VITA and VME technology mark 25-year milestone

Nov. 1, 2006
VITA, the trade association for the critical embedded computing industry, is marking the 25th anniversary of VME technology open-systems standards.

By John Keller

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - VITA, the trade association for the critical embedded computing industry, is marking the 25th anniversary of VME technology open-systems standards.

The VME open set of computing standards is for the modular construction of embedded computers for applications spanning the range of commercial products to extremely harsh environments.

VME technology is in more than 25 million products where precision, reliability, and durability under demanding real-world conditions are mandatory requirements, says VITA Director Ray Alderman.

Top applications for VME-based products are military, government, and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems; high-end industrial controls; communications equipment; and instrumentation for medical, health care, transportation, scientific applications.

VITA experts have defined nearly 60 VME technology specifications to meet the evolving needs of critical embedded systems. Most recently, VITA introduced VPX VITA 48 specifications to enable networked fabrics in 6U rugged systems, VITA 51 methods to determine system reliability, VITA 56 mezzanine module options, and VITA 58 packaging schemes to make systems more robust and interchangeable.

“No open architecture in the history of the embedded computer industry has grown and prospered for 25 years except VME,” Alderman contends. “Many other computing standards have come and gone because they no longer added value for the manufacturers and users of those technologies.

VITA will support the original VME concept and its enhancements while at the same time providing a pathway for future critical embedded system development, Alderman says. Meanwhile, the organization’s membership continues to grow.

The VME technology open standard was launched on Oct. 21, 1981, by Motorola, Mostek, Signetics/Philips, and Thomson CSF. The four companies joined together to announce a 16-/32-bit parallel computing bus that was loosely based on the Motorola 68000 processor bus. The goal was to have a cooperatively developed, public-domain standard for embedded computing that was backed by an independent organization to provide stewardship and strong promotion.

While Alderman maintains the forward vision of VITA, he and other longtime VME stalwarts also want to make sure the VME industry’s pioneers are never forgotten.

“Early adopters of VME for the military, including Aitech and Radstone Technology and through the efforts of people like Kim Clohessy of Dy4 Systems, literally changed and created a market that served not only the industry, but our country’s warfighters as well,” says Doug Patterson, VITA vice president and member of the organization’s board of directors. Patterson also is vice president of international sales and marketing at Aitech Defense Systems Inc. in Chatsworth, Calif.

“The perseverance of VMEbus is no surprise,” echoes VITA board member Jim Berlin, who also is vice president of hardware technology at GE Fanuc Embedded Systems in Albuquerque, N.M. “In the face of so many would-be usurpers it continues to get the job done with the steady reliability it has earned through its maturity.”

For more information contact VITA online at

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