IBM Brings Blades to Telcos

IBM's JS20 blade is now available in the BladeCenter T chassis, which can operate in physically harsh conditions.

IBM is expanding its blade server offerings to the telecommunications industry.

At the Supercomm show in Chicago Tuesday, IBM is announcing that its JS20 blade, running on its PowerPC 970 chip and supporting Linux and the companys Unix variant, AIX, will now be available in the BladeCenter T chassis.

The chassis is NEBS (Network Equipment Building Standard) Level 3 compliant, said Juhi Jotwani, director of BladeCenter Alliances for IBM. NEBS is a key standard for telecom systems that operate in physically harsh conditions.

Having the Power-based JS20 available increases the options for telecom customers, Jotwani said. Until now, the BladeCenter T—which was unveiled in March 2004—ran blades powered by Intel Corp.s Xeon chips.

Eventually IBM will bring its LS20 blade—which runs on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s 64-bit Opteron server—to the BladeCenter T platform, Jotwani said.

In addition, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., is teaming with such vendors as Motorola Inc. and Fujitsu Siemens Computers to integrate high-availability middleware onto its Integrated Platform for Telecommunications. The IPT integrates carrier-grade Linux software onto the systems and chassis as well as IBMs Director management software.

The middleware enables the servers to interface with a variety of different systems, Jotwani said. The move also is important because it brings companies like Motorola and Fujitsu Siemens—which tend to build software for its own platforms—into the BladeCenter T fold, she said. The middleware is available immediately on the platform.

In addition, Motorola is developing a voice-over-IP blade for the platform.

SBS Technologies Inc. and IBMs Engineering and Technologies Services also are developing an AMC (advanced mezzanine card) carrier blade for the BladeCenter T platform that will support industry-standard, network-intensive applications, such as wireless and signaling gateways, Jotwani said. In addition, the new blade will expand the network interfaces IBM can bring to the telecom industry, she said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about new features in IBMs BladeCenter platform.

The growing number of Next Generation Network applications are demanding more bandwidth, Jotwani said. The new AMC will enable the telecoms to better handle that demand.

Though IBM has been in the telecom space for years, Jotwani said the company is using the BladeCenter T to take advantage of a shift from propriety platforms to industry-standard technology. The space has long been dominated by the likes of Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

"Its definitely moving from proprietary to open [platforms]," she said.

Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research, said given Suns dominance in the telecom space, it was important for IBM to offer something completely different.

"Theyll basically be able to bring an NEBS-compliant enclosure to the telcos and populate them with traditional blade servers," said King, in Hayward, Calif.

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