At a recent Light Reading event covering MicroTCA I noticed a new class of customer for this highly flexible, carrier class platform. Companies developing carrier class systems have dominated audiences at previous events however at this latest event there was much enthusiasm from companies developing systems for enterprise applications.
Many of these enterprise manufacturers use custom form factors with custom boards requiring significant development resources. Customer requirements are changing daily and bandwidths are growing even for the most humble systems. For new platforms manufacturers are looking for a COTS solution that is both cost-effective and flexible with plug-in modules for networking I/O, processing and storage. With a wide range of AMC modules available, including some with Intel Core 2 Duo processors, MicroTCA seems like an attractive choice.
By throwing out the dual redundant components and integrating the MicroTCA carrier hub (MCH) onto the system motherboard, system integrators are dramatically reducing the cost of basic MicroTCA systems. These cut down systems have plastic casing and are cost-effective across many enterprise systems including IP-PBX, media Servers and multi-service business gateways.
Although MicroTCA was developed with high-volume applications in mind most implementations have been targeted to low or medium volume systems in telecom and military markets. This seems to be changing now with not only significant interest for enterprise applications but also an enthusiastic response from system developers to deliver a cost-effective MicroTCA solution for enterprise systems. This could prove to be the biggest market for MicroTCA.