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IBM, DataPower Cut to The Quick at Supercomm

IBM has fashioned new blade servers to accompany its BladeCenter T chassis, a move to lure telecommunications vendors looking for more flexible and sturdy computing devices.

Telecommunications businesses require more hardy computing gear because hardware often has to operate undeterred in remote locations subject to unpredictable weather patterns.

Servers for telcos generally have to be certified under the NEBS compliance rule, a standard developed by the telco industry that qualifies equipment under extreme environmental conditions and requires specific levels of technological resiliency.

That is why IBM is going to offer BladeCenter JS20 blades -- based on IBM Power PC 970 processors -- in the BladeCenter T chassis, according to Juhi Jotwani, director of BladeCenter alliances for IBM.

The JS20 blade is designed according to the specifications dictated by both NEBS and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

A slimmer version of the server that runs AIX and Linux effectively, the JS20 blade will support 64- and 32-bit software packages for networks, high-performance clustering and databases. Just as important, the blades will consume only half the power of larger, cabinet-size servers.

"We've had requests from our telco customers and partners who are looking to use AIX-based telco applications like resource management and higher availability," Jotwani said.

BladeCenter T chassis with blades
Source: IBM

The JS20 blade will be available in July, starting at $2,259 for a blade with two PowerPC 970 processors and 512 megabytes of memory. The product should be another feather in IBM's blade server cap, which has a chokehold on 39 percent of the market, according to IDC.

IBM also gave its Integrated Platform for Telecommunications (IPT) software stack a boost.

IBM is now offering the software, which integrates Linux on BladeCenter T to fuel applications like Voice over IP , with high-availability middleware from Motorola, Fujitsu Siemens and Clovis. Motorola is also developing a VoIP blade for IBM's BladeCenter.

IBM made the announcements at the Supercomm show in Chicago, where several companies are on hand to tout their wares for telcos, a huge money-making market for high-tech businesses.

In related news, XML security, integration and accelerator outfit DataPower unveiled a new networking blade geared toward speed up XML content in IBM's BladeCenter T for telcos.

The new product should help service providers rout and secure XML Web services messages, according to DataPower founder and CTO Eugene Kuznetsov.

DataPower's XML-driving chips support IBM's various middleware products, including WebSphere, Tivoli, and resources from Big Blue's Autonomic computing endeavors. Kuznetsov said DataPower's hardware can support and help deploy service-oriented architecture services in a BladeCenter T chassis.

"Telcos are really waking up to the fact that having a Web services and SOAP-based message network is an area where they could offer a really high margin," Kuznetsov said.

The XML networking blades for BladeCenter T are the newest members of DataPower's product family, which includes the XA35 XML accelerator, the XS40 XML security gateway, the XI50 XML integration appliance and the XG4 XML chipset for OEMs.