Originally developed for the telecommunication industry, MTCA and ATCA standards have been selected as platform for the modular electronics for the upgrade of the LHC experiments at CERN. The ATLAS and CMS experiments are developing xTCA based off-detector electronics (for trigger and data-acquisition applications). In this framework, the CERN PH-ESE group launched in 2011 the xTCA evaluation project whose aim is to perform technical evaluation of equipment and to provide support for selected components across experiments.
The MTCA and ATCA standards, defined by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturer Group (PICMG), outline a modular architecture by describing physical, electrical and functional specification. They offer a wide range of hardware management features to monitor (temperatures, voltages, current, etc.) and control (fan speed, power management, etc.) the system as well as ensure proper operation (modules compatibility, current requirement, e-keying, etc.). These actions are performed by specific controller modules which are interconnected via an Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) bus: Module Management Controller (MMC) for AMCs, Intelligent Platform Management Controller (IPMC) for ATCA boards, Carrier IPMC for ATCA carrier as well as Shelf Manager for ATCA shelves and MicroTCA Carrier Hubs. In the frame of the CERN xTCA evaluation project, an MMC has been adopted from other developments in the community, improved and is now supported. On the ATCA front, a commercial carrier IPMC solution from Pigeon Point is being evaluated. The IPMC solution offers features required by the ATCA standard such as ATCA and AMC management, power management, sensor monitoring and standardized remote upgrade capability (HPM.1, HPM.2 and HPM.3). These features have all been tested successfully using a starter kit. In parallel, an adapter card has been designed to understand the level of flexibility the commercial IPMC solution offers when implemented on an existing ATCA board design with specific IPMC form factor (VLP DIMM-DDR3). This paper presents the IPMC functionality evaluation results, the design of the IPMC adapter card as well as the outcome of the commercial IPMC mezzanine adaptation to an existing ATCA carrier blade.