There is no doubt the emergence of commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware platforms, Carrier Grade Linux, and management middleware have had a significant impact on the market for next generation network equipment. By enabling Telecom Equipment Manufacturers (TEMs) to readily assemble best of breed COTS components, a ‘jumpstart’ on the development of new Network Elements can be realized. But having standardized COTS building blocks is only a part of the puzzle. With the COTS ecosystem delivering components from multiple vendors, highly specialized in each area, the next challenge is efficiently integrating a complex mix of technologies while achieving the high reliability necessitated by all major operations. This is a daunting task, and one which is still in its infancy in terms of being truly addressed. Anyone who has attempted to create a fully integrated, modeled and managed ATCA platform can attest to the fact that it is a tedious, messy effort that can take up to 54 person-months to complete. Developing management software does not directly add value to the service providers and takes the focus away from the application deployment.