Nortel Enters the Branch-in-a-Box Fray

The company's two new Business Continuity System 3000 appliances are aimed at enterprises looking to consolidate a range of services in a single device.

Nortel Networks on June 20 will make its first entry into the branch-office-in-a-box space with a pair of new appliances designed to help IT departments consolidate servers.

Nortels new Business Continuity System 3000 branch office and data center appliances are aimed at enterprises looking to consolidate a range of services in a single device. The appliances can implement file and print services as well as Microsoft Exchange e-mail, backup and more.

The branch office device "enables an IT-thin branch office architecture" that consolidates server infrastructure, print services, DNS/DHCP (Domain Name System/Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and WAFS (wide-area file services) functions, according to Al Lounsbury, senior marketing manager at Nortel in Ottawa.

It also integrates Microsofts Windows Storage Server 2003 and Windows Server R2 to exploit the security and Active Directory services in the Windows Server platform.

/zimages/7/28571.gifNortel adds onboard Symantec intrusion detection. Click here to read more.

That integration is key to helping IT departments comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Act requirements, said Phil Edholm, Nortels enterprise chief technology officer, in Santa Clara, Calif.

"If there are elements between the server and the user that arent part of the authenticated trust chain, then from a compliance perspective—SOX [SarbOx] or HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act]—the trust chain is broken and its hard to meet compliance rules. So we integrated into that trust chain so the appliances in the branch are part of the end-to-end Windows trust chain and part of the end-to-end authentication strategy," he said.

/zimages/7/28571.gifStartup NetDevices aims its branch-in-a-box at small branches. Read more here.

The BCS 3000 data center configuration is an outgrowth of Nortels market-leading storage extension business. It provides a mix of Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Wavelength Division Multiplexing and IBM Fiber Interconnect interfaces.

The BCS 3000 devices include a management processor and three application processors that could run functions such as a mail server running Microsoft Exchange, or Nortels SAN (storage area network) extension.

"The management processor is available no matter what else is going on, so you can force a reboot. Now youre talking about a high-availability server. Theyve really done some thinking around this," said Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner, in San Jose, Calif.

The BCS 3000 appliances are due in August.

/zimages/7/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.