By John Keller
NATICK, Mass. — VME, long one of the most widely used open-systems bus architectures in military and aerospace applications, may be nearing the end of its long reign, report analysts at Venture Development Corp. (VDC) of Natick, Mass.
VDC analysts predict that worldwide sales for PCI and CompactPCI boards will exceed those of VME boards in 2002, and that VME will disappear for all practical purposes within the next 10 years.
The VDC market specialists make these claims in their new report entitled "Year 2000 Worldwide Market for Computer Boards in Embedded and Real-Time Applications."
While VME sales worldwide will be $842.6 million, or 28.3 percent of a nearly $3 billion market, with PCI and CompactPCI sales closely matching that figure, and exceeding VME sales thereafter, VDC analysts predict.
The primary competing architecture to VME is CompactPCI, VDC analysts say. Fueling growth in CompactPCI sales, at least in part, are the architecture's hot-swap capability and embrace by the telecommunications industry.
VDC analysts point out, however, that CompactPCI does not offer significant performance advantages over recent incarnations of VME, which continue to demonstrate considerable resilience.
In addition, VME still has a large installed base in military, aerospace, industrial automation, scientific instrumentation, and medical applications, which represents a large capital investment that VME users are reluctant to write off, VDC officials say.
Yet VME suffers two drawbacks. VDC analysts point out. First, systems designers perceive CompactPCI to be more "cutting edge" than VME. Second, VME is more expensive than CompactPCI.
"Although technology-wise, VME appears to be very much alive and well, VDC believes that the drive toward smaller size and lower costs will cause an increased platform migration from VME to CompactPCI," VDC officials say.
"This will be slowest in those market segments which have a high installed base," they continue. "However, we project a continual decline, increasing in slope. VDC projects that the architecture will disappear for all practical purposes within 10 years."
For more information contact VDC by phone at 508-653-3900, by fax at 508-653-9836, by post at One Apple Hill Drive, Natick, Mass. 01760, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.vdc-corp.com/.