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RealTime IT News

Sun Issues New Telco Blade Servers

LAS VEGAS -- Sun Microsystems today unveiled a new telecommunications blade server built to take the beatings of any kind of foul weather.

Unveiled at the CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas, the Netra AdvancedTCA (ATCA) blade server family includes models powered by Sun's UltraSPARC and AMD's Opteron chips. The machines can run carrier-grade Solaris 10 or MontaVista Linux CGE operating systems.

Sun said in a statement one of the core value propositions of the Netra ATCA blade family is that it offers customers the option to mix and match UltraSparc and Opteron processors and carrier-grade operating systems in the same server.

The machines, thin servers the width of a pizza box, also offer up to 30 percent more compute density and up to 10 percent percent more performance compared to Intel-based ATCA blade servers.

For most systems vendors, the telco market is a lucrative vertical as network equipment providers (NEPs) and service providers require more and more power to run routers, switches and other pieces of networking gear to ensure smooth communications around the globe.

VoIP and media-intensive applications for IPTV and video conferencing are just some of the offerings carriers and service providers could rely on the new Netra line for.

Sun is looking to satisfy those requirements with the new Netra ACTA line, designed as a more rugged class of machines than typical data center blades.

Rivals IBM and HP also make blades for telcos, but Sun hopes its mix and match approach of processors and operating systems will be the main selling point.

Sun could use the Netra ACTA line as a bold new product. While blade server sales are seemingly skyrocketing each quarter, Sun remains well behind both IBM and HP, which together account for almost 80 percent of blade servers sold each year.

Netra ATCA blade models include the Netra CT900 blade server, which fits 12, 1U blades, with 2 for failover in case of an outage; the Netra CP3010 blade, a dual-core UltraSPARC IIIi ATCA blade; and the Netra CP3020 blade, a dual-core AMD Opteron processor machine. and the SAF-compliant Netra High Availability Suite (NHAS) 3.0 and Netra Blade Management Suite.

To help manage the Solaris and MontaVista operating systems, Sun is offering the Netra High Availability Suite (NHAS) 3.0 software suite to customers who choose to use the AMD Opteron processor in Sun's Netra ATCA blade server.

The Netra CT900 ATCA blade server and Netra CP3010 UltraSPARC ATCA blade are already shipping, with the first units delivered to NEP and service provider customers worldwide. The Netra CP3020 Opteron ATCA blade and Netra High Availability Suite (NHAS) 3.0 are expected to ship in the second quarter this year.

Next up for Sun in the blade department: a 8-core, 32-thread Cool-Thread UltraSPARC T1 ATCA blade by end of 2006.

In related blade news today, IBM and Lucent announced plans for a new IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based solution to ensure the convergence of data, voice, video and multimedia technology over an IP-based network.

Wireless service providers can use this combination of IBM's BladeCenter with Lucent's networking software to offer customers rich calls combining video and data, group chat, multimedia advertising, instant messaging, multi-party gaming and personal information services.