Board vendors are racing to provide the building block for next-generation telecom systems based on the AdvancedTCA bus architecture. What's more is that the new architecture is predicted to have exponential growth in the next few years.
RHK Inc., a Wakefield, MA, research firm, predicts that the ACTA market will soar to $3.7 billion by 2007. Another research firm, Crystal Cube Consulting of Mesa, AZ, predicts that total system expenditures could hit $20 billion by 2007.
Either way, that's significant growth in three years, since RHK says market revenue was "minimal" last year. ATCA, developed by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) with input from more than 100 companies, is designed for high-end telecom systems and communication fabrics.
Force Computers, a Fremont, CA, company being acquired by Motorola Computer Group, is among the many companies that recently rolled out blades and systems that should facilitate the quick takeoff. The CPCI-920 can have one or two network processors for 2 or 4 Gbits/sec data rate packet processing.
Force also rolled out another version of its Centellis system, designed for central office usage. It can hold 14 blades in a variety of configurations of processors and network cards. In these high-speed systems, cooling is a critical factor. "We've got four fans running at 75 percent, so if one fails, the others go to 100 percent with minimum loss," says David Berry, product marketing manager.
Other companies are also rolling out blades, which hold components normally found on multiple boards. Scalability is the focus of the ATCA-1000 from RadiSys Corp. of Hillsboro, OR, which can hold up to four processor mezzanine cards, giving customers a chance to move existing mezzanine cards so they can re-use software. The slots can also be used for PCI, Gbit Ethernet and other communication protocols.
A dual-processor blade from Artesyn Communication Products of Boca Raton, FL, houses a pair of PowerPC chips and 10 Gbit Ethernet channels. The KatanaQP also has expansion sites for mezzanine cards.
Kontron America of San Diego, CA, also rolled out a pair of blades as part of a major ATCA initiative. The hot swappable blades can house one or two Intel Xeon processors while connection slots let users configure a range of communication schemes. The German company also unveiled card cages and other support products.