ServersHP Shows Off 'Carrier-Grade' Attitude

HP Shows Off ‘Carrier-Grade’ Attitude

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About 25 years ago, Hewlett-Packard began making servers and networking products for the telecommunications industry.

HP informed telcos and ISPs Tuesday that its new ‘CC’ Linux server and partnership with Intel blows IBM and Sun out of the water.

Tuesday, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker reminded customers of that as it launched its latest carrier class rack-mount server.

The company calims its HP cc3310 is designed specifically for network equipment providers (NEPs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) that supply fixed and mobile operators and want to get away from custom, proprietary systems. HP Director of Carrier-Grade Server Christine Martino told that boils its choice down to Intel running Linux, which seems to be very popular these days.

“By and large the requests are for Linux with maybe a few requests for Windows,” Martino said. “About 80 [percent] to 90 percent of the customers we’ve talked to are either running Linux or are working on running Linux in the near term.”

The cc3310 builds on the higher end of the company’s two main models and is a NEBS-Level 3-certified rack mount server running Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 2.1. Configured with either single or dual Intel Xeon processors running at 2.4 GHz; 12 gigabytes of DDR266 SDRAM DIMM memory, the servers support up to two redundant, hot swappable disk drives and 292 gigabytes of disk storage. The units are made to cover several workloads at once: media gateways, signal gateways, media servers, and softswitches. The servers also come with either an AC or a DC option.

HP says customers will be able to order in July with shipping in August. Prices have not yet been determined. The units also come with and extended sales life (three years) and support life (eight years). Martino said that is that is significant because it could take an equipment provider that long to develop applications for its customers.

The new servers round out HP’s portfolio of carrier grade systems to ones based on Linux and Intel Xeon processors; HP NonStop servers; HP PA-RISC platforms running HP-UX; and HP ProLiant servers, based on Intel processors running Linux and Windows.

As first reported two-years ago, Intel and HP have been working on a carrier-class line of products based on the Itanium chip family. HP says its cc-series servers running the 64-bit processors are expected next year.

“It will become the flagship of our product line, but there will be co-existence with Xeon,” said Martino.

Building on that relationship, HP also said it has joined Intel’s Communication Alliance (ICA) as a premier member. The membership signals the chipmaker’s move to advance on IBM and Sun and other proprietary systems to migrate to a system on IA – Linux.

“The telco server industry is really seeing a shift away from some of the proprietary systems that were for so long the staple upon which carriers relied,” In-Stat/MDR senior analyst said. “As both the processors and operating systems found in enterprise markets have risen to the reliability standards the service providers have come to expect — specifically for x86-based CPUs and Linux — the significant cost saving that these architectures bring are being looked at very favorably by today’s cost-sensitive telecommunications companies.”

While IBM recently introduced its carrier-class products for telcos and ISPs, it is based on blades. HP argues that kind of strategy is not the best route for data centers.

“IBM’s servers is not based on hardware standards — they have a design for the communication industry only,” said Martino. “True benefit from bladed architecture is that one that is based to create the ultimate solution for you.”

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