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Our HPE Communications Solution Heritage

Telco_Editor

Author: Jeff Edlund, Chief Technologist, CMS, Communication Solutions Business

Have you wondered to yourself how HP seemingly burst onto the scene of Telecommunications in September of 2012 with the emergence and advent of Network Functions Virtualization? Have you additionally wondered how an IT giant would think it could be the upstart and disrupter in the next generation of solutions for the Communications Service Provider (CSP)?  Well rest assured it is no accident and it didn’t happen overnight. HPE and the companies that have been merged or acquired into our capability matrix have a rich, 80+ year history of not only shaping communications with point products but building the communications infrastructure of the world with our CSP solutions for the network.

Bill & Dave started the dalliance in communications back in the 30’s by creating the world’s first low cost, accurate and configurable audio oscillator.  What were audio oscillators used for you might ask?  Well HP oscillators were used to design, produce and maintain telephones, stereos, radios and other audio equipment.  Audio Oscillator equipment of the time were very expensive, $200 - $300 and most were designed for a fixed set of frequencies.  The HP 200A retailed for $54.40, was configurable and was the foundation that Hewlett Packard Enterprise was built on.

Fast forward through the next 30-40 years and HP continued is influence and dominance in the communications industry with frequency counters, spectrum analyzers, microwave equipment, atomic clocks for syncing signals and finally the innovation of some of the first mini-computers in the HP 3000 series of data processing systems.

Other IT processing companies were not sitting still and several of the companies that were destined to become part of the HPE family and story were bringing their own innovations to the communications industry. 

Digital equipment was doing its own work and making its mark on the IT world with it’s PDP and VAX technologies for data processing.  What many won’t know however is that Digital equipment recognized early on that general purpose computers such as the MicroVax could be used to disrupt the digital signal processing and voice platforms of the day that were very specialized with standard IT technology.  Using a combinations of powerful 32bit processing technology, DSP cards from partner vendors and new software written by Digital Equipment and partners the category of general purpose voice response units for telecommunications was created.

Tandem computers at the same time was using its NonStop technology to completely revolutionize Service Control Points and Home Location Register technology for the CSP network.  Early in mobile communications the database that held the subscribers entitlements of use on the network were held co-resident with the telephony switch. Tandem recognized an opportunity to disrupt the market and technology by applying its NonStop compute and database technology to centralize the entitlement and service control databases and remove them from the switch. This had the impact of radically reducing the cost for an individual switch as well as vastly improving the overall management and operations of the call entitlement and control environment.

HP was using its own technology in its recently formed OpenCall business unit to start providing next generation CSP network solutions on general purpose computers using standard programming languages allowing significant innovation to start to occur when the closed network appliances used in the network started to become programmable IT like computers.

Fast forward again and the innovation just continues.  Imagine yourself, in September of 2012, with 3 of your HPE colleagues at the conference facilities of Orange Telecommunications in San Francisco, preparing to present this crazy idea how IT processing technologies and Commercial Off the Shelf Systems have matured enough that you believe they can be applied to solving today’s, as well as future problems in the CSP network.  The term LCN or Light Core Networking is used to describe along with SDN (Software Defined Networking) how these technologies will transform the economics and agility of the CSP Network.  It was an interesting and exciting time as the 13 CSP’s present, led by David Clarke from BT, stopped our meeting, went to a side conference room, and wrote a paper that would be presented one month later in Darmstadt Germany initiating the NFV (Network Functions Virtualization) ISG (Industry Specifications Group) within ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).

HPE CMS not only was at the forefront of creating this new technology wave, we were also busy driving the standards within ETSI for this new technology.  Marie-Paule Odini, Chief Technologist CMS was elected the Vice Chair of the ISG Technical Steering Committee.  At the same time Marc Flauw, Chief Technologist CMS was recognized as being the top contributor to IFA013 & IFA015 in ETSI NFV (Interfaces & Architecture). 

Did HPE stop to assess the situation and wait to see what unfolded?  By no means!  HPE tapped into its innovative DNA creating the NFV business BU to help address the infrastructure requirements of this new method of network delivery in the carrier environment.  This was soon followed by the acquisition of ConteXtream to give HPE a carrier class SDN capability for our overall CSP portfolio of solutions.

This is an exciting era and new chapter for HPE.  Never would I thought I would see the dominant Enterprise IT company in the world, find a way to put together the voice processing knowledge and capabilities from Digital Equipment, with the Subscriber Data Management expertise from Tandem, couple it with the signaling and processing expertise from the Hewlett Packard Enterprise OpenCall business unit.  Then disrupt and transform the enablement infrastructure for these solutions with Network Functions Virtualization, modernize with Software Defined Networking capability from ConteXtream and design a new business specifically for the needs of the Carrier, Operator and Service Provider.

Well, it’s here! HPE Communications Solutions Business has the combined expertise of over 80 years of innovation in the communications industry that is being brought to bear solving the most vexing problems for the CSP.

What’s in store for the future of the next 80 years?  Who knows?  But I will predict two things:  First, in 80 years you will no longer be carrying a smartphone with you.  Second, HPE Communications Solutions Business will have shaped that future and will still be providing meaningful solutions to our customers.

HPE Communications Solutions Heritage.JPG

Learn more at our HPE CMS website, and follow us on Twitter at @HPE_CSP and @HPE_NFV.

Join us at Mobile World Congress Fira Gran Via, Barcelona to experience the journey to the Telco Cloud in Hall 3, and visit our OpenNFV partner ecosystem showcase in Hall 3.

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