RealTime IT News

HP Flashes New Framework For Telcos

HP launched an initiative this week with an array of servers, services and hardware to tap into the burgeoning $219 billion communications industry.

As an addition to its Adaptive Enterprise strategy, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker said its latest offering is a new framework it calls its Advanced Open Telecom Platform (AOTP). The idea is to let network and service providers use any combination of HP's rack-mount, blade and custom technologies in their commercial and carrier-grade voice, data and media networks.

The systems and architecture will compete with offerings from a list of companies including IBM , Sun Microsystems , Computer Associates , and Veritas . But few besides IBM have gained a lot of customer momentum, leaving the door open for HP.

HP said its other differentiator is that its AOTP framework includes HP's various operating systems including carrier-grade Linux, Microsoft Windows, HP-UX and NonStop. The new architecture also includes platform testing and validation, consulting and integration services, global sales and customer support, and a large network of tightly linked solution partners.

As part of its investment, HP said it also plans debut a new telecom-specific Intel-powered blade server based on the emerging industry standard, called Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA).

In AdvancedTCA designs, blade and chassis form factors follow strict specifications for communications and are designed to meet the requirements of communications applications through 2010. This includes backplane capacity up to 4.5 terra bits per second, multi-protocol blade interfaces up to OC-768, RAM support beyond 8 GB/board, increased system availability and headroom for future increased performance processing.

The strategy could pay off big for HP since an estimated $15.7 billion worth of AdvancedTCA-based gear is expected to ship in 2008, according to IT market analyst firm In-Stat/MDR.

"Network Equipment Providers are seeking open standards based, flexible solutions," In-Stat/MDR senior analyst Eric Mantion said in a statement. "AdvancedTCA-based blades are a core component of AOTP and are huge step forward for the telecom equipment market. HP's decision to embrace this new standard will help to reinforce its position with the providers and will help them roll out new services."

HP is also counting on its network of more than 500 partners to spice up the hardware platforms, as well as ISVs to develop middleware and applications around HP's AOTP vision.

The HP AOTP hardware list includes commercial and carrier-grade NEBS-compliant servers in rack-mount and blade versions running Intel 32-bit Pentium processors (HP cc2300 servers), 32-bit Intel Xeon processors (HP cc3310 servers) and 64-bit Itanium processors (HP Integrity cx2600 servers).

The new framework's support software includes HP OpenCall network software, which has SS7 signaling, service control points, gateways, media platforms, home location register and home subscriber server. HP can also pre-install OpenView for network and service management; integrated service delivery platforms for mobility, and HP Digital Media Platform for rich media delivery.

In a related announcement, HP released new software applications based on its ProCurve product family.

Among the improvements launching this week, HP released ProCurve Manager, ProCurve Manager Plus 1.6 and Identity Driven Manager 1.0 to support the ProCurve Adaptive EDGE Architecture. Both ProCurve Manager and ProCurve Manager Plus 1.6 are advanced Windows-based network management tools, while Identity Driven Manager 1.0 is an application for ProCurve Manager Plus that automatically manages network access, applying security and performance settings based on user location and time.

The ProCurve Manager software is expected to be available free on Jan. 1, 2005, with an upgrade to ProCurve Manager Plus 1.6 expected to be available for an estimated $3,199 at the same time. ProCurve Manager Plus 1.6 is a prerequisite for Identity Driven Manager 1.0, which is expected to be available on the PCM Plus CD for an estimated $5,499.

"HP is the only major IT company that is at the crossroads of telecom and commercial information technology, and that's why telecom equipment providers continue to rely on HP as a single point of accountability for their complex needs," Sebastiano Tevarotto, vice president and general manager, Network and Service Provider Business Unit at HP, said in a statement. "The HP AOTP integrates our products and expertise, as well as our key partners, into a single, coherent program that creates tremendous business value for equipment providers and operators."