IBM Debuts New BladeCenter Platforms

At Supercomm 2004 this week, IBM will roll out the eServer
Integrated Platform for Telecommunications
(IPT), which includes software running carrier-grade Linux on the company’s
BladeCenter T machine.

The company began working on the IPT software, geared to propel such
applications as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) over a network, a couple
of years ago to provide a better computing experience for telecommunications
carriers and equipment manufacturers, according to Scott Firth, director of
eServer telecommunications systems at IBM.

Firth said the move stems from the transition of equipment manufacturers,
which traditionally built proprietary systems, that are now looking for open
systems based on Linux and hardware, such as blade servers

“That would give them the ability to rapidly develop new systems and give
the carriers the ability to bring out new services quickly,” Firth told

The new software platform is geared to run on the Armonk, N.Y., company’s
BladeCenter T, a blade server system
specifically for the telecommunications industry. Firth said IBM anticipates
gear manufacturers will “wrap their application” around the BladeCenter
T/integrated platform combo and deliver it to service providers and

IBM is also rolling out the IPT Extended Offering, an IBM Global Services
package that combines the BladeCenter T hardware and IBM WebSphere, DB2 and
Tivoli software, with services. This is a more complete package for
customers who need help implementing the new technology.

Pricing for the new IPT offerings, available now, varies according to
individual requirements.

Lastly, Firth said IBM will also offer the eServer xSeries 343, a
telecommunications rack server running dual Intel Xeon 2.4/533 processors.
The x343 is expected to be available in August with pricing to be announced.

Server vendors like IBM, HP , Sun Microsystems and Dell would do well to target the telco sector with new
blade systems.

For one, telcos have long had some sort of proprietary blade
system in their data centers, so they are comfortable with the form factor,
Firth said.

For another, communications applications, such as those for VoIP,
are increasingly converging in the data center, which is paving the way
for open systems, such as Linux running on BladeCenter T. Moreover, telcos
generally have more money to spend now than they did a few years ago after
the dot-com bubble burst.

Recognizing this convergence, IBM and Cisco have been
extending their partnership of late. In April, the two agreed to
bundle Cisco switches with IBM servers to boost the performance of data

The vendors went on to team up for
VoIP provisions in May.

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