IBM Lends a Hand to Telecoms with New Blade

Big Blue is launching several new blade offerings that are specifically geared toward the telecommunication industry and will help deliver IPTV, VOIP and security.

IBM is gearing up to offer new blade servers and switches that the company said will improve the ability for the telecommunications industry to offer voice over IP, Internet protocol TV and security.

The Armonk, N.Y., company announced Dec. 4 that it would begin to offer the BladeCenter HT system, which is designed to hold up under the rugged environments in which many telecom systems are housed.

IBM had previously developed eServer BladeCenter T servers in 2004. The newer HT models are being touted as a better way to deal with telecom products that demand more broadband processing power like VOIP and IPTV, said Bruce Anthony, the chief technology officer for IBMs telecommunications systems.

The new system offers a performance and throughput increase from 4GB to 40GB in each blade compared to previous blade offerings.

The blades have eight switching systems that include four 1GB positions and four 10GB positions. At a 12U (21-inch) height, 12 blades can fit into a single chassis, Anthony said.

In developing these new blades, Anthony said IBM was responding to and working with its partners in the telecommunication industry to provide more power and performance to support greater broadband demands in security, video on demand and VOIP.

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"If you look at something like Microsofts IPTV, it just eats servers for lunch and you need a ton of bandwidth to run this type of television network," Anthony said.

The new HT blades also meet Network Equipment Building System Level 3 and European Telecommunications Standard Institute standards, which are two important standards for servers in more hostile environments compared to those found in enterprise data centers.

IBM also rolled out an AMC (advanced mezzanine card) carrier blade that supports AMC cards that enable legacy WAN I/O transport, media gateway and signaling internetworking applications.

In addition, IBM is offering a NGN (next generation network) Gateway blade that will help support security applications and special purpose ports like a companys VPN.

Big Blue is also offering 10GB Ethernet switches for the BladeCenter HT systems. These switches, according to Anthony, will help in producing the 1.2TB performance across the system backplane.

The switches were developed in conjunction with Nortel Networks.

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The BladeCenter HT system will use dual- and quad-core Intel Xeon processors, as well as Advanced Micro Devices dual-core Opteron processors and IBMs own Power processors.

The BladeCenter HT system will be available in the second half of 2007. Prices on the equipment have not yet been established, Anthony said.

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