The family of xTCA standards--the Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA), MicroTCA, and Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC)--are as familiar as, well, family to the major network equipment vendors and their component suppliers. Developing and clarifying these standards in the interests of creating an environment encouraging the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to build networks may have seemed like the hard part, and it was. In fact, it has taken most of the opening decade of the 21st Century to complete this phase.
But, the job is not over yet, and as the entire telecom industry deals with the effects of the recession and accompanying budget belt-tightening, xTCA concepts need a bit more fine-tuning to carry them the rest of the way toward the sector growth that has been expected for some time. One of the most important areas where that fine-tuning needs to occur is interoperability. The xTCA community needs to make it as easy as possible for network operators and their vendor partners to pursue and fully exploit COTS strategies.
Making that interoperability happen is no small task, as there are a number of different component players involved. The component makers' network equipment manufacturer customers want to be sure they can benefit from the unique capabilities and benefits of the different component suppliers. But, in the interests of saving valueable time and money, the network equipment manufacturers also have a basic need to be able to use standardized interfaces and processes in incorporating those components. The challenge to make sense of both sides of this equation has been taken up by the Communications Platforms Trade Association (CP-TA).
The CP-TA is working with other xTCA groups to clear interoperability hurdles and get xTCA closer to that golden moment. To hear more about how the xTCA market continues to evolve, and how the CP-TA and other groups are addressing interoperability and other issues, be sure to check out our webinar "Fine-tuning xTCA" tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET. You can register here. IDC analyst Lee Doyle will present a market update, and you'll get the rare opportunity to hear from the CP-TA, PICMG and the SCOPE Alliance all in one sitting. xTCA's big day is not far off, and these groups and their efforts hold the key to releasing much of its value.