Service Broker competitors unite in forum
Aepona, AppTrigger, Convergin, jNetX and OpenCloud set aside differences to promote technology that enables new services
Five competing vendors believe so strongly in their ability to enable new converged-service deployment ahead of IMS that they are teaming up to spread the word about their technology through the new Service Broker Forum. Unlike some other industry groups, the Service Broker Forum isn’t promoting interoperability, standards or specifications. Instead the five founding members -- Aepona, AppTrigger, Convergin, jNetX and OpenCloud – want to educate the service provider community to promote deployment.
“We realized that service providers are challenged today, trying to figure out the best way to maximize their assets relative to new services,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for AppTrigger. Some are waiting for IMS or another next-generation architecture, and others are still investing in legacy systems, he said. “All five vendors realize there is a better middle ground that enables you to maximize the existing resources on a convergence layer with the network. The answer is a new network element called Service Broker that sits between the services layer and the control layer and provides a traffic cop, managing the interactions with all the different applications and servers.”
The five vendors founding the Service Broker Forum aren’t the only ones creating service brokers, said Yankee Group analyst Brian Partridge. Tekelec, Telcordia and Alcatel-Lucent all have some form of the technology in their product portfolio. Nor do the five Service Broker Forum vendors approach the technology in exactly the same way, but they do believe the industry should be moving forward in service broker deployment to tie together their legacy intelligent network systems with new application servers in the IP and Web services world.
“I can’t think of a situation where competitors have sort of pooled marketing resources as such,” said Partridge, who is credited by the five vendors with encouraging creation of the SBF. “In this case, what I applauded them for was that they set their competitive agendas aside to raise the level of the lake, so to speak, to build awareness of the concept of the service broker and make people aware this technology is available in the market today and can support viable services that can use assets on both the [intelligent network (IN)] and IMS sides of the house.”
Service brokers sit in the network between the service layer and the network layer and allow services over any network – wireless of any generation, PSTN or IP-based – to access resources sitting in legacy IN-based elements such as service control points (SCPs), IMS and session initiation protocol (SIP)-based elements, advanced application servers for Web services, and newer service delivery platforms, said Michel Arrede, marketing director of jNetX. Service Brokers can enable services to interact and applications to connect, Arrede said, enabling service providers to link their legacy IN architecture with newer resources.
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