Hewlett-Packard Co announced last week that it would create a line of specialized blade servers for the telecom and service provider industry that meets the AdvancedTCA standard for telecom blades.
This AdvancedTCA standard is based on a prevailing telecom blade server standard that predates the idea of commercial blade servers from the late 1990s and has been used for about a decade. Telecom equipment makers and telecom companies that used to build their own gear have long since used blades, but they need designs that have a window of usage that spans a decade or more.
To this end, and to better compete against rival Sun Microsystems Inc, which gets a large portion of its server volume selling into the telecom market, HP has decided to build x86-based AdvancedTCA servers that support Carrier-Grade Linux and thereby chase some of the telco business that Sun has locked in with its baby Sparc/Solaris boxes.
Joy King, director of HP’s network and service provider solutions group, says that the company will launch the new servers as the Advanced Open Telecom Platform, which will include NEBS-compliant commercial-grade and carrier-grade servers based on 32-bit Xeons (called the cc2300s), 64-bit Xeons (called the cc3310s), and 64-bit Itaniums (called the Integrity cx2600. Linux will be the platform for these boxes, but where telecom companies require it, it will support Windows or HP-UX (on the Itaniums only for the latter). HP is also planning to push its NonStop fault-tolerant Unix boxes as back-end systems for this switching gear. The AdvancedTCA blade servers will also include specialized storage and switching blades. The first such machines will ship sometime in 2005.
In December 2003, HP inked a deal with RadiSys to incorporate that company’s PICMG and AdvancedTCA blade servers into HP’s carrier-grade server portfolio. It was unclear at press time if these RadiSys machines were what HP was announcing, or if it had decided to build its own boxes, or use a mix of HP and RadiSys gear.