At the Embedded Tech Trends event in January, one of the analysts presented a report on the numbers in the embedded market. We certainly couldn't argue with the data. It showed COM Express growing at a strong clip. The versatile, hugely successful technology is used in a wide range of applications and markets. PICMG 1.3 was expected to slowly decline, which is reasonably expected for a mature technology. The numbers for AdvancedTCA and CompactPCI seemed accurate, but the complete picture was not available. CompactPCI was expected to decline quite a bit. However, we know that CompactPCI Serial is growing rapidly. Since they were merged into one number, this very positive trend was not visible. In fact, the numbers for VME and OpenVPX were separated, with VME declining significantly and VPX picking up much of that loss and growing fast. Had the numbers been combined, likely there would be an overall soft decline.
AdvancedTCA (ATCA) and MicroTCA were combined as "xTCA" in the report. With the move to cheap "throwaway" servers, Open Compute, etc, the use of ATCA has declined in Communications applications. From the huge "Comms" numbers, xTCA is declining despite the fact that MicroTCA continues to grow. We'd like to see an additional statistic for "ex-Communications", where there is still likely growth for ATCA. Several Defense programs use ATCA and the recent expansion by SLAC in Physics applications will likely lead to more adoption in labs worldwide.
The PICMG team will approach the analysts in the coming months to request the numbers be flushed out. This will provide more data for the industry, but also show that subcategories of CompactPCI Serial, MicroTCA, and other technologies are enjoying healthy growth and innovation!