Light Reading

Who Makes What: ATCA, AMC & MicroTCA

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There are now many vendors of ATCA, ACM, and MicroTCA products. The range of the products themselves is correspondingly very wide and growing, as just about any processor-based equipment can be engineered into these formats.

This Who Makes What uses a simple vendor categorization based on broad levels of involvement in the technologies, as follows.

  • Component level: Covers a wide range of basic items used in the construction of the higher-level products. Examples include connectors for AMCs, or front-panel fixers for ATCA cards and blades. This category also provides a convenient location for a few silicon-device specialists.

  • Backplane/shelf/chassis level: Covers the basic physical parts and also the complete ATCA/MicroTCA chassis and enclosures before they are loaded with application-specific ACTA cards/blades. Although some vendors at this level specialize in, say, just backplanes or the metal-bashing of chassis and enclosures, many will provide a complete chassis or enclosure built to the base ATCA/MicroTCA specification.

  • Board/blade level: Covers the ATCA cards and blades, as well as AMCs and AMC-based systems and subsystems. Examples include complete single-board processors, AMC-compliant DSP subsystems, and AMC-specified system interconnects such as RapidIO.

  • Platform level: Strictly covers the loaded ATCA/MicroTCA chassis that provide OEMs with some fully functioning system capabilities or elements (for example, carrier-class blade server, or Ethernet switch, or customizable application platform). See the next page for more details on this sort of capability. Note that "platform" tends to be used by some vendors in the more modest sense of an ATCA or MicroTCA chassis that is complete in the full ATCA sense (with power, cooling, shelf management, and so on) but is still awaiting the application-specific blades.

It's worth stressing that, while many vendors produce a range of products within a given category, others may be much more limited. This is particularly noticeable for AMCs and ATCA blades, for example, where some vendors are very focused on particular applications (Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters, for example). Others cover the wider range of applications needed in, say, carrier-grade central-office equipment.

Software and middleware are obviously used extensively in ATCA-based products but are not included in the listing of this Who Makes What in the interest of practicality; their inclusion would add a huge further dimension to the vendor list. However, it's necessary to stress that it has long been realized that the standardized ATCA approach encourages the formation of pre-integrated hardware/software combinations of considerable sophistication. For example, Wind River Systems Inc. , RadiSys, and OpenClovis a couple of years ago began offering a collaborative solution comprising the Wind River Platform for Network Equipment, Linux Edition; the RadiSys Promentum family of ATCA hardware platforms; and the OpenClovis Application Service Platform (ASP). The idea of this sort of platform is to deliver a fully tested system to the OEM.

Figure 2, taken from the earlier Light Reading Insider, gives further detail on aspects of the three upper levels and their interrelationships.

Table 1 lists a fairly wide selection of vendors against the four levels described above, along with a brief indication of their specific product interests. As might be expected, the board/blade level tends to dominate — it's got higher value than chassis and with scope for innovation, while not being as financially demanding as platforms, making it suitable for smaller specialists. AMCs are also well supported, presumably for their potentially very wide application in many markets beyond just telecom.

Although there is a lot of specialization, many vendors cover two or more categories — particularly the pairing of boards/blades with platforms, a combination that represents the acme of hardware value. Only a small number cover all three of the higher-layer categories.

Table 1: Vendors Categorized by Main Levels of Involvement in ATCA, AMC, and MicroTCA
Vendor Component level Backplane / shelf / chassis level Board / blade level Platform level Product types include
Actel Yes Yes Silicon solution for TCA system management
Adlink Technology Inc. Yes Yes ATCA processor and switch blades, platforms, AMC modules
Advantech Yes ATCA processor blades, MicroTCA carrier hub, AMC modules
American Megatrends Inc Yes ATCA/AMC-compatible firmware for mezzanine management module
Astek Corporation Yes Storage products for ATCA, AMC and MicroTCA; AMC FibreChannel adapter
Astute Networks Yes ATCA storage blades
AudioCodes Yes ATCA blades
BittWare, Inc. Yes AMC processing, DSP, i/o modules
C&K Components Yes ATCA-compatible mechanical switches
CommAgility Ltd Yes Signal-processing AMC modules for wireless baseband applications for ATCA and MicroTCA platforms
Comtel Electronics GmbH Yes ATCA backplanes and chassis, MicroTCA chassis
Continuous Computing Corp. Yes Yes Yes ATCA compute, packet processing and switching blades, chassis, pre-integrated platforms and middleware and software
Dallas Logic Corporation Yes FPGA Interface AMCs, custom AMC development
Data Device Corporation Yes Multi-I/O MIL-STD-1553/ARINC 429 AMC Cards
Diversified Technology Inc. Yes Yes ATCA CPU, node and switch blades/boards, ATCA platforms
Elma Bustronic Corporation Yes ATCA and MicroTCA backplanes and chassis
Elma Electronic AG Yes Yes ATCA and MicroTCA chassis, platforms and enclosures
Emerson Network Power Yes Yes Yes ATCA and MicroTCA Integrated Platforms, Commercial ATCA bladed servers; ATCA blades (processors, hubs/switches, carriers), AMC modules (processor, storage, I/O), HA middleware and software
Emulex Corporation Yes Fibre Channel AMC Host Bus Adapters
ept GmbH Yes ATCA and MicroTCA connectors
ERNI Electronics GmbH Yes ATCA connectors
Extreme Engineering Solutions Yes ATCA processor blades, AMC modules
Extrusion Technology (XTech) Yes ATCA, MicroTCA and AMC faceplates, AMC carriers, other mechanical accessories
Gateware Communications Yes Yes MicroTCA platforms, AMC modules
GDA Technologies, Inc. Yes ATCA single-board processors, AMC modules
GE Fanuc Embedded Systems Yes Yes Yes ATCA chassis, AMC modules, MicroTCA platforms
Global Velocity Inc. Yes MicroTCA-based firewall
Harting Inc. Yes ATCA, AMC and MicroTCA connectors
Hewlett-Packard Co. Yes Carrier-grade ATCA blade servers and platforms
Hybricon Corporation Yes Yes MicroTCA chassis, accessories
Infranet Yes Yes ATCA chassis, blades, shelf management
Interphase Yes ATCA Processor Blades, AMC modules
JumpGen Systems Yes ATCA Processor Blades, ATCA AMC Carrier Switch Blades, AMC Packet Processor Cards, AMC Processor Cards
Kaparel Corp. Yes Yes Yes ATCA and MicroTCA shelves and platforms, AMC carriers
Knuerr AG (Emerson Network Power) Yes ATCA shelves and enclosures
Kontron AG Yes Yes Yes ATCA and MicroTCA Integrated Platforms, ATCA platform elements (processors, hubs/switches, carriers), AMC modules (processor, storage, i/o)
LeCroy Corporation Yes Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) Interposer Probe
Linear Technology Corp. Yes ICs for ATCA solutions
MicroBlade Yes Yes Yes AMC and MicroTCA products: HDD-AMC, shelves, platforms
N.A.T. GmbH Yes Yes MicroTCA carrier hubs and chassis, AMC telecom interfaces
NMS Communications Yes ATCA media server and enhanced services blades
PDSi (Pinnacle Data Systems Inc.) Yes ATCA carrier-grade compute/DSP blades and AMC modules
Penn Engineering Yes ATCA panel fasteners
Performance Technologies, Inc. Yes Yes AMC modules and MicroTCA application-ready platforms
Pigeon Point Systems Yes Yes ATCA, ACM and MicroTCA shelf and board management systems
Polaris Networks Inc. Yes Yes Yes ATCA, AMC and MicroTCA management software test tools
Portwell Inc. Yes Yes ATCA chassis and processor boards
RadiSys Yes Yes Yes ATCA/AMC rackmount servers, integrated platforms, boards and blades, network and packet processing engines, and middleware and software
SANBlaze Technology Inc Yes ATCA/AMC board-level storage solutions for embedded computing systems
SBS Technologies Inc. Yes Yes Yes AMC processors, AMC chassis, MicroTCA platforms
Scan Engineering Telecom Yes Yes AMC processor, telecom, I/O and digital signal processing (DSP) modules, MicroTCA systems
Schroff Ltd. Yes AMC carrier kits and panel assemblies, ATCA and MicroTCA chassis
SIE Computing Solutions Yes ATCA backplanes, ATCA and MicroTCA enclosures
Southco Inc. Yes ATCA-compliant faceplate mounting hardware
Sun Microsystems Inc. Yes ATCA carrier-class blade servers
Surf Communication Solutions Yes Converged audio/video media processing subsystem in AMC form factor pre-integrated with ATCA and MTCA
Tundra Semiconductor Yes System interconnect products for AMC
Tyco Electronics Yes Connectors and other components for ATCA and MicroTCA
VadaTech Inc. Yes Boards for processing, communication, storage, and platform interoperability
Yamaichi Electronics Yes AMC connectors for ATCA and MicroTCA
ZNYX Networks Yes Embedded Ethernet products
Source: Light Reading, 2009

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:02:45 PM
re: Who Makes What: ATCA, AMC & MicroTCA
This is not only review, but a kind of very brief and clear tutorial, the value of articles of this kind is invaluable for telecom specialists, who are incapable of "knowing everything about everything", but still have no time to read thick books.

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