EmergeCore comes out in the open

Last month, Salt Lake City-based EmergeCore Networks announced that it has developed the answer to the demands of service providers looking for new value-added applications and services to retain customers and generate revenue.

The company recently shipped its first beta of the Reactor product line of open IP services switches that are said to allow service providers to become more competitive by offering a core set of service applications.

Included in the product line is the Reactor 3000 and Reactor 5000 models. According to EmergeCore, both switches offer an open IP services platform, quick revenue generation through rapid deployment of value-add IP services, the ability to scale for growth or scale in size as needed and ease of use and lower cost of ownership through equipment consolidation.

“Bandwidth has kind of turned into a commodity,” said Steven Clegg, president and CEO of EmergeCore. “We are looking for different ways to offer services that you can differentiate and make more money. There is a new category called open IP service and that is where we come in. The Reactor 3000 and the Reactor 5000 fully address people who say they need to be profitable, flexible and scalable.”

EmergeCore said that the Reactor switches do not limit customers to a small cluster of proprietary value-add applications that may not be best in class, unlike competitors’ products. The company said that being open allows service providers to offer their choice of applications and the ability to migrate more seamlessly to new applications as they become available.

According to Daniel Lee, EmergeCore’s CTO, each Reactor has 24 10/100 ports, along with two gigabit ports. Lee added that each device has the ability to expand the hardware out through PCI slots to enable easy additions of hardware features that the Reactor may not have.

“It is a Layer 4 switch merged in with a Pentium up to Gigahertz processor on the top end of it,” Lee said. “What this allows us to do is, if we want to add in an IP service, we can actually re-route based on port or protocol and re-route the service that we need. We can actually put a function into the top end of the box.”

Lee explained that the EmergeCore operating system is based on open operating systems including Linux and FreeBSD. He also said the Reactor line incorporates EmergeCore’s patent-pending FusionPort technology, which Lee said is a real-time layer that goes between the switch and the server and allows applications to co-exist on the same box.

However, the question, according to Norm Bogen, director of WAN infrastructure and services for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Cahners In-Stat Group, is whether being an open switch really matters.

“When people provision services, it matters,” Bogen said. “With an open switch, you have got third parties that can write software for it. With a closed switch, you are doing your own. In the world of PCs, open is better than closed. I’m not sure that in this particular case open is a huge advantage.”

Bogen did note that, open or not, the Reactor products enable service providers to deliver IP services and charge for them.

“I think this is an emerging product category. One of the things I have noticed is that carriers are having a hard time provisioning next generation services and charging for them,” he said. “If you can’t identify who gets what service and bill for it, you have problems.”

EmergeCore plans to release the Reactor products early next year and pricing is estimated at US$14,900 for the 3000 model and US$30,000 for the 5000 model. Details can be found on the company’s Web site at www.emergecore.com.