White Paper: AdvancedTCA Platforms - Building Blocks vs. Integrated Communications Servers
A growing trend among network equipment providers (NEPs) is to define a common infrastructure platform as the foundation for a broad category of applications. Increasingly, this platform is specified with open, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and standards-based high availability middleware.
Proven advantages of this strategy include time-to-market (when compared with in-house platform development); R&D efficiency; technology choice from a broad set of vendors; and lifecycle maintenance savings. Once the decision has been made to outsource platform development using open standards based hardware and software, the next choice is whether to procure fully integrated systems or to integrate building blocks to create the final platform.
The AdvancedTCA standard was conceived to define a specification which would allow products from different vendors to interoperate in a platform capable of meeting the rigid requirements of the telecommunications central office environment. It is therefore, theoretically possible to procure ATCA compliant building blocks from different vendors , plug them together and create an application-ready platform. However, in practice, things are never this easy.