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ATCA/Standard Servers

ATCA Progress Marches On

The ecosystem for the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA) is in full bloom, according to the latest Heavy Reading report, "ATCA, AMC & MicroTCA: The Next Generation," written by Simon Stanley, founder and principal consultant of Earlswood Marketing Ltd.

Yes, Heavy Reading has covered this ground before. The new report updates last year's by doubling the number of products covered – detailing 250 products from 56 different vendors – and adding new analysis of 19 more manufacturers and systems integrators.

The update shows that ATCA remains on track, gaining acceptance among the different tiers of the telecom industry. Among the most enthusiastic ATCA supporters are the chipmakers, because the standardization of hardware would increase the market for off-the-shelf chips. (See ATCA Initiates Launch Sequence.)

Stanley tallies more than 50 ATCA blades set to ship this year and 16 vendors shipping ATCA base systems. Major vendors using ATCA include Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701), Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE).

It's starting to have the desired effect. "The availability of ATCA components and systems is driving a major shift from the old supply-chain model –- in which equipment manufacturers supplied everything from board-level components to the fully integrated application –- to a multi-vendor model, with systems integrators taking on much of the development previously kept in-house by system OEMs," Stanley writes.

In some areas, ATCA blades are getting upstaged by advanced mezzanine card (AMC) modules. The smaller AMCs can be used as adjuncts to ATCA blades, but they've also gained popularity as the cards for the MicroTCA format, a smaller alternative to ATCA. (See Report: MicroTCA Could Be Macro.)

"There is already significant interest in MicroTCA across a range of markets, encompassing telecom, military, healthcare, and industrial computing applications," Stanley writes.

The report also discusses the state of ATCA switching chips, comparing the products of 12 vendors across four protocol options: Ethernet, InfiniBand, Advanced Switching, and RapidIO. Four of the chip vendors -- Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Fulcrum Microsystems Inc. , and Greenfield Networks -- have announced 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch chips. (See Broadcom Stacks 10GigE, Fujitsu Intros New Switch, and Fulcrum Samples Chip.)

Stanley has written in a previous report that he expects 10-Gbit/s Ethernet to be the most popular of the ATCA switching options. (See Bandwidth Hunger Drives Chip Designs.) This report notes that Performance Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PTIX) and Radisys Corp. (Nasdaq: RSYS) have come out with the first ATCA platforms for 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, while Motorola Computer Group has demonstrated a prototype system. (See Moto Packs MicroTCA.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:43:51 AM
re: ATCA Progress Marches On The report briefly mentions that some ATCA mergers are already happening: Emerson Electric buying Artesyn, for example.

OK, it's probably more correct to call this "embedded computing" consolidation, but still ... what other pairings might be out there?
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