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Entone goes off-the-shelf with new VOD server


Entone today announced that it has collaborated with HP to launch what it claims is the world’s highest performing video on demand server that also is built on standard processors.

The new Entone StreamLiner XL software, which runs on a 64 processor HP Integrity Superdome server running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 lets carriers run up to 27,400 simultaneous MPEG-2 video streams at 3.75 Mb/s per stream (more than 50,000 streams at 2 Mb/s for those using MPEG-4 compression). Total throughput for the single service is more than 100 Gb/s.

Despite the capacity, Entone is marketing the new platform on a total cost of ownership basis, noting that building it on standard processors and servers slashes both capital and operational expenses.

“To date, is you wanted the high end carrier class platforms, you really had highly specialized proprietary server platforms,” said Steve McKay, CEO of Entone. Steve McKay, CEO of Entone. “This is the byproduct of 12 to 18 months of collaboration between Entone and HP and really debunks some myths. What has occurred is that Moore’s law taken over and eclipsed what specialized guys used to have.”

Entone’s StreamLiner architecture gives carriers the option of RAM, SCSI, and SATA storage, allowing it to scale from small system deployments of hundreds of streams to those involving hundreds of thousands of streams. That combination is key to bringing down total cost of ownership, McKay said. “What we’re really excited about it is that it certainly debunks the myth that you have to go with a super specialized platform to achieve this kind of performance.”

Competitors, though, say using the mix of technology isn’t necessarily proven. Broadbus, which will be making its first appearance at the Telco TV show this week, believes it’s use of DRAM gives it a significant advantage, according to Vin Bisceglia, Chairman and CEO of the company.

“The reason that most of the world’s leading video operators are moving to out platform is that it’s the most dense available,” he said. “Were built around solid state DRAM and we really think we have a huge lead competitive with this technology.”

Entone, however, is counting on its HP relationship to also bring costs down to the point where larger U.S. carriers may be interested, McKay said. SBC, Verizon and BellSouth all have indicated they plan to offer large libraries of video on demand, though none has gone public with their particular technology choices.

“If you look at the largest IPTV deployments last year we were the widest deployed,” he said, pointing to PCCW in Hong Kong as one of the most significant. Stateside, the company has deployed mostly with independent telcos such as Consolidated Communications in Matoon, IL.

Having HP as a partner also brings a certain amount of credibility and heft, McKay said.

“What this does is it allows Entone to go to the largest carriers in the world alongside a service organization that none of the smaller guys can touch,” he said.


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