IBM, Cisco team on content delivery

IBM and partners will unveil at the Supercomm trade show in Atlanta this week an integrated system for carriers and organizations that want to manage and distribute multimedia content.

The package is designed to make it easier and less expensive for enterprises or service providers to get a content network off the ground. It can bring together database, transaction, portal and storage software from IBM, network software and equipment from Cisco Systems and streaming software from Media Publisher (MPI).

In most cases today, building a content network requires a lot of custom integration work, according to Keith Myer, a marketing management executive for the digital media group of Armonk, New York-based IBM. The Digital Media Delivery Solution (DMDS) is a pre-integrated system in which that work has been done up front, he said.

Most implementations of DMDS are likely to be in enterprises, Myer said, though a service provider could use it to set up an internal content network that hooks up with the Internet at its edge. Organizations can use DMDS to distribute marketing resources, training videos and other multimedia content to a variety of devices over network connections of different speeds, he said.

The system consists of several parts.

IBM DB2 Content Manager software is designed to manage unstructured objects in a DB2 database. For example, it can use contextual information to help an employee find a particular piece of video content, such as footage of two particular people in a certain kind of setting, Myer said.

IBM WebSphere Digital Media Enabler can also be used to handle commercial transactions such as pay-per-view purchases or keep track of which employee has downloaded what content from the system. IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager handles storage and transfer of the content. IBM eServers also are included with DMDS.

Cisco, in San Jose, California, provides software and network equipment for distributing the content. A base configuration of DMDS includes the software for Cisco's ACNS (Application and Content Networking System), which runs on its ECDN (Enterprise Content Delivery Network) hardware. Customers can then choose what Cisco hardware to deploy with it, according to Cisco. Also included in DMDS is MPI software for scheduling and streaming the content.

Other components can include WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Portal or WebSphere Commerce Server. IBM Global Services can provide planning, implementation and testing of the system, according to IBM.

A base version of DMDS configured for a small or medium-sized business costs about US$300,000, according to IBM. It is available now.

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