HP has announced the expansion of its HP BladeSystem c-Class portfolio with a new carrier-grade version optimised for the needs of telecom service providers and network equipment suppliers.

The HP BladeSystem Carrier-Grade Platform provides a cost-effective and flexible foundation for wireless and wired infrastructure – delivering the high levels of reliability and performance required by the telecom industry.
According to data from the industry-analyst firm IDC, HP’s blade servers lead the industry with 42,1% market share worldwide measured by revenue. In the third quarter of 2007, HP’s blade server revenue grew 79,6% year over year.
“As telecom and enterprise environments converge, many service providers see real advantages in a single server family that can support both their telephony and IT needs,” says Lee Doyle, group vice-president, network infrastructure & security products a, IDC. “HP has a strong footprint in both worlds, and its dual expertise is reflected in the new HP BladeSystem carrier-grade platform.”
Service providers will be able to deploy the carrier-grade BladeSystem platform in the IP-based (Internet Protocol) next-generation networks they are building. Examples include: Intelligent Network (IN) elements, Internet Multi-Media Subsystem (IMS), service delivery platforms, security systems, media servers, digital television (IPTV) platforms, and messaging (SMS, or texting).
At the same time, they can deploy the enterprise-class version across a range of applications in IT data centres and in operations and business support systems (OSS and BSS), such as: network management and service assurance, billing, revenue assurance, customer care, business intelligence and fraud management.
“HP delivers and supports a broad array of telecom software, services and architectures, and it’s all built on proven HP carrier-grade hardware and a global supply chain of support,” says Andrew McNiven, industry standard servers business unit manager at HP. “HP has a 30-year track record in this industry, and this new BladeSystem platform again demonstrates the value of our experience in both telecom and IT.”
The HP BladeSystem Carrier-Grade Platform is expected to be available worldwide in January at the same price of equivalent commercial HP BladeSystem enclosures and blades.
The HP BladeSystem Carrier-Grade Platform includes all the key features of the commercial version:
*  To cut costs and integration time, the HP BladeSystem c7000-cg enclosure consolidates into a single chassis the telecom and enterprise infrastructure, such as cables, power supplies and fans, networking, redundancy and other components. The enclosure supports up to 16 server blades and adds useful features that save maintenance time, reduce energy costs and minimise risk by simplifying change.
* HP BladeSystem BL460c-cg server blade provides high-performance computing with reliability and energy efficiency. The 2P server blade combines dual-core Intel Xeon series processor performance with greater memory capacity, hot plug SAS drives, simultaneous support of multiple I/O cards, and enhanced remote management.
* HP Virtual Connect architecture simplifies connections to local-area network and storage-area network environments, enabling administrators to wire once, then add, replace and recover server resources on the fly. It further minimises complexity by reducing the number of network cables up to 94 percent. Virtual Connect is available in Ethernet or Fibre Channel options.
In addition, it is designed to meet the specific requirements of carrier-grade environments:
* NEBS Level 3 rack certification – a telecom industry standard that ensures hardware platforms provide high levels of reliability in all conditions: temperature, humidity, fire, earthquake resistance (seismic rack), handling, airborne contaminants and acoustics;
* Power supply – NEBS-compliant – 36 volt to 72 volt direct current for central office application;
* Product lifecycles – extended three-year product sales, which exceed norms of 18 months for commercial IT servers.
Industry standards are important for service providers that are evolving their telephony and IT networks to be more modular, scalable and flexible. HP is an active participant in the Carrier Grade Linux forum, and the HP BladeSystem Carrier-Grade Platform supports both RedHat RHEL 5.x and Debian GNU/Linux with HP Telco Extensions, an official, carrier-grade Linux for which HP provides extensive service and support offerings. HP will also support other Linux distributions on a case-by-case basis.