecture platforms, so that TEMs and service providers can now adopt our software, already proven in physical networking implementations, to maximize the performance of their Virtual Networking Functions (VNFs) in NFV deployments.

6WINDGate fits in two places within the CloudNFV ecosystem: first, it maximizes the switching performance of the virtual switch that provides high-bandwidth network traffic to the VNFs running in Virtual Machines (VMs), thereby increasing the aggregated bandwidth delivered to the VMs and, second, it accelerates the data plane performance of each VNF.

Data plane performance challenges in CloudNFV

At this point in the evolution of NFV, most vendors are working on aspects relating to network management and orchestration. This is also a key focus for CloudNFV and the approach is explained well in the white paper available on the website. This emphasis makes perfect sense given the extreme complexity of legacy telecom networks and the challenges of migrating these control-related systems to a completely new software-based architecture. And, of course, the concept of “Carrier Grade reliability” reflects the expectations that we all have for the constant availability of network services.

Additionally, though, there are fundamental data plane issues that must be addressed in order for any CloudNFV implementation to be cost-effective.

Post image 2.png

The first bottleneck is the software virtual switch (vSwitch) running on the server platform. This vSwitch must provide sustained, aggregated high-bandwidth network traffic to the Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). At the same time, the performance of (secure) VM-to-VM communications must be maximized.

Both these requirements are necessary to ensure that CloudNFV deployments are cost-effective when compared with traditional network infrastructure based on physical switches.

Unfortunately, standard virtual switches such as the open-source Open vSwitch (OVS) do not deliver adequate performance or scalability to address these needs.

The second bottleneck is the performance of the VNFs themselves. Service providers will need their VNFs to deliver cost-performance that is comparable to that achieved by equivalent physical implementations. Otherwise, their NFV deployments won’t be cost-effective and there will be no ROI justification for a transition to NFV.

VNF performance, though, is constrained by two factors. One is the poor performance and limited scalability of standard Operating System networking stacks. The other is the limitation on bandwidth for communication outside the VM that is imposed by standard hypervisors.

6WIND’s solutions

Within CloudNFV deployments, the 6WINDGate networking software addresses the two performance bottlenecks described above.

Post image 3.png

 

First, 6WINDGate accelerates the virtual switch that switches network traffic to the VMs in which the VNFs are instantiated.

When used to accelerate the standard Open vSwitch (OVS), 6WINDGate delivers a 10x improvement in switching performance. This typically results in at least a 3x improvement in the number of VMs that can be instantiated per blade (the VM density), with even greater improvements achieved when the VNFs require sustained high-bandwidth traffic.

As part of improving OVS performance, 6WINDGate also accelerates secure tunneling protocols such as IPsec, GRE, NVGRE, VLAN and VxLAN which are required OVS features for supporting high-bandwidth, secure VM-to-VM traffic.

Second, 6WINDGate accelerates the performance of VNFs. Thanks to its fast path data plane architecture, 6WINDGate typically delivers 10x the performance of the standard Linux networking stack, with no changes required to the Linux kernel. This performance scales linearly with the number of cores configured to run the fast path. 6WINDGate includes a comprehensive set of networking protocols, for example PPP (used in a virtual Broadband Access Server or “vBRAS”), firewall and IKE (used in security gateways) and TCP termination (used in WAN Optimization appliances).

As a result of optimizations for virtualized environments, 6WINDGate delivers comparable performance running under a hypervisor to that achieved when running in a physical implementation. This enables service providers to obtain best-in-class cost-performance from their VNFs, such as firewalls and security gateways.

In both these two CloudNFV use cases, 6WINDGate runs within the KVM hypervisor and Linux, under the control of OpenStack, on the Intel® Architecture-based Dell server that comprises the overall hardware deployment platform.

Open standards and compatibility with legacy software

When 6WINDGate is used to accelerate OVS (the first bottleneck described above), no changes are required to the standard OVS code itself. 6WINDGate intercepts packets that would normally be processed in the (slow) OVS data plane, processing them in the 6WINDGate data plane instead.

In the case of VNF acceleration (bottleneck #2), 6WINDGate is fully compatible with standard Linux networking APIs (Netfilter, Netlink etc.). This means that no modifications are required to the VNF applications themselves in order to take advantage of the performance improvement provided by 6WINDGate.

Finally, 6WINDGate is fully-compatible with the OpenFlow protocol used in many NFV architectures.

Next steps

As explained in the CloudNFV announcement, demonstrations will start with a series of public and open webinars beginning in late September and include live, in-person demos conducted at various industry events through the end of the year. We look forward to participating in these events. Hope to see you there!

smart grid.jpgComputers become far more useful once they’re networked—at which point they also become vulnerable. Despite firewalls and anti-virus software there’s hardly a PC that hasn’t been the recipient of a virus that tracks online browsing activities or sends spam to a contact list. PC viruses rarely bring down the computer, since the sender is more interested in quietly stealing the information on it or joining it to a botnet that sends out further spam and/or viruses.


The Smart Grid is essentially a large, high-voltage communications network, and as such it’s subject to hacking, just like any other network. Unlike PC viruses any attack on the grid would be disruptive and potentially catastrophic. This concern has been one of the driving forces behind the move to a decentralized, robust, secure Smart Grid.


The Smart Grid is still a work in progress, with much of the North American electrical grid still consisting of a wide range of proprietary components and protocols. They’re networked, but they were designed before cyber security became a major issue.


Get Smart


The Smart Grid is essentially a complex industrial control system (ICS), where some assets have long been part of the grid (SCADA, remote terminal units (RTUs), etc.) and others are new “smarter” assets (Advanced Metering Infrastructures (AMI), intelligent electrical devices (IEDs), smart meters, etc.). All of these are high value targets that can serve as entry points into the grid with the goal of taking over SCADA systems.


The cyber security issues are known as the “CIA triad”—Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability:


  • Confidentiality—Access to information is largely a privacy issue; it’s important to consumers but less so for network security.
  • Integrity—Protecting the integrity of control commands is imperative in order to maintain control of the grid. This equally true in a corporate environment.
  • Availability—Continuous availability of real-time data is critical to the operation of SCADA systems, though it’s less of an issue for corporate IT systems.


The security issues for the Smart Grid are the same as those in corporate IT systems but the priorities are different:

ICT security in smart grids.jpg

Figure 2: Security issues for the Smart Grid vs. corporate IT systems


Maintaining the availability of real-time data is the top priority for Smart Grid systems, followed closely by the ability to ensure and maintain data integrity.


The power grid—with all its diverse, interconnected devices—represents an extremely large attack surface. Hardening it must start with putting all its Internet-connected elements behind secure servers with layered hardware and software security features.


Better security starts with the servers. Dell's 12th Generation PowerEdge R720t a is Tier 1 class, Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) Level-3/ETSI certified, carrier-grade server running four 95W Intel® Xeon® E5-2600-series processors. The Dell server takes advantage of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework, which provides a consistent way to address the foundation capabilities of connectivity, manageability and security. Rich connectivity options provide the flexibility to merge into existing deployments or legacy environments. The platform provides security, manageability and data ingestion options in addition to lightweight application functionality at a basic level.


Hardware based security features can create a trusted execution environment that prevents malicious software from running. Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) integrates security features directly into the processor, chipset, and other platform components to enable running mission-critical applications in a safe partition in hardware-secured memory regions. By storing VPN security keys and other critical data in secured memory, Intel® TXT secures the communications links along the Smart Grid.


TXT table.jpg

Figure 3: Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT)


The Smart Grid relies on distributed intelligence, so the smaller computers reporting back to central SCADA servers must also be secure.


Congatec’s conga-TS87 COM Express Type 6 module is a compact, secure computing solution that can be distributed at various points along the grid. Based on the 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor the conga-TS87 includes a wide range of connectivity options including seven PCI Express Rev. 2.0 lanes, four 6 Gbps Serial ATA, 8x USB 2.0, and 4x USB 3.0. The boards can be equipped with a discrete Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that is capable of calculating efficient hash and RSA algorithms with key lengths up to 2,048 bits; the TPM also includes a real random number generator.


A Holistic Approach


Implementing cyber security on the Smart Grid is a multi-faceted problem that requires firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, event management, application whitelisting, network security design, system hardening, and security features embedded at the processor level. All of the security challenges are magnified when connecting legacy systems to new ones, which is the nature of today’s Smart Grid. Those issues can be alleviated by standardizing on a distributed computing architecture based on scalable Intel technologies that can enable the grid to be both smart and secure at the same time.

 

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Solutions in this blog:

 

Related topics:

 

Dell is a Premier member of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance. Congatec AG is an Associate Member of the Alliance.

 

John Donovan

Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Intelligent Systems Alliance

Editor/Publisher, Low-Power Design
Follow me on twitter: @jdonovan43

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