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ATCA Market Resilient in Economic Downturn

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Analysts tracking the market for AdvancedTCA-based products say the economic downturn has had a relatively small effect on revenues compared with other embedded computing segments and technology markets in general. The latest forecast data from VDC Research Group indicates the total 2009 ATCA market will be comparable to 2008 levels, which reached $483 million. For 2010, analysts predict the ATCA market to experience a return to stable growth along with the general economy.

“While some embedded computing segments will contract by double digits this year, our ATCA market sizing research indicates that 2009 will be within a few percentage points of what we saw in 2008,” said Eric Heikkila, Director of VDC Research Group’s Embedded Hardware and Systems practice. “The key is the relative stability of investment in new applications, which has been a sweet spot for ATCA. Tier II and III Network Equipment Providers have broadly adopted ATCA and those are the firms producing much of the innovative equipment that is still driving new revenue for Service Providers.”

VDC Research Group’s interviews with more than 50 network equipment providers (NEPs) show that nearly 80 percent of Tier II and III NEPs are commercially implementing the ATCA form factor, while nearly 60 percent of Tier I NEPs are basing equipment on the standard. By 2013, VDC Research Group forecasts that a significant majority of these NEPs will source commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ATCA building blocks and integrated platforms rather than build in-house.

Products based on the xTCA specifications—which include the MicroTCA and AdvancedMC standards in addition to AdvancedTCA—are also garnering significant interest beyond the telecommunications industry. In the Military and Aerospace sector, for example, MicroTCA has become an increasingly popular option. PICMG, the standards organization that develops and manages the xTCA specifications, is working with members on a hardened, conduction-cooled version of MicroTCA intended specifically for use in military and aerospace applications. PICMG is also considering new ATCA specifications tailored to address the data center market.