Tektronix Announces TekExpress SATA Automated Compliance Test Suite

Tektronix, Inc., a leading, worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, announced the new TekExpress(tm) compliance test automation framework and new TekExpress SATA automated compliance test software. Running on the TekExpress framework, TekExpress SATA leverages the approved suite of Tektronix serial data performance instruments to automate 100% of the required SATA Gen-1 and SATA Gen-2 compliance tests for receivers, transmitters, and interconnects. The TekExpress compliance automation framework has been developed for automated one-button testing of high speed serial data standards. The TekExpress framework is built on top of TestStand from National Instruments that serves as the sequence control engine.

Controlled from a Windows XP PC, TekExpress SATA efficiently executes the 153 SATA Gen-2 tests required by the Methods of Implementation (MOI) certified by the SATA-IO working group. TekExpress SATA software orchestrates the instrument setup and control sequences to provide complete certification test results for all four SATA-IO approved MOIs in under 3 hours of total elapsed test time. This represents a reduction in compliance test time of approximately 70%, saving designers valuable time on SATA design verification cycles. Detailed information about TekExpress SATA can be found at: www.tektronix.com/sata.

Second generation serial data bus architectures including SATA Gen-2 provide an order of magnitude greater data throughput than possible only a few years ago. The accelerating performance of data rates is making design efforts even more challenging and adds design complexity that can hinder time to market and increase development cost. Consequently, engineers need powerful test equipment and software capable of greater performance, more extensive analysis, and improved efficiency. The new TekExpress SATA automated compliance test package from Tektronix provides unattended compliance testing for SATA Gen-1 and SATA Gen-2 that helps customers to streamline test operations and assists them with bringing new products to market quickly.

“There are over a hundred tests that need to be performed by test engineers to achieve SATA Gen-2 compliance,” said Lynne Camp, Vice President, Performance Plus Instruments, Tektronix. “The combination of growing test complexity, multiple instruments, and the need for measurement efficiency and speed are significant challenges for our customers. Customers have asked Tektronix for a simple, complete, and efficient SATA II automated compliance test suite. TekExpress SATA addresses these customer requirements.”

The compliance test modules for TekExpress SATA are divided into those for “Hosts/Devices” and for “Cables.” There are six modules required for the former and one for the latter. For Hosts/Devices, the automated test modules include: Physical Layer (PHY); Transmitter Signaling Group (TSG); Out of Band (OOB); Receiver Signaling Group (RSG); Receiver Margin Test (RMT) and; Transmit and Receive (Tx/Rx). For Cables, there is an additional Cable Signal Integrity (SI) module. Execution of the SATA MOIs is performed from any Windows XP computer.

Using traditional test methods customers typically take eight or more hours to cycle through the required SATA Gen-2 compliance tests. This is especially time consuming if an error is encountered and the tests need to be performed again. By using TekExpress SATA, a complete SATA Gen-2 compliance test can be performed largely without user intervention, providing complete test results in a few hours.

“We have been able to utilize the pre-release version of the new TekExpress automated compliance software for SATA Gen-2 from Tektronix and have seen dramatic reductions in set-up complexity and execution time required to complete the needed tests,” said Johan Craeybeckx, Chief Technology Officer, Testronic Laboratories. “Companies that once found SATA II compliance testing a difficult and time consuming task will be pleasantly surprised, whether performing these tests themselves or at a certified test house. Tektronix provides us with the best expertise and test bench for high speed serial technologies and standards. We will standardize our SATA Gen-2 compliance test tools and procedures using Tektronix instrumentation and the new TekExpress SATA software.”

TekExpress SATA extends the level of support Tektronix provides for SATA Gen-2 development and compliance efforts through its family of high-performance instrumentation. Tektronix offers a unique breadth of best in class instruments, performance levels and product automation which when applied to a any specific standard brings the customers productivity to the new level of productivity expected in today’s rapdidly evolving serial standards market.

Required equipment for the TekExpress SATA compliance test are a high bandwidth real time oscilloscope (DSA70000 Series Digital Serial Analyzer), a high speed serial signal generator (AWG7102 Arbitrary Waveform Generator), and a high bandwidth sampling oscilloscope (DSA8200 Series Digital Serial Analyzer). Tektronix DSA oscilloscopes and AWG signal generators provide the performance necessary for testing all generations of SATA devices, including the planned SATA Gen-3 spec, set to run at 6 Gb/sec. These next-generation instruments and application software solutions are part of an entirely new and comprehensive test bench for high-speed serial data.

NI TestStand is a ready-to-run test management environment designed to simplify the automation of test and validation systems. TestStand, when combined with TekExpress can be used to develop, manage and execute additional test sequences beyond SATA Gen-2 Compliance Testing.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for TekExpress Framework is $4,900 and MOI modules range between $5,900-$19,900. All prices shown are U.S. MSRP. Options are available today for RSG. Pre-release versions are available for TSG/PHY/OOB. Remaining SATA modules are expected to be available by the end of the second calendar quarter in 2008.

About TekExpress(tm) Compliance Test Software
TekExpress (TEKEXP) Automated Compliance Software is a Windows based application that runs on any Windows XP computer operating system including Tektronix Windows based instruments. TekExpress ordered with SATA specific options provides a completely automated, simple, and efficient way to test SATA I/II Hosts, Devices, and Cables per the requirements of the SATA-IW (Serial ATA Interoperability Working Group) as defined in accepted Methods of Implementation (MOI). TekExpress SATA is the first in a line of new automated compliance solutions for high speed serial data standards.

About Tektronix
Tektronix is a leading supplier of test, measurement, and monitoring products, solutions and services for the communications, computer, and semiconductor industries – as well as military/aerospace, consumer electronics, education and a broad range of other industries worldwide. With 60 years of experience, Tektronix enables its customers to design, build, deploy, and manage next-generation global communications networks, computing and advanced technologies. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix has operations in 19 countries worldwide.

Tektronix is a registered trademark of Tektronix, Inc.