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Sun Chats up Network Middleware

Sun Microsystems is setting the stage for its next phase of IP services and blade servers with some key partnerships.

The company said it is teaming up with network middleware providers jNetX and Open Cloud to help launch Sun's new IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) services. Sun said it is marketing the platform to service providers and network equipment providers who are combining data, voice and mobile network technologies using an IP-based infrastructure.

Sun is one of several companies whose ambition is connecting people to the Internet, free from dependence on the telephone and cable companies. The company is demonstrating its IMS services at the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans this week.

Sun is also using the partnerships to launch its next-generation Netra Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) blade platform strategy. Sun said its next Netra server, which is due at the end of the year, will run on either SPARC or Opteron processors and support both Solaris 10 and Carrier Grade Linux operating systems.

Sun's current NEBS Level 3-certified Netra rack and PICMG (PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group) standard blade servers are used by nine out of 10 leading network equipment providers, the company said.

Both jNetX and Open Cloud are JAIN (Java APIs for Integrated Network) Service Logic Execution Environment (JAIN SLEE) providers that Sun said can help speed up that process with their support of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) , SS7 and other network protocols.

The company said its partnerships will help customers build a Java-based, carrier-grade service creation and execution environment for 2.5 GPRS , 3G and 3GPP2, as well as existing public fixed telephone networks.

"They both have a set of resource adaptors for protocols that creates a carrier-grade app server for Java-based communications," Kirk Mosher, senior product line manager in Sun's Netra Systems Group, told internetnews.com. "What that does is allows different types of application servers in that environment with a common management infrastructure and a high availability framework. For example, you can have packet switches talking to circuit switches and generic SIP talking to the network itself."

In related news, Sun said it has added 34 independent software vendors (ISV) that have announced plans to port a wide range of VoIP and telecom applications to Sun's Solaris 10 operating system.

The list includes a majority of Asia-based firms, such as Lenovo, Ulticom, Veraz Networks and VoiceGenie.

Rich Schaefer, a marketing manager in Sun's Telco group told internetnews.com that the latest batch of ISVs is interested in specific Solaris 10 features, such as in-kernel support for the Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) and SIP, as well as unique features, such as Solaris Containers and Predictive Self-Healing.

"We've been able to get this out very quickly with the help of our '10 Moves Ahead' promotion for Solaris. Or as we inside Sun call it, 'handholding the ISV through the port,'" Schaefer said. "To get their porting done, we have resources to support the ISVs all the way from free Opteron hardware to software support."

In addition, Schaefer said many providers are cozying up to Solaris 10 since it supports current IPv6 specifications and APIs.