SOSA Technical Standard Will Benefit Systems of all Kinds

February 05, 2021

SOSA Technical Standard Will Benefit Systems of all Kinds

Published in Military Embedded Systems
Written by Andrew McCoubrey

The standards currently being defined by the Sensor Open Systems Architecture (SOSA) Consortium will deliver many clear benefits to system integrators designing embedded sensor-processing systems. The SOSA Technical Standard will define common pinouts that foster and ease interoperability.

Greater system flexibility will come from the ability to place a variety of module types into the same system slot, while convergence on common interconnect technologies (such as backplane Ethernet) will ease the integration of modular systems.

Integrators will benefit from having a greater choice – even if only some of the cards in the chassis are aligned to the SOSA Technical Standard. Systems that require specialized cards not defined in the SOSA Technical Standard (SOSA Snapshot 3 is currently available to the public at can use those products alongside SOSA cards, thereby benefiting from the economic and technical benefits of standardization on the slots that are aligned to the standard.

The benefits of the SOSA Technical Standard go far beyond its standardized pinout. The reliability of systems deployed in harsh conditions will be improved by its use of the ANSI/VITA 47 standard, which defines requirements for environments, design and construction, safety, and quality.

The SOSA Technical Standard also provides a novel approach to serial console ports (using 3.3 V rather than RS-232 levels), making it easier to multiplex ports from several cards onto a single physical interface outside the box. This standard also standardizes functionality required from Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). While IPMI has long be used to provide basic monitoring of card temperatures, voltages, and various vendor-specific readings, SOSA requires support for VITA 46.11 with HOST Tier 2 extensions to ensure all cards provide a consistent set of sensor monitoring and management commands.

What the SOSA Technical Standard isn’t, though, is a panacea. System integrators will still need to ensure that vendors provide more than just compliance against the technical specification. While the standard will help drive interoperability and commonality, modular products are not becoming a commodity.

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What is the SOSA Technical Standard?

The SOSA Technical Standard defines a common framework for transitioning sensor systems to an open systems architecture. The SOSA standard leverages OpenVPX to define card profiles with specifications for features such as pinouts, Ethernet capabilities, and serial ports.


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