ATCA/Standard Servers

ATCA: Not Squeezed Out

3:45 PM -- Here's a backhanded compliment for ATCA: "It isn't going to be squeezed into oblivion."

Two years ago, Paul Steinberg of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) presented a slide asking whether ATCA was going to get squeezed. The theory was that low-end needs could be met by blade servers, while high-end boxes like core routers were over ATCA's head. The latter argument had a lot to do with power limitations and the fact that the newest microprocessors are not often available right away on ATCA platforms.

Steinberg is now Motorola's chief architect for public safety and broadband, but he was with Motorola's network group in 2008, when he first presented the "squeeze" slide noted above. Yesterday, he came back for Light Reading's virtual event on xTCA and commercial off-the-shelf products.

He ended his talk with the "squeezed into oblivion" comment, noting that ATCA isn't at as much of a cost disadvantage as he would have expected. But ATCA still doesn't do everything. For instance, Steinberg said, blade servers are a better deal, cost-wise, for high-capacity computing tasks.

He also gave some interesting details about Motorola's own use of ATCA. The company chose two ATCA hardware vendors -- one for radio gear, and another for core-network work. The vendors have changed, but it's always been two. Motorola also went with three suppliers of operating systems, but it eventually gravitated towards one type of carrier-grade Linux, Steinberg said.

An archive of the event will be available on the Light Reading Events page starting May 11.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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