Tech Vendors Target Telecom

IBM rolls out new security, hardware for carriers; Intel introduces new chips.

The telecommunications industry is getting a lot of attention from high-tech vendors.

Seeking to tap into the growing movement among telecom companies and ISPs to offer managed security services to users, IBM on Dec. 3 introduced a package of technologies aimed at helping carriers get their programs off the ground.

On Dec. 4, IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., rolled out new blade servers and switches aimed at improving the ability of the telecom industry to offer VOIP (voice over IP), IP television and security. For its part, Intel also said Dec. 4 that it is rolling out two new dual-core processors that are specifically designed to handle more rugged and hostile telecom environments. Intel also on Dec. 4 unveiled the dual-core Xeon LV 5138 and LV 5128 chips designed for rugged telecom environments.

IBM partnered with security software maker Narus on a set of modular tools that carriers can use to expand or establish security services. Called IBMs Telecom Core Infrastructure Security Solution, the product integrates the companys BladeCenter, Tivoli Netcool, WebSphere and DB2 products, along with Narus NarusInsight Secure Suite.

The IBM telecom security package allows carriers to monitor network traffic to detect emerging attacks, abuse and behavioral anomalies, helping them prevent IT systems breaches and stem attack propagation carried out over their infrastructure.

Enterprises are demanding that telecom providers and ISPs offer security protections as part of their licensing agreements, as a growing number of customers contend the bandwidth or services they buy should come with as many security threats filtered out as possible. As a result, carriers are adding security capabilities to keep customers from jumping ship and to create new revenue streams generated by add-on security services.

"Carriers and ISPs are actively looking to adopt technologies to prevent VOIP attacks and denial-of-service attempts because they realize that their job is to provide clean bandwidth to the customer," said Nick Trio, chief Internet architect at IBM. "To do that, they must look at all aspects of security, and they need something that tells them what is going on in their network—something that coordinates with monitoring of systems such as routers or anything else on the network."

IBM and Narus said security concerns in the telecom industry also are growing dramatically as carriers launch an increasing number of IP-based services, such as VOIP and Web-based TV programming. Among the types of security technologies being offered by carriers are services that aim to stop DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks and programs for stemming spam and other e-mail-borne threats.

Benefits promised by the IBM-Narus package include the ability for carriers to save money by filtering out attacks before they do damage, to blend security and traffic management responsibilities, to protect their infrastructure from being taken offline, and to build new revenue streams by launching managed security services.

IBMs new BladeCenter HT system offers a better way to deal with telecom products that demand more broadband processing power such as VOIP and IP TV, according to Bruce Anthony, chief technology officer for IBMs telecom systems.

IBM developed BladeCenter T servers in 2004. To develop the HT blades, Anthony said IBM worked with its partners in the telecom industry to provide more power and performance to support greater broadband demands in security, video on demand and VOIP. "If you look at something like Microsofts IP TV, it just eats servers for lunch, and you need a ton of bandwidth to run this type of television network," Anthony said.

Intels two processors will help tele-com companies meet Network Equipment Building System Level 3 and Communications Platforms Trade Association 1.0 standards for the more rugged environments found in telecom environments, said company officials. In addition, Intel launched a single-board computer—a complete computer built on a single circuit board—called the NetStructure MPCBL0050, which is the first AdvancedTCA blade server to be based on Intels Core architecture.