1/9/2003 - Motorola Computer Group, a part of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and a group of industry-leading communications platform and component providers announced an initiative called Compact Telecommunications Computing Architecture, or "CompactTCA". The objective of the proposal is to clearly define an embedded system platform specification, which combines several existing CompactPCI® specifications from the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG®) into a single standard.
Sponsor companies for the CompactTCA initiative include Force Computers, Motorola Computer Group, Performance Technologies, Pigeon Point Systems, StarGen and ZNYX Networks. The group expects to propose CompactTCA as a formal PICMG activity in early Q1 2003.
The key element of the CompactTCA specification is that it retains compatibility with most existing CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 products. CompactTCA ultimately combines several CompactPCI specifications into a single standard, ensuring interoperability and the high availability and scalability attributes of packet-switched technology in the proven, lower cost CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 form factor.
The proposed CompactTCA architecture complements AdvancedTCA by featuring PICMG 2.16 packet switching as the primary interconnect, mandatory system management, and elimination of the PCI bus for data transfer. The group will propose several enhancements that maintain backward compatibility with existing CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 products. Developers will choose CompactTCA or AdvancedTCA based on application requirements, and leverage common features to migrate applications between the two platform standards.
In addition, the CompactTCA specification will permit the use of optional auxiliary data interconnects compliant with PICMG 2.5, PICMG 2.17 and PICMG 2.20. Concurrent use of PICMG 2.15-compliant PMCs and PMC carriers will also be supported as an option.
Quotes from Sponsor Companies
"With the similarities between CompactTCA and AdvancedTCA, the two system architectures in principal are software compatible, which allows designers to use either for future systems," said Chris Williams, vice president and general manager of Worldwide Strategic/Product Marketing and Engineering of Force Computers. "With CompactTCA focusing on Ethernet as the backplane communication instead of the PCI bus, provisioning of high availability systems is greatly facilitated with respect to hot-swap, signal integrity and corresponding software support."
"Backward compatibility to CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 is key to the success of CompactTCA," said Jeff Rhodes, business manager of Motorola Computer Group. "The telecommunication industry has already adopted these standards and a wide variety of compatible products exist from multiple vendors."
"CompactTCA is based on existing CompactPCI/PICMG 2.16 specifications, so products exist now," said Jim Medeiros, general manager of the Computing Products Group of Performance Technologies, and PICMG 2.0 and 3.0 co-chair. "We expect both CompactTCA and AdvancedTCA products to support a wide spectrum of standards-based compute and server applications for years to come."
"The mandatory system management features of CompactTCA are a critical part of ensuring a solid, compatible base for high availability systems based on this architecture," said Mark Overgaard, president of Pigeon Point Systems. "The CompactTCA management architecture aims for compatibility with both: 1) the management framework for AdvancedTCA and 2) the key management facilities already defined in the PICMG 2.x family of specifications."
"Support for optional auxiliary data interconnects is a fundamental strength of the CompactTCA specification," said Tim Miller, vice president of Marketing and Sales of StarGen, Inc. "We are experiencing tremendous demand for StarFabric as a data plane interconnect in communication access platforms. Through compatibility with the PICMG 2.17 StarFabric CompactPCI specification customers can access the benefits of a StarFabric data plane while adopting the standardized system management features of CompactTCA."
"CompactTCA gives us a way to provide a solution even more robust than our existing PICMG 2.16 offerings," said Alan Deikman, chief technical officer for ZNYX Networks. "Customers need time-to-market and open standards, but cannot compromise on carrier-class features. CompactTCA allows our products to fill that need."
About the Companies
Force Computers was founded in 1981 and is a leading designer and worldwide supplier of open-standards-based and custom board- and system-level embedded computing solutions. Please see www.forcecomputers.com for details.
Motorola Computer Group, a business unit of the Motorola Integrated Electronic Systems Sector (IESS), is leading the innovation of intelligent building blocks for standards-based embedded computing. More information can be found at www.motorola.com/computer.
Performance Technologies is a global supplier of innovative, packet-based computing, communications and networking equipment to companies developing communications, industrial, enterprise and military applications. For more information about Performance Technologies, visit www.pt.com.
Pigeon Point Systems provides products and services that enable cost-effective management of standards-based platforms—CompactPCI, AdvancedTCA, soon CompactTCA—and is a leader in the definition of those platforms. Please visit www.pigeonpoint.com for more information.
StarGen is a fabless semiconductor company that has developed a new switched interconnect technology, StarFabric, for the communication and embedded industries. The technology benefits vendors of carrier and enterprise communication platforms for next-generation voice, data, and video networks. Please see www.stargen.com for details.
ZNYX Networks is the leading global provider of high availability embedded Ethernet solutions for CarrierClassTM systems. Featuring the OpenArchitectTM control plane software suite, ZNYX Networks products provide advanced high availability features extensive networking protocol support using an open standard Linux environment. See www.znyx.com. MOTOROLA, the Stylized M Logo are registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.
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