aTCA, cTCA Blades to Cut CompactPCI SBC Opportunity by 40%

4/15/2003 - The advent of embedded Blades, particularly those that conform to the new PICMG aTCA and cTCA specifications, will prevent shipments of CompactPCI Single Board Computers from ever recovering to the peak levels seen in year 2001, according to Venture Development Corporation (VDC).

Combined data from VDC's Blades and Single Board Computers studies indicates that year 2007 shipments of CompactPCI SBC are likely to be only sixty percent of levels that would have been expected without the impact of Blades.

Preliminary data indicates that, ignoring the effect of Blades, shipments of CompactPCI might have returned to 2001 levels part way through year 2004. However, as the telecommunications market recovers, Blades will emerge as the solution of choice. One out of every two aTCA or cTCA Blades shipped into Telecommunications will displace a CompactPCI SBC shipment. As a result, VDC expects that actual shipments of CompactPCI SBCs will never return to the year 2001 levels, and will actually start to decline toward the end of 2005.

"This only makes sense," said Eric Gulliksen, VDC's Embedded Hardware Practice Director. "When the telecom industry collapsed, TEMs and service providers limited their purchases to maintaining existing systems and capacities. As demand increases and purchases recover, these firms are not going to want to continue to buy more of the same old stuff. Rather, they will elect to go for increases in density and bandwidth which, in this space, means that they will be buying Blades and Blade-based systems."

"True Blades are slot cards for passive backplane systems that do not carry a shared data bus, like PCI, onto the backplane," Gulliksen continued. "Communication between boards in a Blade-based system takes place entirely over a switch fabric." Single Board Computers conforming to specifications like PICMG 2.16, 2.17, 2.18, et. al. do carry the shared bus onto the backplane. VDC considers these to be "transition steps" between conventional SBCs and Blades, and groups these shipments with those of traditional, non-fabric-enabled, CompactPCI SBCs.

About VDC
Founded in 1971, VDC is a technology market research and consulting firm that specializes in industrial and commercial electronics, computing, communications, software and power systems markets.

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