xTCA Scale Economics (Panel 204)
Managing Director, Signal Lake
606 Post Road East, Suite 667
Westport CT 06880
A key underlying issue in xTCA (Advanced Telecom Computer Architecture (ATCA) and
microTCA) is If xTCA economics are so good, why isn’t xTCA market growing faster?
Yes, it’s true that the penetration curve for any new technology takes time, typically five to ten
years for embedded computing packaging technologies such as VMEBus and CompactPCI
However, most of us have been disappointed at the rate of growth, particularly for µTCA.
Conversely: If the xTCA market isn’t taking off that rapidly, maybe the underlying economics
aren’t that good?
In a British Telecom presentation (Murray Cooke 9/25/07) stated
“Proprietary is less expensive”; “HP price differential for ATCA Carrier Grade vs c‐Class”
“ATCA volumes much lower than Enterprise IT, so unlikely to be cost competitive for
Scale Curve Concept for Electronics Economics
The scale curve concept is based on empirical observations (popularized by Boston Consulting
Group in the 70s)
For each doubling of scale, unit costs come down by a constant percentage margin
For a typical 85% scale curve, each doubling of volume results in a 15% reduction in unit
Based on this analysis, it appears that a significantly cost reduced version of microTCA offers an
excellent opportunity to be a high volume, cost effective packaging technology, a real market
winner for xTCA. Copies of the presentation are available at http://signallake.com/