IBM aims security bundle, new blade at telecom space

Big Blue hopes its network management offerings will appeal to established carriers and new entrants alike

IBM is looking to increase its business with telecommunications operators with the unveiling of products, including a security bundle and a blade server, specially tailored to their needs.

The vendor made the announcements late Sunday in conjunction with two conferences taking place this week: Telecom World 2006, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Hong Kong, and TeleManagement Forum, taking place in Dallas.

As telecom operators provide more and more sophisticated services such as VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) and online gaming, they're moving away from in-house developed technology and looking to third-party vendors to supply them with wide-ranging management capabilities.

IBM is hoping its new offerings will appeal to established carriers and new entrants to the market, according to Scott Sobers, program director of the company's service provider industry. "They're all looking to lower costs, generate new areas of revenue and increase the quality of their service," he said.

IBM's Telecom Core Infrastructure Security Solution is a tightly integrated bundle of IBM and third-party software running on IBM's BladeCenter blade servers. The bundle allows telecom operators to monitor their networks and the traffic flowing over them to pick up early on anomalies that could signify security attacks.

The bundle will give carriers a "top-down, single pane of glass" view into the health of their network operations, Sobers said. Previously, carriers looking to obtain such insight into their networks would've had to integrate the different software products themselves.

The Telecom Core Infrastructure Security Solution brings together IBM's Tivoli Security Operations Manager and Tivoli Netcool with Narus' NarusInsight Secure Suite.

IBM acquired the Netcool technology through its $865 million purchase of Micromuse, which closed in February, and has bought five other software vendors with telecom expertise over the past 12 months. Just last week, IBM announced plans to buy network performance monitoring and service management software vendor Vallent. All these moves further solidify IBM's commitment to the telecom market, according to Sobers.

IBM has also made improvements to its Netcool/Precision and Netcool/Proviso performance management and availability management software, adding support for multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks, Sobers said.

The vendor additionally previewed a new BladeCenter HT blade server due to ship in the second quarter of 2007. IBM has designed the blade to meet industry recommendations such as the European Telecommunications Standard Institute standard as well to handle a variety of environmental conditions including high temperatures and electrostatic discharge.

IBM didn't provide any pricing details for its new offerings.

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