Hewlett-Packard is gearing up to help drive telecommunications networks toward standard hardware and a hardened version of Linux following HP's acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp., which bolstered the company's offerings for service providers, an HP executive said Tuesday.
Carriers want to lower their costs and get access to a broader range of future services by migrating from proprietary service and management platforms to ones based on Intel Corp. processors and a standard development environment, said Sebastiano Tevarotto, vice president and general manager of HP's Network & Service Provider Business Unit.
The merger of HP and Compaq creates a strong lineup of systems for service providers, including the combination of HP's OpenView IT systems management software and Compaq's TeMIP (Telecommunications Management Information Platform) network management system. Integration of the two systems will be completed next month, Tevarotto said, and will let service providers deploy a unified management system for their IT systems and communications networks.
HP also makes OpenCall hardware and software platforms, which include SS7 (Signalling System 7) servers and platforms on which network infrastructure vendors create software for services such as SMS (short message service). These offerings complement platforms from Compaq for the delivery of services on telecommunications networks, and Compaq's NonStop servers, a high-end line acquired through its purchase of Tandem. Among Compaq's most widely used telecommunication products is an HLR (home location register) server that keeps track of a customer's identity and contracted services.
The company is participating in industry efforts to develop a version of Linux that is stable enough for use in carrier networks, and is working with Intel to drive the industry toward standard hardware, Tevarotto said.
Carriers today create their own services on top of systems and software from equipment vendors, who in turn often build their own software into computing platforms from vendors such as HP and Compaq. When standard Intel-based hardware and the open source Linux operating system form the foundation for these systems, costs will go down, Tevarotto said. In addition, equipment vendors and carriers may be able to draw upon a larger number of suppliers for software to integrate into platforms and services.
In addition to backing carrier-grade Linux, HP is developing products that will use ACTA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture), a new version of the Compact PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) interface for computing blades that go into networking platforms, Tevarotto said.