HP launches standards-based telecommunications push

Hewlett-Packard Co. on Thursday signaled its commitment to the Intel Corp. processor architecture and carrier-grade Linux for telecommunications infrastructure, announcing it will introduce a blade server based on those specifications as part of a new hardware, software and services strategy.

Infrastructure components based on open standards and Intel chips will help carrier equipment makers, who use HP computing platforms and software, support new carrier requirements more quickly and less expensively, said Joy King, director of network and service provider solutions marketing at HP. Carriers are demanding new capabilities such as push-to-talk and location-based services so they can bring in more revenue per customer, she said.

With the new strategy, called Advanced Open Telecom Platform (AOTP), HP won’t replace all of its existing telecommunications products with standards-based offerings but will invest additional money and people in development of those types of products, King said. She declined to describe the extent of the investment.

AOTP encompasses rack-mount and blade servers; carrier-grade Linux as well as alternative operating systems, such as Unix and Microsoft Corp. Windows; HP’s OpenCall network control software and OpenView element management software; consulting and integration services and a network of hardware and software partners, the company said.

An early deliverable of AOTP will be a blade server platform based on the ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) hardware standard, Intel 32-bit and 64-bit processors, and carrier-grade Linux.

The platform will ship to carrier equipment manufacturers next year, according to King. They will be able to combine network interface modules with blades for computing, storage and input/output in the same ATCA chassis. HP will provide its own blades for the system but may also turn to third parties to create other blades and integrate them into it, King said.

Intel Corp. has been aggressively promoting its chip architecture, the special carrier-grade Linux OS and ATCA as the foundation for future communications equipment. The new approach can replace traditional proprietary platforms that vendors such as Nortel Networks Corp. and Lucent Technologies Inc. have developed on their own.

At the Supercomm trade show in June, about 50 vendors demonstrated ATCA-based equipment, according to Intel. They included system makers such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Telco Systems Inc. HP, which says it sells infrastructure elements to Nortel, Lucent, Motorola Inc. and other major system makers, puts some weight behind the open-standards push.

Large, established vendors such as Lucent and Nortel are likely to adopt ATCA over the next several years, starting in low-end systems, to reduce their cost of development from the current practice of creating systems from scratch, The Linley Group analyst Jag Bolaria said in June.

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