Thursday, June 28, 2007

ATCA backers sound off

My email has been humming with chorus of ATCA proponents weighing in on last week's EE Times story (and my post below referring to it) that said support for ATCA is cooling, especially among big telecom systems companies. I invite anyone with specific facts on what is happening inside board, system and end-user companies to make a comment on this post.

A manager from Nokia Siemens said his company is actively behind ATCA with products and work on the standards, a comment I have already put in an update version of the EE Times story and blog postings.

Dick Somes, technical officer of the PICMG group that defines ATCA, took issue with the claim the standard has too many flavors. That's not fragmentation, but flexibility, Somes said in an email.

Lance Leventhal who helps edit the ATCA Newsletter said that outlet has published several interviews with big telecom systems companies speaking favorably about ATCA, including a Nortel interview a year ago.

One source who asked not to be named said the sources dis-ing ATCA in the EE Times story are focused on the North American market which has been fairly flat. Most of the ATCA growth these days is in Asia, Europe and South America, he added.

Others chiming include a manager from Kontron who said "there have been several public statements of Telecom Equipment Manufacturers such as Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel Networks or NEC who have endorsed the ATCA standard." However, "this industry thinks in 5- to 10-year cycles rather than in quarters" so actual products are just now coming up for release in some cases, he said.

The rise of new groups such as the Communications Platform Trade Association trying to drive standards and working with ATCA is another sign the standard will gain traction he said. The group includes Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nortel, Sun and China's ZTE.

Thanks to all for your emails and, please, make a comment here with all the specifics you have to offer. They may help drive future stories.

1 comment:

Dick Somes said...


I hope I said something a little more insightful than what you attributed to me. As I recall, the trust of my remarks was that Ethernet is the dominant ATCA backplane interconnect with 1 GbE well established and 10 GbE ramping up, and the other options are indeed for niche applications.

During development of the ATCA spec impementers insisted on an interconnect agnostic platform with the flexibility to support any one of a number of electrically compatible signaling protocols. Hopefully we're not hearing the same people now complaining about the situation.

My point was that ATCA provides the best of both worlds: a platform with a well developed ecosystem based on Ethernet yet capale of supporting other interconnects. These are the attributes of an architecture that stimulate its adoption, not impede it.