Intel, Sun to Tackle Telecoms

Intel will begin supporting Solaris 10 on its telecommunications rack and blade servers.

With a new partnership firmly in place, Intel and Sun Microsystems are looking to jointly enter the telecommunications market with a combination of Intel processors and hardware and the Solaris 10 operating system.

By the third quarter of this year, Intel will have two telecom servers that are certified to run Suns Solaris 10 OS, the two companies announced July 16. Currently, Intels telecom systems are certified only for Linux.

Starting July 16, Intel will begin selling its Carrier Grade Rack Mount Server TIGW1U, which originally launched in December, with a certification for both Solaris 10 and Linux operating systems.

In September, the company will offer its NetStructure MPCBL0050 SPC (single-board computer) with a Solaris certification as well. An SPC is a complete system build on a single circuit board.

Intels SPC is designed with ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture), and both systems meet Network Equipment Building System Level 3 and European Telecommunications Standards Institute standards. These two standards are designed to deal with the more rugged environments found in the telecom industry, as opposed to the conditions found in a typical enterprise data center.

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"We believe that telecom is a very strong vertical for the use and the strength of Solaris 10, and Intels architecture offers a very strong solution for these customers," said Keate Despain, director of marketing for Intels Modular Communication Platform Division.

Although Intel and Sun are practically neighbors, as both are based in Santa Clara, Calif., Sun refused to use Intel processors in its products for many years. The two companies did not cooperate with each other and occasionally took swipes at one another through the media. That all changed on Jan. 22, when the CEOs of both companies promised to begin working together.

In the agreement, Intel announced that it will now support Suns Solaris operating system and will encourage ISVs to support Solaris on Xeon platforms, thus giving Sun access to a much broader audience. The agreement also means that Intel will support open-source communities from Sun, including OpenSolaris, open Java and NetBeans.

In turn, Sun promised to develop x86 servers and workstations based on Intel architecture.

On June 6, the two companies made another major announcement: Sun unveiled its new blade architecture—the Sun Blade 6000 Modular System—that includes a two-socket system that supports quad-core Xeon processors.

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Sun and Intel have not yet announced a co-developed commercial x86 server line. Sun has developed x86 servers with Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices and uses the chip makers Opteron processors in its line of Galaxy systems.

The Intel SPC uses the companys dual-core Xeon LV 5138 processors, while the TIGW1U uses the dual-core LV 5148 processor. Intel does not plan to offer any of its telecom systems with quad-core processors until 2008.

With its Niagara-based line of Netra servers, Sun is already a major player in the telecom market, but company executives are looking for more opportunities to expand the reach of the Solaris operating system.

Herb Hinstorff, Suns director for Solaris business management, said the features found in Solaris 10, such as DTrace for administrators to view diagnostic information and Solaris Containers for partitioning, will complement Intels servers and processors, while adding extra value to its telecom products.

"With Solaris 10, Sun is offering an operating system with lower overhead, while offering higher performance and better availability," Hinstorff said.

The starting price for the TIGW1U server with Solaris certification is $1,898, while the MPCBL0050 SPC will cost $5,169, according to Intel.

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