Challenging Cisco's ISR
The size and shape of the box is one example. If you're putting a router inside offices and not on standard telecom racks, there's no reason why it has to conform to the telecom form factor. Connector design is another place where vendors like some variety, says Jas Tremblay, an LSI director of marketing.
That could be important for the Multiservice Business Gateway alliance that LSI, Telrad Networks Ltd. , and others announced at Interop today. (See Telrad, LSI Form MSBG.)
Put crudely, this is the club for OEMs gunning for the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) Integrated Services Routers (ISRs). The idea is for components vendors and original design manufacturers (ODMs) to team up, giving equipment vendors a head start on building their own gateways or service routers.
As specific as that might sound, Tremblay says it's one of the two hottest businesses in networking, from LSI's point of view. (The other is wireless.) ISRs open more possibilities for managed services that make the branch office as sophisticated as a headquarters. (See Cisco Opens the ISR.)
My guess would be that these boxes can afford to cut some corners when it comes to ATCA requirements, since they're dangling at the very edge of the carrier network and don't typically sit in overcrowded data centers. Assuming business gateways continue as a trend, that could create a substantial foothold for Near-Miss ATCA.
Given how slowly the telco world moves, and how quickly ATCA is moving into areas like medical and defense, it's going to be interesting to see whether Near-Miss ATCA becomes a bigger market than ATCA proper. ATCA vendors will be happy either way.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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