The emergence of ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) and MicroTCA (Micro Telecom Computing Architecture) platforms, and with them, AMC (Advanced Mezzanine Card) solutions, represents a new era in which developers of telecom, military, medical and other processing-intensive applications are able to reduce internal Research and Development efforts, as well as manufacturing and operational expenses, by using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) building blocks from 3rd party suppliers.

This trend is driving a wave of new systems and architectures for a wide variety of applications: audio and video gateways for 3G, IMS and other networks, media servers, packet-to-packet applications, session border controllers, cryptography, lawful interception, and medical image processing, to name a few.

This paper addresses an internal design conflict typical for engineers in the prototype stage: dealing with high-level system issues without neglecting the detail-level issues necessary to ensure that the system will meet marketing requirements.