Upgrades to the GSI Data Acquisition System MBS
H. G. Essel, N. Kurz, W. Ott
Current Status The following changes were introduced with LynxOS 2.5:
Several new MBS systems have been installed at GSI and at • The firmware on all processors has been replaced. It supports
closely related experiments in research laboratories such as now SCSI CDROM drives, booting included.
Crakov, Nikosia, TU Darmstadt, LBL Berkeley, TU Munich • Due to new utilities to create ROMable kernels for the 68K
and Catania. For the therapy project at GSI an autonomous NFS and RIO2 platforms, the network booting environment has been
and boot server for LynxOS has been installed on a dedicated completely rebuilt.
machine under AIX including a copy of the MBS software. In • The existing VME and CAMAC trigger module driver for the
total more than 50 MBS systems are now in operation world- 68K systems has been adapted. A new VME trigger module
wide. For the year 1998, 12 new MBS installations are planned driver for the RIO2, which utilizes a different interrupt structure
already now. than the 68K processors, has been developed.
• The high level SCSI tape driver for the 68K systems has been
Evaluation of new VME Based Processor Boards adapted and ported to the RIO2. The design of this driver al-
The announced end of production of the VME processor board
lows the operation of different types of tape drives in the MBS
Eurocom 7 (Eltec) intensified our search for an appropriate
with the same user interface. Tested drives are: DLT 2000, DLT
replacement. Considerations about performance, availability of
4000, DLT 7000, DAT DDS-2, EXABYTE 850X and streamer
the VSB subsystem, price and the availability of the LynxOS
real time operating system led to the decision to investigate the
latest PowerPC based boards from Motorola (MVME 2600),
Cetia (VMTR2) and CES (RIO2). The MBS system has been ported to the new RIO2 board and
• The Motorola board showed significant low performance for upgraded on the other platforms for LynxOS 2.5. To integrate
singe cycle VME access (A32D32). No driver or function li- the RIO2 with its RISC PowerPC processor, the MBS file sys-
brary for faster block transfer is available. It offers an I/O inter- tem has been expanded substantially. It is now prepared to
face, which does not fit into the VME crates used at GSI. incorporate any processor architecture supported by LynxOS
• The Cetia board investigated was equipped with an old, less into the MBS. The compiler/linker system has been upgraded to
powerful version of the PowerPC processor, even the latest GNU 2.7-96Q1. With this upgrade the latest POSIX release
version with a faster processor is equipped with the same per- (real-time, threads) has become the default environment. The
formance limiting VME interface chip as the Motorola board. necessary changes in the MBS source code have been done, still
• The RIO2 has a better performing VME chip set showing the based on the old POSIX version. The MBS was successfully
best VME (single cycle) performance. In addition, it is the only rebuilt and runs now on all platforms under LynxOS 2.5 (2.4).
one offering a VME block mover which provides a nearly 20 The first RIO2 based production system will be installed at GSI
Mb/s data rate (see Table 1). in February 1998.
• Performance measurements related to real-time requirements
such as semaphores and yield functions gave identical results Performance Measurements
for the MVME 2600 and the RIO2. For processor memory Performance measurements show that the RIO2 is an adequate
access the RIO2 was significantly faster (read 35 Mb/s). replacement of the E7.
• A PMC based VSB interface was usable only with the RIO2.
Finally, we selected the RIO2 from CES, equipped with a 604e Eurocom 7 RIO2
200MHz PowerPC processor and a PMC VSB interface card. Mb/s ev/s Mb/s ev/s
Two complete systems have been purchased. Showing the best VME (A32D32) single cycle read 7.6 5.4
performance of the three candidates the RIO2 is for pro- VME (A32D32) block move 1Kb 19.0 19.0
grammed VME transfer still slower than the E7. Local memory read 20.0 35.0
MBS 4b data, 1 CPU 15000 54000
LynxOS Upgrade MBS 1Kb data, 2 CPUs 2.0 2.8
The RIO2 (CES) PowerPC processor board running LynxOS
2.4 has been integrated into the LynxOS system environment at Table 1: Results of Performance Measurements
GSI. All supported 68K processor platforms (CVC, E6, E7)
have been upgraded from LynxOS 2.2 to 2.5. We verified that It offers a much higher computing power than the E7. The
E7 boards (2.5) and RIO2 boards (2.4) can operate together measurements with the MBS shown in Table 1 have been done
without problems, i.e. in “mixed“ MBS systems. in polling mode without tape using a test readout function. The
setup with two CPUs included a dual ported VME/VSB mem-
ory written via VME and read via VSB.
The limiting factor is for for small events the CPU speed and
for large events the VME/VSB data transfer rate. Therefore,
faster bus systems are needed to improve the performance and
to benefit fully from the faster processors.
New Bus Systems
We will investigate high bandwidth bus systems (50-100Mb/s),
coupling RIO2 boards via their PMC interfaces over distances
up to 200 m. A block device driver for the RIO2 VSB interface
will be available soon. This will improve the data throughput
for a system running with two or more RIO2 processors. The
VME boards equipped with a DSP processor and two GTB
buses developed for the therapy control system could also de-
liver high data rates (20 Mb/s) between detector front end sys-
tems and VME crates. In special cases the DSP links could also
be used for fast data transfer.
A prototype of a new optional graphical user interface to MBS
has been designed and implemented using IDL V5.0 from Re-
search Systems, Inc. It runs on OpenVMS and Unix. A remote
MBS system can be completely controlled through the GUI by
using the socket command input option of the MBS. MBS mes-
sages are routed to a local message server and appear in a sepa-
Currently the GUI cannot be dynamically updated from MBS.
For this purpose another component has to be developed: a
status server/client system displaying status information of all
MBS CPUs in one window and updating the GUI database. We
plan to implement the final version either in Java or tcl/tk.
Figure 1 gives an impression of the current layout. MBS setup
files and startup scripts must be provided on the Lynx side as
before. No additional files are necessary for the GUI.
Figure 1: Prototype Menus for MBS.
With the support of new hardware and the latest LynxOS ver-
sion the MBS has been established as a standard data acquisi-
tion system. It is widely accepted also outside GSI.
http://www-gsi-vms.gsi.de / daq / home