IBM Bundle Targets Telecom

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2004-06-28

IBM is expanding its bundled technology offerings to the telecommunications industry with new integrated packages that include Linux and middleware on its BladeCenter T systems.

The Armonk, N.Y., company said its goal is to bring standards-based technology into a space dominated by Unix-based offerings from such competitors as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

At the Supercomm show last week in Chicago, IBM announced its Integrated Platform for Telecommunications, which includes the BladeCenter T blade servers loaded with an integrated Linux operating system from Red Hat Inc. or Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux division. The blade server features a ruggedized chassis designed especially for the telecom industry, officials said.

IBM also unveiled the Integrated Platform for Telecommunications-Extended Offering, which includes IBMs WebSphere middleware, DB2 database technology, Tivoli management software and software from third parties.

The new integrated offerings come a year after IBM unveiled its BladeCenter T, which has a chassis that is compliant with NEBS (Network Equipment Building System) Level 3—an important standard for servers that are often housed in more hostile environments than those found in enterprise data centers.

The BladeCenter T system runs blades powered by Intel Corp. processors, but IBM officials said by the end of the year IBM will let the system also run JS20 blades, which run on IBMs RISC-based PowerPC 970 chips.

The BladeCenter T with the integrated offerings are due this week.

Also at Supercomm, IBM and Motorola Computer Group—a division of Motorola Inc., of Schaumburg, Ill.—announced an alliance aimed at bringing integrated, standards-based products to the telecom industry. As part of the partnership, Motorola will include IBMs BladeCenter, BladeCenter T and Intel-based xSeries servers in its application-enabling platform.

IBM has had its hand in the telecom space, mostly through back-end applications, but Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc. have been the primary systems vendors in that market with their Unix offerings. IBMs BladeCenter T is a good first step into that space, and the integrated bundles could be attractive, said Cindy Borovick, an analyst with IDC, in Framingham, Mass.

"Its a critical time because service providers will be looking around for key partners going forward," Borovick said.

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