Alveo Card Debug Guide


This page provides definitions of various terms used throughout the Alveo Debug Guide.



Xilinx Runtime library (XRT) is the open source software stack that provides drivers and utilities to enable acceleration solutions for Alveo cards.


The satellite controller (SC) is a realtime support processor on the Alveo card that provides card management in-band (XRT) and OOB communication mechanisms for the server BMC.

The SC, CMC, and XRT communicate to

  • Monitor card status,

  • Communicate with the server BMC

  • On some cards, provides protections for over temp or over power conditions

  • Program a kernel (xclbin) onto a card

  • On newer cards, like the U50, the SC needs to enable the FPGA power rails

Shown in the center of the Alveo system diagram in green.


The card management controller (CMC) is a microblaze running in the platform and handles FPGA features including communication with XRT.

XRT only communicates directly with the CMC. CMC ↔ SC communication allows XRT to:

  • Report sensor values

  • Load a xclbin

  • Flash the card

Shown inside the FPGA block in the Alveo system diagram.

CMC was previously referred to as XMC and may show up in some XRT messaging.


XMC is a deprecated name for the CMC. See CMC.


Baseboard management controller (BMC) is a found on server motherboards to allow remote monitoring and system administration.

For supported servers this allows for remote system administration including

  • System power and temperature monitoring

  • Remote power control

  • Remote terminal through web browser


The Bus:Device:Function (BDF) a unique PCI and PCIe card identifier allocated by the host system. Each Alveo card is assigned both a management and an user BDF. Section [Displaying Card BDF Values](#common-steps.Displaying Card BDF Values) details how to display BDF values for Alveo cards installed in your system.

The notation for the BDF is a follows: the PCI Domain number followed by a colon, the PCI Bus number followed by a colon, the PCI Device number followed by a decimal point, and the PCI Function number. All numbers would be given in hexadecimal. i.e. [vvvv:xx:yy.z]

Details on displaying management and user BDF values see section Displaying Card BDF Values.

Alveo Card Programming Cable

A special cable that allows the you to interact with the FPGA for certain cards, like the U50 card.

Provides micro-USB support from a host PC to the Alveo card maintenance connector. The Alveo Programming Cable can be ordered as an accessory from Alveo accessories. See the Alveo Programming Cable Guide for details.

Reboot/Warm Boot/Reset System

Rebooting the system without interrupting power via CTRL+ALT+Del or sudo reboot.

This resets the OS and drivers but does not remove power from the PCIe main bus and the PCIe Auxiliary power bus. The FPGA on the card retains its current base image however the xclbin and DFX-2RP shells will need to be reloaded.

Cold Boot/Power Cycle

Shut down the system via the power button or the shutdown command.

This removes power from the CPU, main PCIe bus, and the FPGA on the Alveo card, clearing its state. It does not remove power from the lower power PCIe Auxiliary bus and the Satellite controller on the Alveo Card remains powered on. The FPGA shell on the Alveo card needs to be reloaded.

Shutdown and Unplug/Pull Power

Initiate a cold boot. Once the system is down completely remove power. Unplugging the system from external power.

This removes power from the CPU, main PCIe bus and lower PCIe Auxiliary bus and is required to install, remove, or reseat an Alveo card. This will also power-down the Satellite Controller. Due to capacitive power in some power supplies, the power must remain unplugged for 3-5 minutes.

Pulling power is an easy way to try to reset the SC.

Golden/Factory Image

The term golden image or factory image refers to the card’s original configuration when shipped.

When changing platforms or XRT versions, it may be necessary to revert the card to it’s golden/factory image.

Reseat an Alveo Card

Pull the Alveo card out of a PCIe slot and putting it back into the same slot in the same machine.

This can help check for a bad connection between the contacts on the bottom of an Alveo card and the motherboard.

Before reseating an Alveo card it is necessary to Shutdown and unplug/Pull power to the machine.


PCI Express bus.

This the bus on the motherboard the Alveo cards use to talk with the host computer.


Firmware used during system boot to initialize the computer hardware.

Xilinx Support

For additional support resources such as Answers, Documentation, Downloads, and Alerts, see the Xilinx Support pages. For additional assistance, post your question on the Xilinx Community Forums – Alveo Accelerator Card.

Have a suggestion, or found an issue please send an email to .


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