Montreal to assemble blade-based content delivery system

Canada will be assembly point of a new standards-based content delivery system for service providers resulting from an alliance of a German specialty server manufacturer and an American storage company.

Kontron, based near Munich and which makes Intel-based servers around the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA), said its Montreal division will soon begin assembling an iSCSI over 10Gigabit Ethernet solution using storage blades from Astute Networks of San Diego.

The targets for these bladed storage servers are network equipment manufacturers such as Nortel and Alcatel-Lucent, who build content management packages for carriers and providers. Sven Freudenfeld said the Kontron-Astutue platform will be built around Kontron’s 2U OM9020 chassis, which holds up to three Intel Xeon Core 2 Duo processors, and Astute’s 1.5TB iSCSI over 10GbE AdvancedTCA storage blade. Each storage blade has four hard drives, said Mike Heumann, Astute’s vice-president of sales and marketing.

The package can scale from the two-slot based version the companies say can support 300 standard definition movies to a redundant 14-slot system that supports 1,800 movies with 9TB of storage.

Providers are seeing tremendous storage demands from bandwidth-heavy applications including IPTV, video on demand and social networking, explained Freudenfeld.

The partnership came about when the companies felt there was something missing in mass storage for providers. The advantage of the Kontron-Astute solution is that it is built on an open standard and not a proprietary system, he said. In addition, because of the iSCSI connectivity, it doesn’t have the complexities of Fibre Channel server-storage solutions offered by competitors.

“To be successful in IPTV you don’t have time to develop a platform,” he said. “It needs to be ready to deploy.” The OM9020 solution can be connected to any media server or ad insertion software the customer wants. The partners will stress their solution also has the advantage of being pre-tested and evaluated.

The solution was to be demonstrated at this week’s NXTcom in Las Vegas. Performance benchmarks will be released there.

Heumann said the solution is now in the process of final testing. Pricing has not yet been set, but it will depend on the configuration of memory and storage the customer wants.

The OM9020 has supports Windows Server 2003, Wind River Linux PNE 2.6, Red Hat 4.0, and IPMI 1.5. It has a 48V DC power feed with an option for AC to DC power converter, plus hot-swappable and managed fans.

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