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Oracle Takes Telcos From Silo to SOA

UPDATED: Oracle today said it has created a service delivery platform (SDP) to make it easier for vendors in the telecommunications space to offer Voice over IP (VoIP), mobile and multimedia applications.

The Oracle SDP was designed to help service providers, network operators and systems integrators move from inflexible, "silo-based networks" to a more modern service-oriented architecture (SOA) that blends emerging technologies with legacy systems.

Oracle President Chuck Phillips said on a conference call that SDP arrives at a time when the telco industry is under a lot of competitive pressure. He added that networks are converging around IP networks so that wireless and wireline are converging from the same companies so "everybody's getting into everybody else's business."

"Customer retention is an issue," Phillips said. "It's become easier for the consumer to switch services. The premium pricing telcos used to enjoy on the voice side is going away. They have to introduce new services, and to do that you have to be able to provision quickly."

The idea is to cut the time and cost to set up new voice data and integrated multimedia services on current and future IP networks, Phillips said.

To wit, Oracle SDP supports IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), the next-generation protocol for Internet-based communications, with its SIP application server, presence server and proxy registrar.

These components were acquired through Oracle's recent HotSIP acquisition.

The new offering also supports carrier legacy software based on Java API Parlay X Web Services standards, thanks to technology acquired through its purchase of Net4Call.

Phillips said HotSIP and Net4Call give Oracle SDP the technology customers need to accelerate the development of telecommunications networks that employ new and legacy technologies based on standards.

"The emergence of Voice over IP, multimedia and SIP, the pressure to roll these capabilities out quickly, is there today; it's not something that's going to take three to five years," Phillips said. "There is competition increasing as we speak."

Oracle SDP is running now on several customers' networks.

SDP will eventually feature call control and charging once the company integrates its purchase of Portal Software, which makes a billing and revenue management system for IMS and legacy networks.

Oracle believes the move is a natural one because, as Phillips claimed, the company sells technology and applications to over 90 percent of communications companies in the world today. Nine of the top mobile operators use Oracle's database while 17 of the top 20 communications companies use Oracle applications.

Oracle is also looking to up the ante with what Oracle Senior Vice President Thomas Kurian said is a more complete offering than those from rival providers BEA Systems and IBM.

BEA got a jump on IBM and Oracle last year with its WebLogic Communications Platform.

Earlier this month, IBM unleashed a new version of WebSphere Application Server with SIP support.