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AdvancedTCA Market to Pick Up

A next-generation network interconnect technology is gearing up for primetime, thanks in part to one key market, a new report claims.

Analysts at IT industry research group In-Stat said adoption rates for AdvancedTCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) are expected to climb steadily now that the Open Standards Chassis (OSC) market is embracing the specification for carrier grade communications equipment.

The adoption rates are so strong that In-Stat now predicts the AdvancedTCA portion of the OSC market will grow steadily from $221 million in 2004 to multiple billions of dollars in 2009. Reports issued late last year by In-Stat estimated $15.7 billion worth of AdvancedTCA-based gear will ship by 2008.

In-Stat said it found telecommunications providers are attracted to OSCs in networking equipment because of potential cost savings.

"When you look at which types of companies are advocating standardized chassis, you find that they are mostly either chipmakers or network equipment providers," Eric Mantion, In-Stat analyst said about the report he wrote. "However, In-Stat expects to see service providers start to support these standards, as they become more aware of how these specifications can help improve their own bottom line."

In AdvancedTCA designs, blade and chassis form-factors follow strict specifications, which consortium PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) said should meet the requirements of communications applications through year 2010. This includes backplane capacity up to 4.5 terabits per second, multi-protocol blade interfaces up to OC-768, RAM support beyond 8 GB/board, increased system availability and headroom for future increased performance processing.

Top tier companies are already ahead of the curve. Multiple AdvancedTCA products are already available from IBM, HP, Sun Microsystems, Computer Associates, and Veritas .

In-Stat has also found that the overall OSC market includes many platforms beside AdvancedTCA, including CompactPCI, CompactTCA, MicroTCA, and IBM's BladeCenter.

"There is an extra layer of optimism surrounding OSCs since it seems very likely that merchant silicon makers will springboard off this platform to truly bring about the shorter time-to-market metrics that have been promised over the last several years," Mantion said in his report.

While the communications market is expected to be the first area of growth for the AdvancedTCA, In-Stat said it will also start penetrating other markets, such as military, medical, industrial and, eventually, the enterprise.