There are significant advances in communication protocols happening all around us. The Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) Gen 5 standard is delivering the needed device-to-device performance to support artificial intelligence and machine learning applications as well as cloud-based workloads. The rapidly evolving Compute Express Link (CXL) standard is delivering CPU-to-device and CPU-to-memory communication to enable next-generation data center performance. Both are critical enablers for next generation systems and require support in the form of semiconductor IP to be deployed. PLDA has made recent announcements regarding significant milestones for both PCIe and CXL, which is not a common occurrence. I wanted to look a bit closer at both of these announcements to see how PLDA is at the leading edge with advances in both PCIe 5.0 and CXL.
A few months ago, I posted a piece about PLDA expanding its support for two emerging protocol standards: CXL™ and Gen-Z™. The Compute Express Link (CXL) specification defines a set of three protocols that run on top of the PCIe PHY layer. The current revision of the CXL (2.0) specification runs with the PCIe 5.0 PHY layer at a maximum link rate of 32GT/s per lane. There are a lot of parts to this specification and multiple implementation options, so a comprehensive support package will significantly help adoption. This is why PLDA brings flexible support for compute express link (CXL) to SoC and FPGA designers.
The three previously mentioned protocols that make up CXL are:
We recently published a Webinar about the benefits of CXL to reduce latency. After exploring the following topics:
PLDA’s INSPECTOR diagnostic and debug tool for PCIe 4.0 that successfully passed the PCIe 4.0 PCI-SIG compliance has two new major features:
- Analog monitoring: The Inspector V2.2 allows now to measure in live the DUT power consumption (3.3V / 12V) and the Inspector temperature. These indications are displayed using dynamic and easily readable charts. This can help SDDs vendors to quickly characterize the impact of PCI-Express low power modes or high throughputs for example.
Modern enterprise workloads in AI and data analytics are driving the need for new compute and storage architectures in IT infrastructures. The growing use of accelerators (GPUs, FPGAs, custom ASICs) and emerging memory technologies (3D XPoint, Storage Class Memory, Persistent Memory), and the need to better distribute and utilize these resources are fueling the transition to composable/disaggregated infrastructures (CDI) in data centers.
Over the last 3 years, a number of protocol standards have emerged, aiming to address the growing demand for higher data throughput and more efficient data movement. While CCIX, Gen-Z, and OpenCAPI are relative newcomers, PCIe has been around for almost 2 decades. With the imminent release of version 5.0 of the PCIe Specification, SoC designers have a variety of options for supporting bandwidths in excess of 400 Gbit/s while improving overall communication efficiency.
In this article, we look into the various protocols by providing a brief history, a quick technical comparison, and the latest deployment status. We also offer our perspective on the evolution of these protocols.
Bulletproofing PCIe-based SoCs with Advanced Reliability, Availability, Serviceability (RAS) Mechanisms
As silicon manufacturing process nodes keep shrinking and transistors get smaller, System-on-Chip (SoC) are increasingly subject to failures due to changing external conditions such as temperature, EMI, power surges, Hot Plug events, etc.
The transition to PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 with increasing PCIe signaling speeds (16GT/s and 32GT/s) also augments the risk of errors due to tightening timing budgets inside the SoC and electrical issues outside the SoC (e.g. crosstalk, line attenuation, jitter, etc.).
Computer systems as we know them have been built on the paradigm that the CPU-memory pair is fast while network and storage are slow. Over the years, these components developed their own language and interfaces that require layers of software to translate memory commands into network and storage commands and vice versa.
Until now, the speed of the CPU-memory pair relative to network and storage I/O was such that these software layers had minimal impact on system performance.
However, with Moore’s law in full effect, network and storage technologies are quickly catching up with CPU-memory speeds and the burden of generations of software layers now becomes significant.
PLDA Further Strengthen Partner Ecosystem, Unveils Comprehensive PCIe PHY and Controller integrated Solutions
PLDA’s strong Ecosystem and stringent 4-step integration process delivers pre-integrated and well-tested PCIe Controller and PHY solutions, solving many of the challenges and concerns faced by SoC designers
The race to launch devices supporting PCIe 4.0 started several months back. Designers face several challenges to release the product on D-Day: