At the ATCA Summit 2012 in California, it was evident that 40G AdvancedTCA® solutions are ready for mass deployments, and that the demand for 40G switching blades is growing. Few ATCA solutions providers presented 40GE solutions in the 2011 show. Telco Systems, a pioneer in ATCA solutions, was among the few leaders to present such products, including the release of its award winning T-ATCA404 switch blade. With the completion of the 40G PICMG specification in 2012, more 40GE capable elements (blades, chassis and others) have been introduced. One interesting example is payload blades. We expect to see more of the market followers introducing new products that will be released only towards the end of 2013/beginning of 2014.
In the last year we’ve seen our 40G blades being used in a variety of applications, but generally speaking, it seems that 40G systems get most of the attention in two main verticals – mobile infrastructure (mainly LTE), and high-speed, high-throughput dataCom (mainly in the cloud/data center).
Mobile infrastructure has been going through major changes with the introduction of new technologies that are designed to allow mobile operators to overcome the need to offer high-bandwidth solutions. LTE deployments have been ramping up this year, with TEMs (Telecom Equipment Manufacturers) focused mainly around the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Node B, relying on ATCA systems and blades to provide the building blocks for the network.
As data centers become bigger and bigger, and throughput needs continue to increase, it seems that there is a growing need for a smart gateway to perform Deep Packet Inspection (DPI), while supporting firewalls, traffic analysis, and load balancing in the cloud, between the clouds, and between the cloud and the access network, providing an interesting opportunity for 40GE ATCA platforms.
The Summit also provided a stage for discussions regarding 100GE ATCA systems future direction. While it looks like 100GE backplanes, at the moment, far from being ready (not expected to perform until 2015), the need for 100GE uplinks required in the blades look to be approaching faster.