Shipments in 2006 of merchant blades and mezzanine cards for use in ATCA or MicroTCA environments will be worth $291.3 million, according to analysts at Venture Development Corp. (VDC) in Natick, Mass. This amount represents 74 percent of the total ATCA board-and-chassis level merchant hardware market.
The total ATCA board-and-chassis level merchant hardware market this year is expected to be worth $394 million.
VDC analysts outline their findings in a report of the market for AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA equipment, “Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) and MicroTCA Components and Solutions.”
Analysts break the total ATCA board-and-chassis level merchant hardware market shares this year into four components. Merchant blades will represent 64 percent of the market, mezzanine cards 10 percent, merchant backplanes 1 percent, and basic chassis and backplane platforms 25 percent (percentage of dollar volume shipments).
At the AdvancedTCA Summit last December in San Jose, Calif., some vendors and developers expressed some dismay that this architecture had not achieved greater penetration, and expressed some doubts as to its viability or acceptance by the market, given the “somewhat lackluster” shipments achieved in 2005 and projected for 2006.
VDC’s Eric Gulliksen and PICMG’s Joe Pavlat pointed out that this performance was by no means lackluster and, in fact, substantially exceeded the penetration achieved by previous standards-based architectures in the early stages of the lifecycle.
The AdvancedTCA base specification, PICMG 3.0, was only released in 2002, and extensions defining the Backplane Link Technologies (switch fabrics) were not released until 2003. Thus, in 2006, the beginnings of a viable AdvancedTCA ecosystem will have been in place for barely three years. It took roughly ten years for VME to become established, and five or more years for CompactPCI.
VDC’s most recent study of the overall market for merchant computer boards, “The Merchant Computer Boards for Embedded/Real-Time Applications Intelligence Program,” projects the total value of the global merchant embedded board market, including all standards-based board types and architectures, to be nearly $4.2 billion in 2006. The projected 2006 AdvancedTCA shipments are just under 7 percent of this total market.
AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA comprise passive backplane architectures. The merchant board study projects total global shipments of slot cards and mezzanine cards for use in passive backplane systems to be $3,188 million; projected AdvancedTCA shipments account for more than 9 percent of this total.
The apparent disconnect arises from unrealistic expectations caused by industry and media hype. The trumpeting headlines have led some to believe that AdvancedTCA would “take over the world” almost overnight.
However, penetration will be evolutionary and gradual. Indeed, research indicats that many carriers are still not aware of ATCA and its value proposition and, among those that are aware, many are still less than convinced.
Nevertheless, VDC expects continued growth of AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA such that ATCA blades and AMC/PMC mezzanine cards for use in ATCA/MicroTCA environments will comprise $1.9 billion in shipments in 2009; this will be roughly equivalent to 34 percent of the total standards-based merchant embedded board market, or 45 percent of the slot and mezzanine card market.
For more information contact VDC online at www.vdc-corp.com.