ATCA/Standard Servers

ATCA Takeoff Is Imminent

The AdvancedTCA (ATCA) market is set to nearly double each year through 2012, creating a $7.3 billion market by the end of that year, according to a Heavy Reading report.

That's going to be true even taking into account that prices will drop about 11 percent per year, analyst Simon Stanley writes in ATCA, AMC & MicroTCA Market Forecast: Revenue Surge Ahead.

If the numbers prove correct, they mean ATCA -- a set of standards established by PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) for telecom gear -- will finally arrive after a few years of stalling. Like a lot of technologies, ATCA, pushed more by chip and board vendors than by carriers, has been slower to take off than originally hoped. (See Whatever Happened to ATCA? and ATCA Success: Moore Proof.)

Heavy Reading's figures take into account only application-ready ATCA systems, meaning finished boxes that an OEM like Alcatel would purchase. That's going to be a lower number than the finished and fully outfitted products the OEMs would sell themselves. (See ATCA Market Size.)

So, why has ATCA's time come now? Stanley believes it has to do with the technology's breadth reaching the right point. "Although ATCA is far from perfect, it does now meet the requirements of most OEMs for many telecom applications," he writes.

For example, 10-Gbit/s functionality is arriving in ATCA's second generation of technology, and some systems are ready to support 40 Gbit/s per blade. Multicore processors from the likes of Cavium Inc. (Nasdaq: CAVM) or Raza Microelectronics Inc. are also being supported, pushing ATCA into higher-performance areas.

That last point is key, because IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), in particular, previously found ATCA's power specs too restrictive to support the latest multicore processors from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and others. That's one of the reasons it cites for offering its own BladeCenter platform rather than ATCA-based hardware.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to ATCA, AMC & MicroTCA: Off-the-Shelf Platforms for the Converged IP Network, which will explore the impact these important platforms are already having on the telecom equipment market. To be staged in Boston, September 18, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:35:53 PM
re: ATCA Takeoff Is Imminent An extra note on ATCA's power requirements/restrictions. Found a quote from February, from a conversation with Todd Etchieson at RadiSys:

"I haven't heard one customer say they're not going to go ATCA because of the power -- not one."

So, there's another point of view.
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