RealTime IT News

HP Enlists More Linux Blades for Telcos

HP Wednesday said it would bundle Linux-based blade servers from a specialist provider into its own portfolio that targets telecommunications service providers in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.

Palo, Alto, Calif.'s HP said it plans to resell blade servers from Hillsboro, Ore.'s RadiSys . The lines support the open source Linux operating system. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

Built on 32- and 64-bit Intel processor architectures, the HP-RadiSys servers will be targeted for network equipment providers and mobile operators such as Alcatel and Nokia. They will be offered in conjunction with the HP carrier-grade Linux portfolio, which includes such services as engineering, lifecycle management, integration, installation and ongoing support.

Blade servers are single board computers that plug into a backplane and slide into a chassis. The backplane is the common interconnect for the blades and the other components in the chassis.

Greg Moulder, manager of solutions for the HP Network Service Provider Solution organization, said that while HP offers ProLiant blade servers for the enterprise, such products for the telco market have very specific requirements for central office operation. RadiSys makes servers are based on switched fabric architectures and will be available in a number of form factors including PICMG 2.16, AdvancedTCA and other configurations.

Moulder told internetnews.com that, when integrated with HP's OpenCall software, the systems provide large network and compute operators with platforms on which to build and run their applications, such as call routing, real-time billing and messaging. HP will also integrate its Open View network management products, he said.

The agreement is a sign of the growing interest in the small form factor servers as alternatives to procuring big machines to power computing resources. Many analysts argue that blade servers, while not nearly as powerful as their big brethren, offer advantages such as the conservation of power and floor-space.

Because computing power requirements for communications systems are usually large, data centers in this sector have traditionally been choked or clogged by the size and number of big, refrigerator-sized boxes and their respective cables. Blades were designed to eliminate this problem.

HP battles the same rivals in the blade server sector as it does big-box servers, such as IBM, Sun Microsystems and Dell in the increasingly lucrative market. All four companies boast strong blade server platforms and all three have been hammering home the concept of Linux as an alternative to Unix and Microsoft's Windows platforms.

According to recent research from IDC , x86-based blade servers running Intel and AMD processors are ranked as among the most popular in the category. The report found said more than 50,000 server blades purchased in the third quarter and more than 120,000 year-to-date. Linux-based servers have been the other high point, IDC said, posting 49.8 percent growth in factory revenues, year-over-year, while unit shipments grew 51.4 percent year-over-year.

"Strong growth for Windows and especially Linux-based solutions, modular scale-out server deployments of rack-optimized servers and blades, as well as a very good replacement cycle environment for servers purchased before the IT spending recession, are all contributing to exceptional market demand," said IDC analyst Mark Melenovsky.