Nortel, with IBM's help, unveils SOA strategy

Nortel this week announced a relationship with IBM to plot a service-oriented architecture and Web services framework for the development of communications-enabled applications and business processes.

Called Nortel's Communication Enablement strategy, the framework is intended to allow customers to integrate communications services into business applications through a tool kit or acquire communications-enabled applications directly from Nortel. Such applications will embed presence, location, identity, conferencing and other capabilities.

The framework is built on IBM's WebSphere Application Server, which Nortel will resell under an OEM arrangement.

Communications Enablement will be targeted at both enterprise and carrier customers. Nortel will also offer global integration services to support Communication Enablement-based SOA applications and environments.

Nortel plans to make several existing products available as Web services in addition to rolling out new products based on its SOA environment. Nortel recently unveiled Web services enablement on its SIP-based Application Server 5200 and Communication Server 2000 IP Multimedia Softswitch, which allow service providers to offer their enterprise customers multimedia communications tools for their Web sites, such as instant messaging, videoconferencing and presence. Nortel says it has also rolled out Web services capabilities on its contact center and advanced speech platforms.

Nortel is also developing a software platform to enable networked applications to run across a multivendor network. This product, which is slated for the first quarter of 2008, is designed to provide orchestration of real-time services in a multivendor environment across multiple domains -- enterprise, carrier, wired and wireless -- and allow for the development and integration of communications-enabled applications into customers' business processes.

In addition to IBM, Nortel says it will also line up other partners to support its Communications Enablement framework. Those partners are not necessarily resellers or developers for IBM's WebSphere Applications Server, said Richard Tworek, general manager of SOA and Next Generation Platforms at Nortel.

Tworek said Communications Enablement will not compete or be redundant with Nortel's alliance with Microsoft for unified communications. Under their Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA), Microsoft and Nortel plan to communications enable applications around Microsoft's Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.

Tworek added, however, that the arrangement with IBM is not exclusive and that Nortel can enter into comparable SOA/Web services alliances with other vendors.

"We don't see it as competitive with Microsoft," Tworek said. "It's a heterogeneous environment underneath.

"[Unified communications] enabling business processes is a journey," Tworek added. "[IBM's Lotus] Sametime and OCS can both be used."

Sametime is IBM's unified communications and collaboration platform.

Meanwhile, Nortel and IBM will market communications-enabled applications and Nortel's software-based foundation environment into select vertical markets. Nortel and IBM are initially targeting companies in the healthcare and retail markets.

Nortel has also established a Web services "sandbox" testing environment that allows customers to test Web services in a Nortel hosted environment. Nortel also plans to offer application hosting beginning in 2008.

This story, "Nortel, with IBM's help, unveils SOA strategy" was originally published by Network World.

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