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Reality Check

March 2000

Industrial Computers

[Go Right To: Industrial Computers Round Up Listing]

As consumers, we put a great deal of emphasis on products and services that meet our immediate needs. In the Internet telephony space, we also tend to focus on end solutions, the offerings that allow us to take advantage of this growing technology. But we shouldn't forget that behind every innovative solution is its rugged base -- the core infrastructure that allows developers to build and deploy a marketable product.

For most Internet telephony solutions, that infrastructure begins with an industrial computer. These hearty, flexible, hardware skeletons are designed to offer the key elements of any good telephony product: Reliability, scalability, and durability. And while many industrial computers may look like large racks with some boards and power supplies tacked on, their simplicity is actually their intelligence. These systems are designed to maximize power efficiency and offer stability throughout an entire platform, from maintaining the proper temperature in the card cage to providing easy access to drives for hot swapping.

Choosing the proper industrial computer platform to meet your development and deployment needs requires some serious planning. Not only must you consider your startup hardware requirements, you should also have to plan for future additions and changes. Will your backplane of choice accommodate your expansion requirements? The products listed in this roundup are only a small sampling of the myriad configurations available from these industrial computer vendors. But the information here should illustrate the importance of a solid base architecture in rolling out any Internet telephony solution.
-- Laura Guevin

Industrial Computers

Axiom Technology, Inc. ICS Advent
General Micro Systems, Inc. California PC Products
Crystal Group Soltec Corp.
APPRO International, Inc. Trenton Technology, Inc.
Carlo Gavazzi, Inc. Interlogic Industries
Tri MAP International, Inc. Diversified Technology, Inc.
Force Computers Rackmaster Systems, Inc.
Motorola Computer Group SBS Technologies, Inc.
Teknor Applicom, Inc. RadiSys Corporation
Siliconrax-Sliger Ziatech Corporation
I-Bus, Inc. Analogic Corporation
Industrial CPU Systems, Inc. MiTAC Industrial Corporation
Arise Computer Technoland, Inc.

Axiom Technology, Inc.
16801 E. Gale Ave., Unit D
City of Industry, CA 91745

  • The AX6112 series can be configured in embedded and backplane versions for easy deployment of Web-based applications and server appliances. The series features a 19" rackmount design, as well as drive brackets to accommodate one 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy disk drive, a CD-ROM, and internal 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives.
  • Additional features include an 80W AT power supply, a front panel with a cooling fan, and a two-slot PCI/ISA riser card. The series also features an SBC8354 embedded board.

General Micro Systems, Inc.
8358 Maple Place
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

  • This multiprocessor VMEbus board offers two Intel Coppermine-256 Pentium III processors, with clock speeds of 450 MHz (733-MHz clock speeds are expected in this quarter). The system offers support for symmetric and real-time asymmetric multiprocessing, allowing both processors to work simultaneously on the same program.
  • The Atlas-V utilizes the Real-Time Asymmetric Multi Processing (RAMP) microkernel, which works with RTOSs like VxWorks to allow one master processor to coordinate the activities of many slave processors. Additional features include dual 10/100 Mbit/sec Ethernet interfaces, a 40 Mbps ultra-wide SCSI interface, and a 64-bit AGP graphics engine with four MB of RAM.

Crystal Group
850 Kacena Rd.
Hiawatha, IA 52233

  • Crystal's CS500 computer puts the emphasis on space efficiency, and as many as 32 units can fit into a standard 19" telco rack. This five-slot unit features ISA/PCI passive backplanes, and may be configured for two ISA slots, two PCI, and one CPU; four ISA and one CPU; one ISA, three PCI, and one CPU; and three ISA, one PCI, and one CPU.
  • The computer features a choice of three power supplies, and offers optional processing power from a Pentium 133 MHz to a dual Pentium II 450. It has capacity for one 3.5" drive and two 3.5" internal hard drive bays, and includes two cooling fans. Other features include an alarm, and a convenient pre-punched rear for connecting one PS/2 mouse or keyboard, one serial cable, and one parallel cable.

2U FlexATX
APPRO International, Inc.
446 South Abbott Ave.
Milpitas, CA 95035

  • As an addition to its Slim Line of chassis, APPRO recently introduced the 2U FlexATX and the 2UFlexATX+. Designed for the Flex ATX or micro ATX motherboards, the chassis offer a 2U design with flexibility for integration and scalability. All APPRO 2U chassis drive configurations are also supported by the FlexATX.
  • Features of the Slim Line series 2U ATX models include one floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, and two internal hard drives. The Slim Line models also feature two full length expansion slots and a slide-out motherboard for easy installation and modification.

599 Series Development System
Carlo Gavazzi, Inc.
Electronic Packaging
10 Mupac Dr.
Brockton, MA 02401

  • This rackmount, 9U high system from Carlo Gavazzi offers a 250W power supply and a five-slot, 6U standard CPCI card cage with removable 3U divider sections for slots three through five. The series also features rear mounting for 80-mm transition boards in slots one and two.
  • The 599 Series has room for one 3.5" floppy drive, a 5.25" hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive on the left side of the card cage. It also features a 90 CFM cooling fan, and a removable load resistor installed on the spare drive connector, for regulating the power supply with a light load.

RM6U Series
Tri MAP International, Inc.
4569-A Las Positas Rd.
Livermore, CA 94550

  • Tri MAP's RM6U series features a 6U 10.5" high chassis with a choice of an eight-, 14-, or 20-slot passive backplane, or an ATX slot passive backplane. The series offers an option for a hot-swappable power supply, as well as four to eight filtered cooling fans. A front removable, washable filter is featured, and fans circulate positive pressure filtered air.
  • Additional features include space for up to 12 front accessible drives, and all controls and drives are protected behind a locking door. Vibration clamped boards are also featured, and custom design and finish options are available for the series. The RM6U is also available as a system enclosure, without power supplies or boards.

Centellis CO 88520
Force Computers
5799 Fontanoso Way
San Jose, CA 95138-1015

  • This carrier-grade, UltraSPARC-based server comes in a NEBS-compliant CPCI chassis. The system is designed to deliver the five-nines of availability, and offers hot-swappable components, dual nodes for cluster failure, and N+1 redundant components.
  • The Centellis features dual 333 MHz UltraSPARC IIi processors, one MB of L2 cache, and up to one GB of ECC protected EDO RAM per node. It also offers six user I/O slots per node, and room for up to six 3.5" ultra2 SCSI hard drives, and two 5.25" ultra2 SCSI devices -- integrated in a 15U rackmount chassis.

Motorola Computer Group
2900 South Diablo Way
Tempe, AZ 85282

  • As an upgrade to its successful CPX2208 series, Motorola has released the CPX2408 series of CompactPCI (CPCI) systems for Windows NT-based applications. The series offers dual AC or DC power supplies and system alarm boards for implementing Internet telephony, PBX, voice processing, and other telephony applications.
  • The systems use Motorola's CPV 5300 Pentium II single-board computer, which offers 266 MHz of processing power and 64 MB of DRAM. They offer eight slots with front or rear I/O capability, as well as a four GB enhanced integrated device electronics (EIDE) hard drive. The series also offers five peripheral bays, a rear transition module, EIDE CD-ROM, and a 3.5" floppy drive.

Teknor Applicom, Inc.
616 Cure-Boivin
Boisbriand, QC Canada J7G 2A7

  • This PICMG-compliant system comes with the Intel Celeron processor for up to 433 MHz of processing power, the Intel 440BX AGP chipset, and up to 768 MB of SDRAM. The system also features a high-availability hot-swap controller with a PCI-to-PCI bridge, and PMC, USB, parallel, and serial ports.
  • Other features of the cPCI-CXS include two 10/100 Base-TX Ethernet controllers and one AGP video controller. The unit is compatible with Teknor's 6U CPCI family of system processors, and may be used with all standard Teknor mezzanine cards for expanding interface capabilities from seven to 14 I/O slots.

SR-CX 264
1202 Apollo Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

  • The 2U high server solution can accommodate scalable, passive backplanes with a combination of six slots of PCI or ISA. The rack can fit a redundant, hot-swappable 300W power supply, and can also fit a second power supply in the rear of the 2U enclosure.
  • Each unit of the chassis can fit into a six-foot-high rackmount cabinet, which has a slide-in-lock top cover for easy scalability. The solution also features an FDD, a CD-ROM, and two 1" hard disk drives. An additional feature is N+1 load sharing for the dual power supply configuration, for increased redundancy.

I-Bus, Inc.
9275 Sky Park Court
San Diego CA 92109

  • This 6U high, rackmount system enclosure can support one or two 400W AC power supplies, or two hot-swappable 400W AC supplies. It provides four front accessible cooling fans, and a shock-mounted drive bay for support of four 5.25" and two 3.5" drives, all secured behind a locking drive door.
  • The system can also support four removable drives, and a variety of ISA and PCI/ISA backplane configurations. Other features include six LEDs, two power switches and two reset buttons on the front control panel, and support for up to four separate systems in a single enclosure. 

Industrial CPU Systems, Inc.
111-D W. Dyer Rd.
Santa Ana, CA 92707

  • This rackmount communication server is customizable for developing data network and central office applications in a Windows NT 4.0 environment. The CS2760 features a choice of Pentium II and III processors, as well as an E1/T1 interface, a 10/100 Base-T interface, an embedded flat panel display, and an ultra-wide SCSI II controller.
  • The system also features dual, hot-swap power supplies, mirrored hot-swap drives, and an advanced system monitoring unit for checking internal and CPU temperatures, power supply output voltages, and fan speeds. It offers as many as six spare PCI or eight ISA slots, as well as 512 MB of SDRAM and a dual fan cooling system. It is housed in a 19" rackmount chassis. 

PowerPAK4000 Series
Arise Computer
453 Ravendale Dr., #F
Mountain View, CA 94043

  • This versatile series can be configured for an ATX motherboard, or up to 20 full-length ISA or PCI backplane expansion card slots. Bundled in a 19" 4U rackmount chassis, the series offers a single power supply or two hot-swappable, redundant power supplies. Three removable cooling fans are also featured, for cooling the card cage and drive bay.
  • A convenient, removable drive bay has room for three 5.25" disk drives, and three 3.5" drives. Other features include an alarm/monitoring board for checking temperature, CPU fans, power output, and chassis fans.

ICS Advent
6260 Sequence Dr.
San Diego, CA 92121

  • This rugged, rackmount system comes standard with three 5.25" front accessible drive bays, and one 3.5" internal drive bay, all protected by a lockable front door. The unit also comes with a 260W ATX 2.01 power supply, as well as high-powered cooling fans.
  • Other features include an eight or 32 MB AGP video card and AGP graphics adapter, floppy and CD-ROM drives, as well as the customer's choice of hard drive, and Windows 98 (second edition) or Windows NT 4.0. A minimum of 64 MB of RAM and a standard 10/100 Ethernet interface are also included.

MegaPlex II Rack Chassis
California PC Products
205 Apollo Way
Hollister, CA 95023

  • This 7" high all steel construction, heavy duty chassis from California PC Products is designed specifically to accommodate the American Megatrend MegaPlex II motherboard. The unit features one 5.25" drive bay, as well as two 3.5" bays. All drive bays and the control panel are secured behind a lockable Plexiglas door.
  • The chassis also features three removable, internal 3.5" hard drive bays, and a front accessible, 900W, triple, redundant, hot-swappable power supply system. Four high-output cooling fans are also included, with an option for two additional fans.

Soltec Corp.
12977 Arroyo St.
San Fernando, CA 91340

  • The cPCI-8080 from Soltec is a compact, high-performance, eight-slot chassis. The 3U high chassis offers forced-air cooling throughout each of its CPCI slots, and provides reliable operation in humid, noisy, or shock-prone environments. It can also withstand vibration.
  • The system features an easily removable 250W power supply, as well as EMC sealing springs. Other features include compliance with the CPCI standard, as well as compliance with the PICMG 2.0 and 2.1 standards.

Trenton Technology, Inc.
2350 Centennial Dr.
Gainesville, GA 30504

  • Trenton's CBI computer offers a choice of a Pentium III or Celeron processor, as well as Intel's 10/100 Base-T 82559 Ethernet interface. All systems come with the 440BX AGPset, on-board Intel video, and the 69000 SVGA AGP interface, also from Intel.
  • Additional features include two MB of display memory for full-screen, full-motion video, dual PCI EIDE, a floppy interface, and an ultra-wide SCSI. The model also features two serial ports, a parallel port, a PS/2 mouse, and a system monitor for checking voltages, temperature, and fan speeds.

RK1220 Series
Interlogic Industries
85 Marcus Dr.
Melville, NY 11747

  • A rugged, all-steel PC/AT compatible chassis series, the RK1220 offers a 20-slot ISA or a 19-slot ISA/PCI passive backplane for simplifying maintenance and system upgrades. The system has room for six 3.5" half-height plug-in removable drives, or six 5.25" full-height drives and three 3.5" drives.
  • Features include four cooling fans with easy-access filters, and internal power and ground plane layers in the backplane. The backplane may also be segmented to offer two or more computer systems with individual CPU and support cards, in ISA or ISA/PCI combinations.

Diversified Technology, Inc.
476 Highland Colony Pkwy.
Ridgeland, MS 39157

  • This industrial CPCI platform features a 20-slot card cage with 16 6U expansion slots, designed to be mounted in a 19" rackmount chassis. Three to seven power supplies may be used with the system to provide 300 to 900W with N+I redundancy. The standard drive configuration supports a floppy drive, one IDE CD-ROM drive, and offers two slots for either two carriers with half-height IDE or SCSI devices, or three carriers with SCA SCSI devices. Four power supply module slots can also support SCA SCSI devices.
  • The FTC620 provides several 6U CPCI processor cards with interfaces for 10/100 Ethernet, EIDE, ultra-wide SCSI, video, parallel, floppy, and serial ports. The platform also features a cooling subsystem, and fans are mounted in a hot-swappable tray. The subsystem offers optional air plenums to force intake from the front and exhaust from the rear.

Eclipse FRS
Rackmaster Systems, Inc.
10640 Lyndale Ave. South
Bloomington, MN 55420

  • The Eclipse FRS fault tolerant enclosure is designed to meet the high power needs of Sun's SPARCengine Ultra Axmp quad processor motherboard. It comes standard with three hot-swappable 400W power supplies, and an audible alarm system, in case of power failure. The system also features three cooling fans for the 6U rackmount chassis, as well as one for each power supply.
  • Unique features include nine half-height, vertical mount 5.25" drive bays on the front side of the chassis, two horizontal mount 5.25" half-height bays, and two horizontal mount 3.5" bays. Eight of the drive bays have a locking door option, and the system also includes optional hot-swappable drive canisters which allow the addition of up to 182 GB of fault-tolerant RAID storage for each enclosure.

SBS Technologies, Inc.
5791 Van Allen Way
Carlsbad, CA 92008

  • This rackmount, fault resilient system is part of the PRO Reliant Series from SBS. Featuring dual, hot-swappable 400W AC power supplies, the FTU-300 offers a 19-slot PCI/ISA passive backplane, and up to 24 3.5" drive bays on a sliding, removable platform. Backplanes may be configured for up to 16 PCI slots, 20 slots of ISA, or 19 slots of power-segmented PCI and ISA.
  • The system offers system alarm monitoring, and positive pressure, filtered cooling through eight ball-bearing fans. Three main fans are hot swappable, and filter air across the card cage, while three additional fans filter air across the drive bay tray. Two more fans in the power supplies offer added airflow.

RadiSys Corporation
5445 NE Dawson Creek Dr.
Hillsboro, OR 97124

  • This rackmount, 4U chassis provides up to 14 expansion slots, as well as two 93-CFM dual-speed fans. Backplane options include a 14-slot ISA configuration, or a two CPU/11 PCI (for 13 total slots) setup. The chassis offers two 5.25" and one 3.5" front accessible drive bays, as well as two 3.5" and two 2.5" internal drive bays.
  • The system features a battery-backed alarm control unit for monitoring voltage, single board computer operation, battery health, temperature, fan failure, host PC link status, and circuit breaker status. Remote alarm management is enabled through ASCII messages, and the unit also supports programmable messages with remote reset and notification abilities.

ZT 5210
Ziatech Corporation
1050 Southwood Dr.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

  • This 6U platform comes with a 14-slot backplane, in a 19" Eurorack-compliant rackmount format. It offers a combination of 6U card slots for peripherals and CPUs, and 3U locations for hot swapping load-sharing power supplies. One slot is dedicated to the system CPU, and 13 slots are open for CPCI peripheral boards with H.100 TDM bus connections.
  • An additional slot is dedicated to a system utility board for IDE or floppy drive support, and another slot supports a system alarm board for monitoring operations. The platform also features rear panel I/O connectors for standard plug-in transition modules, and supports the PICMG 2.5 specification, implementing the H.110 bus standard.

Analogic Corporation
8 Centennial Dr.
Peabody, MA 01960

  • This CPCI chassis is designed to help OEM customers design and implement their data acquisition and signal processing systems. The 4U 19" rackmount system offers a 230W universal power supply, an eight-slot 3U backplane and card cage, an EIDE hard disk drive, a floppy drive, and an optional CD-ROM drive.
  • Another feature included is a 3.2 GB ultra DMA. The system can also custom configure Analogic's 14- to 16-bit, 200 KHz to 10 MHz CPCI data acquisition boards, and 40 MHz dual SHARC DSP boards. Accessories supported include a CPCI 3U Intel 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor board, an SVGA graphics controller board, and the Windows NT OS.

MiTAC Industrial Corporation
42001 Christy St.
Fremont, CA 94538

  • This 19" high rackmount chassis series from MiTAC offers an ATX or micro ATX-compatible motherboard base plate, and can fit eight disk drives. The unit can accommodate one 5.25" and one half-height 3.5" drive from the front, as well as six internal half-height 3.5" drives.
  • Other features include a 300W power supply and an optional 400W supply, and high-speed CFM fans for even cooling. The system uses washable, easily cleaned dust filters as well. The chassis also includes power and reset switches, and PS/2 KB/mouse, VGA, USB, LAN, 1 COM, and printer ports are available on the rear panel of the unit.

Technoland, Inc.
1050 Stewart Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

  • This six-slot backplane is ideal as a firewall, compact server, or control server. The system features one CPU slot, and two PCI and three ISA slots. The unit has room for one 5.25" and one 3.5" open drive bay, as well as two internal 3.5" bays and an optional 3.5" bay.
  • Features include a 19" rackmount enclosure and a detachable card cage design for simple installation and maintenance. The unit provides an easy top cover release, as well as a lockable front door for security and dust-proof integrity. The power supply is a field-replaceable 250W PS/2, and the system also includes two ball-bearing cooling fans.

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