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Agilent Technologies’ PCI Express 2.0 Test Platform Now Supports I/O Virtualization, Dynamic Link Width Configuration


Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced new software capabilities for its E2960B Series protocol analyzer and LTSSM exerciser solution. The software package supports the PCI-SIG Single-Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) and Multi-Root I/O virtualization (MR-IOV) specifications and builds on the PCI Express(r) (PCIe(r)) protocol stack, which makes it possible to run multiple systems’ images on a common hardware platform.

The software package reduces the complexity of test and debug, enabling the leaders of PCIe technology to deliver new products to the market faster.

“The PCI-SIG SR-IOV and MR-IOV specifications provide a standardized way of addressing the growth of virtualization requirements, and ensure higher performance I/O for virtualized systems,” said Al Yanes, PCI-SIG president and chairman. “We are pleased to see Agilent’s continued support in developing test tools that expedite the industry adoption of these new features in PCIe 2.0.”

There are multiple drivers for adopting the PCI-SIG IOV specifications, including increased processing capabilities that double the performance with hardware-based virtualization support. Power saving in data centers and data-center devices is also becoming more important, which is driving the adoption of dynamic link width configuration in the PCIe 2.0 specifications.

From a business perspective, cost-reduction and optimization are paramount. Agilent’s new software for its E2960B Series protocol analyzer and LTSSM exerciser solution meets this need. It reduces the overall purchasing-cost per server by using virtual servers and shared hardware. It also reduces the total cost of ownership of a data-center by minimizing power and optimizing cooling costs. This capability allows devices to dynamically train down the link width for periods of low traffic to save power, and train up the link width in periods of high utilization.

For dynamic link width configuration, Agilent has added new tests in its LTSSM tester and exerciser to validate the ability of the device to react to requests to train up or to train down. Both these new technologies are supported in Agilent’s protocol analyzer for PCIe with this new software release. This new software package provides an easy-to-understand view of the data, and allows developers faster time to insight and better productivity.

“Agilent’s protocol analyzer plays an important part in our test strategy for our ioGateway virtualization products,” said Stephen Rousset, director of Systems Engineering from NextIO Inc. “Key features for us include specialized decodes for Multi-Root TLPs and DLLPs, also split traces, where each trace shows a single virtual hierarchy. These capabilities help us quickly identify hard-to-find errors, and speed up our development efforts.”

Agilent’s E2960B Series protocol analyzer and LTSSM/exerciser solution is one of the leading development tools for PCIe 2.0. Benefits of Agilent’s PCIe tools include a versatile form factor, wide range of probing options, and a flexible and powerful user interface, with key analysis capabilities, now including PCI-SIG IOV and dynamic link tracking analysis capabilities.


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