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August 2007 | Volume 10 / Nuber 8
Tech Score

The Carrier Grade Server Profile

In the past, the sole purpose of Carrier Grade Rack Mount Servers was to ensure highly reliable performance in some of the harsh environments of central offices and outside plants. Telecom equipment must be prepared for just about anything. In some locations, seasonal temperatures range from sub-zero to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity conditions can range from desert-like to tropical.

To ensure operation within these extreme environments, Carrier Grade Servers are often subjected to the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) design and testing process. NEBS is the most common set of safety, spatial and environmental guidelines for telecommunications equipment in the U.S. The NEBS equipment design requirements are described in detail in Telcordia documents:

• GR-63 NEBS™ Requirements: Physical Protection.

• GR-1089, Electromagnetic Compatibility and Electrical Safety — Generic Criteria for Network Telecommunications Equipment.

The NEBS concept was first introduced by Bell Labs in the 1970s and has been maintained since the Bell System’s 1984 divestiture. NEBS requirements are utilized all over the world for a host of commercial and industrial applications requiring reliable service continuity and integrity under normal and extreme operating conditions. Today, Carrier Grade Servers feature NEBS certification and much, much more.

Now that these reliable open standards-based servers feature longer life cycles and high performance computing engines, they are considered for a broader range of applications. Some of the applications leveraging these added features are Unified Messaging, Signaling Gateways, Services-over-IP (SoIP), and call control. The table shown provides a comparison of Enterprise, Network, and Carrier Grade Servers.

The extended life cycle is very attractive to application developers and OEMS in the IP telephony space. “Generally the NEBS-certified Carrier Grade Server market has grown 3 to 4 percent over recent years,” says Marvin Dubois, Intel Modular Communications Platform Division Product Manager. “But, we have seen tremendous growth in the network security and telephony appliance applications in excess of 25 percent per year.”

Intel’s most recent offering in the Carrier Grade Server space is a 1U dual core Carrier Grade Server which is NEBS-certified, the TIGW1U. Marvin says, “I am very pleased at the broad interest we’ve seen on this product. Having redundant DC power, hardware RAID 5 capability, and dual core performance all in a 1U server appears to be a winning combination.”

This high performance platform features 64-bit Dual core Xeon processors with improved performance per watt over previous generation Carrier Grade Servers. The system also supports I/O Acceleration Technology and dual channel fully-buffered DIMMs at either 533 or 667 MHz for maximum bandwidth. The platform also offers the flexibility of redundant AC or DC power supplies.

For higher density applications that require add-on cards for I/O, my company, Alliance Systems, provides a 6U platform that features solid processor performance with support for 16 cards. IT

Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

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