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Motorola Preps ATCA Blast

Motorola introduces news ATCA-based services and software; backs MicroTCA and Ethernet; collaborates with IBM on open systems platform

June 7, 2005

12 Min Read

CHICAGO -- Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today spotlighted the “communications server,” a new class of computer architected to address exploding global demand for next-generation communications applications such as converged services over wireline and wireless networks.

Employing open industry-standard technologies, communications servers are designed to deliver high service availability. They incorporate an array of technologies required to manage advanced communications computing applications, including general purpose processing, multimedia processing, routing and packet processing capabilities.

“Communications service providers are under increasing pressure to quickly deliver differentiated new services and applications, while improving cost effectiveness, availability and performance,” said Rob Rich, Executive Vice President, Yankee Group, a leading industry analyst firm. “The availability of highly scalable, secure, standards-based servers with carrier grade reliability will be critical to the success of these new initiatives.”

Helping drive acceptance of this common platform will be the future rapid global demand for seamless mobility, Motorola’s vision for empowering consumers and work groups with contiguous communications across networks, delivering the ability to communicate voice and data from a single communications device, whether at home, work or on the road.

“The greatest market opportunities for equipment manufacturers in communications-intensive industries involve applications that combine voice, data and video transmitted seamlessly and reliably,” said Wendy Vittori, corporate vice president and general manager, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. “To keep up with the stringent demands these applications place on their support servers and networks, a new class of embedded computer is needed – the communications server. This new style of computing element is architected on open industry standards and is able to handle a broad range of communications computing applications. Motorola’s Open Application-Enabling Platforms are pre-integrated and validated communications servers that can help shorten equipment manufacturers’ time-to-market, lower their CapEx and OpEx and enhance the end-user’s experience, spurring global demand for new services.”

A communications server has a unique combination of attributes, including:

  • Open standards-based common platform

  • High Availability (>5NINES) and serviceability

  • Support for value-add communications applications

  • Multi-media and network processing capabilities

  • Extended life cycle



“Just as the enterprise server and enterprise computing emerged 20 years ago to address a major market need, we believe the communications server and communications computing will emerge and evolve for the same reason,” Vittori said. “Motorola is strongly positioned to lead the emergence of the communications server into widespread implementation because we have extensive industry experience, resources and global reach. The converged future requires lower cost infrastructure for delivering integrated communications applications, and Motorola is prepared to lead this evolution.”

In a separate release:

CHICAGO -- Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today launched a new series of Open Application-Enabling Platforms, pre-integrated and validated communications servers designed to help telecom equipment manufacturers provide new, revenue-generating services faster and more cost-efficiently.

The new Centellis™ and Avantellis™ series of AdvancedTCA®-based communications servers offer enhanced performance and increased functionality over currently available servers by adding hardware options and implementing Service Availability™ Forum (SA Forum) standards. Motorola will demonstrate these new Open Application-Enabling Platforms at SUPERCOMM 2005 in Chicago from June 7-9 in booth # 48039.

“More telecom equipment manufacturers are taking advantage of the cost savings that they and their customers can achieve from using open industry standards such as AdvancedTCA and SA Forum,” said Lee Doyle, Group Vice President, Network Infrastructure, International Data Corp., a leading industry analyst firm. "ATCA enables telecom equipment manufacturers to get to market faster so that service providers can benefit from open standards much sooner than was possible using the traditional building block approach to communications computing platform integration.”

“Our communications servers are based on both open hardware and software standards, bringing the benefits of a horizontal business model that helps the telecom industry respond faster and more cost-efficiently to the demands of its customers,” said Chris Williams, switched platforms director, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. “Applications can be deployed on a range of hardware platforms to meet service provider requirements and migrate to new hardware as technology evolves.”

Centellis 3000 Series Communications Servers
The Centellis 3000 series of communications servers is optimized for legacy applications based on proprietary high-availability software. This product series integrates AdvancedTCA hardware, with an operating environment that includes the MontaVista Carrier Grade Linux operating system, SA Forum Hardware Platform Interface (HPI) Specification implementation, comprehensive centralized platform hardware management, high-availability fabric management and high-availability link support. Motorola also verifies thermal, power and mechanical operation to provide a proven platform, on which communications equipment manufacturers can rapidly deploy their software environments and applications with confidence.

Avantellis 3000 Series Communications Servers
The Avantellis 3000 series leverages the attributes of the Centellis 3000 series and includes Motorola’s NetPlane™ Core Services software for 5NINES+ platform availability. NetPlane Core Services is service availability middleware that implements the SA Forum Application Interface Specification (AIS) and HPI. These SA Forum standards facilitate rapid development of highly-available applications by providing uniform APIs, leading to the creation of predictable systems.

Both the Avantellis and Centellis 3000 series are designed to make efficient use of space within the central office. Both servers are offered with 12 or 14 payload slots in shelves that are only 12U high, allowing three shelves to fit into a standard 42U rack and leave space for ancillary equipment. Motorola combines shelf control and switching functions on a single blade, maximizing the space available for revenue-generating payload blades within each shelf. Redundant hardware within each shelf supports applications requiring 5NINES+ availability. An extensive blade portfolio includes control blades, server blades, network processor blades, storage blades and media processing blades, allowing system configurations to be optimized for a wide range of control plane and data plane applications.

The Communications Server
The communications server is a new class of computer architected to address exploding global demand for highly available, dependable and reliable communications platforms required to enable and deliver enhanced packet-centric services over both wireline and wireless networks. Employing open industry-standard technologies, communications servers incorporate all the technologies required to manage advanced communications applications including general purpose processing, multimedia processing, and routing and packet processing facilities.

The communications server has a unique combination of communications-centric attributes, including:

  • Open standards-based common platform

  • Reliability and high availability (>5NINES)

  • Support for value-add communications applications

  • Multi-media and network processing capabilities

  • Extended life cycle



In a separate release:

CHICAGO -- Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today announced NetPlane™ Software, a family of software products that provides a standards-based software execution environment for equipment that delivers high levels of service availability. Motorola’s NetPlane Software enables equipment manufacturers to focus their resources on developing value-added applications, accelerating the development and deployment of next-generation products.

The new NetPlane software is fully integrated into Motorola’s new Avantellis™ series of AdvancedTCA®-based Open Application-Enabling Platforms, communications servers that make it easier and quicker for equipment manufacturers to develop applications and deploy new products. NetPlane software is designed to support a broad spectrum of applications in telecommunications and other industries that require a combination of computing power, high-performance communications and “always on” capability.

At SUPERCOMM 2005 in Chicago from June 7-9 in booth # 48039 Motorola will demonstrate NetPlane Software as part of its Avantellis series of Open Application-Enabling Platforms, communications servers based on the AdvancedTCA and Service Availability™ Forum (SA Forum) Application Interface Specification (AIS) and Hardware Platform Interface (HPI) open industry standards.

“The move within the telecom industry to build and deploy platforms based on open standards has accelerated significantly over the last year,” said Rob Rich, EVP at the Yankee Group. “The development and adoption of various versions of Service Availability Forum middleware by major players indicates that the move towards standards is becoming pervasive, encompassing platform software as well as hardware. The growth of an ecosystem to supply standards-based telecom software provides the industry the potential to accelerate the deployment of new services, giving more rapid access to a broad variety of applications as well as generating economies of scale.”

“Products in the NetPlane Software family have open standard interfaces and are designed to be platform-independent and portable,” said Wade Campbell, director of strategic marketing, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. “This software portability enables equipment manufacturers to maintain a common, consistent software execution environment across multiple hardware platforms that meet the performance and cost requirements of their customers. This level of portability also makes it easier to provide upgrade paths, preserving technology investments across successive product generations.”

The first product in the NetPlane family is NetPlane Core Services software, a suite of high service availability middleware that implements the SA Forum AIS and HPI. Application software can easily migrate between computing platforms that run SA Forum compliant middleware. NetPlane Core Services is hardware independent and is adapted to run on a specific hardware platform through a complementary product, NetPlane Platform Control Software.

In a separate release:

CHICAGO -- Motorola (NYSE: MOT) today announced that IBM will offer Motorola NetPlane™ Core Services software as a key middleware component of the IBM eServer Integrated Platform for Telecommunications.

NetPlane Core Services is Motorola’s platform-independent implementation of the Service Availability™ Forum (SA Forum) Application Interface Specification (AIS) and Hardware Platform Interface (HPI). This open, high availability middleware was first introduced with Motorola’s Avantellis™ 3000 Series of AdvancedTCA®-based communications servers.

The availability of NetPlane Core Services software on both the IBM eServer BladeCenter family and the Motorola Avantellis Series provides equipment manufacturers a highly flexible, cost-effective, common software environment “from enterprise to network edge.”

"This collaboration reflects the move to a commercial off-the-shelf-based (COTS) computing infrastructure to support the convergence of enterprise and communications computing applications in the telecom industry," said Wendy Vittori, corporate vice president and general manager, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. "Working with industry leaders such as IBM to create integrated, COTS-based telecom computing platforms enables Motorola to help the industry realize a common, standards-based, high availability software environment essential for rapid delivery of next generation services."

“Both IBM and Motorola are committed to open industry standards like SA Forum and OCAF for telecommunications equipment manufacturers and next generation networks,” said Jim Pertzborn, vice president of the Telecommunications Industry, IBM Systems & Technology Group. “The combined strengths of BladeCenter and middleware solutions like Motorola’s NetPlane Core Services will help accelerate the adoption of open computing platform standards for commercial off-the-shelf technology for telco applications and systems.”In a separate release:

CHICAGO -- Motorola (NYSE: MOT) will focus on key technologies to maximize and accelerate the benefits of open industry standards for developers of communications-intensive applications.

Strategic technology directions of Motorola’s Embedded Communications Computing include developing a new family of Open Application-Enabling Platforms based on the MicroTCA standard; and selecting Ethernet as the data fabric for the company’s AdvancedTCA® communications servers.

“Creating open standards is just the first step toward realizing their benefits. To achieve the business benefits of open standards, industries must focus on the subset of often competing specifications that best meet their market needs to create a strong supporting ecosystem,” said Wade Campbell, strategic marketing director, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. “Along with AdvancedTCA, Carrier Grade Linux and Service Availability™ Forum (SA Forum), Motorola has set two additional standards directions for the core elements of our Open Application-Enabling Platforms: the MicroTCA form factor and Ethernet as our AdvancedTCA fabric. By doing so, we focus our own development investments and encourage other industry players with similar market needs to support the same standards. We believe this will help to establish the focus essential to mobilize the industry and more quickly achieve the full benefits of these standards.”

At SUPERCOMM 2005 in Chicago from June 7-9 in booth # 48039 Motorola will preview a proof-of-concept Open Application-Enabling Platform based on the MicroTCA specification. The company will also demonstrate the Avantellis™ series and Centellis™ 3000 series of Open Application-Enabling Platforms, communications servers based on the AdvancedTCA and SA Forum Application Interface Specification (AIS) and Hardware Platform Interface (HPI) open industry standards.

MicroTCA
The MicroTCA specification, currently under development, connects Advanced Mezzanine Card (AdvancedMC) modules through a backplane. It builds on the hot-swap and switch fabric capabilities within the AdvancedMC specification to define a modular scaleable computing platform that is capable of addressing applications that require up to 5 NINES service availability and beyond, and can also be cost-effective in less demanding applications.

“We see MicroTCA being used in telecom edge applications where small physical size and low entry cost are key requirements, such as WiMAX access points, DSLAMs and VoIP access gateways,” said Shlomo Pri-Tal, chief technology officer, Embedded Communications Computing, Motorola. “It can also support a variety of applications in medical, industrial and defense segments. The MicroTCA and AdvancedTCA standards will complement each other and together they will be able to address a very broad spectrum of applications with standards-based platforms.”

“By using the same AdvancedMC module designs that are deployed as mezzanines on AdvancedTCA blades, products based on the MicroTCA standard can get to market quickly. It also makes software migration between the two types of platform relatively easy, so software support for MicroTCA platforms will be available in a much shorter timescale. And, of course, re-use of existing hardware and software will improve cost-efficiency through economies of scale,” continued Pri-Tal.

A MicroTCA system has the same architecture as AdvancedTCA. It has at least one switch card to handle the switch fabric and it will support the same Intelligent Platform Management Interface found in AdvancedTCA to provide power management and system-monitoring capability. This increases the manageability of MicroTCA systems without incurring new development costs, because the same management software will be used on both MicroTCA and AdvancedTCA systems.

Motorola is planning to develop Open Application-Enabling Platforms (OAEPs) based on MicroTCA and other open standards. This approach will provide pre-integrated and validated communications computing platforms that help equipment manufacturers get their products to market faster and more cost-efficiently and complement the company’s range of OAEPs based on AdvancedTCA.

AdvancedTCA Switch Fabric
“By selecting a fabric for AdvancedTCA, a system integrator determines which of the available blades can be used in that system – we call this a ‘blade-set’,” said Pri-Tal. “A key challenge for the telecom industry is to adopt a platform architecture that will take full advantage of the economies of scale that AdvancedTCA promises by maximizing the support for just a few blade-sets – ideally just one, which would result in the strongest ecosystem. Backwards compatibility is also a very important issue. As a selected fabric technology evolves, it is critical that upgrades can be performed without disturbing existing blade set deployments, and that applications currently deployed on existing blades can migrate quickly and easily onto platforms with an upgraded fabric.”

Motorola Inc.

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