Unisphere Shoots for Service Creation
The product is an IP services platform that works alongside Unisphere's two edge routers, the ERX and the MRX. This new platform will put Unisphere -- and its new acquirer, Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) (see Juniper Nabs Unisphere for $740M) -- head to head with companies like CoSine Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: COSN), Network Equipment Technologies Inc. (net.com) (NYSE: NWK), and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), which all sell boxes specifically dedicated to providing IP services such as virtual private networks (VPNs).
The IP service creation market is a new one for Unisphere and Juniper. Juniper, which built its reputation in core IP routing, has recently made progress in selling its high-end edge routing products. Unisphere has developed a strong customer base for its edge routing and broadband DSL aggregation products. But neither company had a product that would compete with service creation boxes like the Shasta box from Nortel or the IPSX from CoSine.
The SDX-300B is a software product that runs on a Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) Netra server, the type of platform used by softswitches.
Unisphere already supports IP services, like different flavors of VPNs, as do its competitors CoSine and Nortel/Shasta. But the SDX-300B will provide an easier way for those services to be administered to service provider customers. Essentially, the SDX-300B acts as a policy repository and handles billing from statistics gathered from the edge router.
The SDX supports standards such as COPS, Radius, LDAP, and Corba, allowing service providers to tie the IP services into OSS environments and existing user directories. It enables service providers to created Web-based management portals that will allow enterprise users to dynamically change their services and provision new ones.
While there has been a lot of buzz about the potential of this market, the idea of enterprises outsourcing IP services like VPNs is yet to be proven. Service providers are just now starting to roll out managed VPN services (see Service Providers Jump on VPNs).
The new product is available today and is on trial at seven customer sites, although the company would not name them.
— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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