Oracle Introduces Converged Infrastructure for NFV

The company will show off the Netra Modular System aimed at service providers at Mobile World Congress next week.

data center

Oracle has created a converged infrastructure solution designed to support communications service providers in their effort to implement network-functions virtualization.

The software giant is introducing the Netra Modular System, which supports Intel-based Oracle Server X5-2 or the vendor's new Netra Server X5-2 systems, part of the larger Netra portfolio of hardened carrier-grade rack-mount servers designed for the telecommunications industry.

The converged system also supports blade systems and includes networking and storage to give communications service providers (CSPs) a tightly integrated solution that is easy to manage, reduces operational and capital expenses, and enables faster creation and deployment of services, according to Oracle officials.

The company plans to put the Netra Modular System on display next week at the Mobile World Congress 2015 show in Barcelona, Spain.

"Reducing costs, maximizing constrained resources, getting services to market faster—the business and IT challenges facing service providers, network equipment providers, and others in the communications industry remain ever-present," Raju Penumatcha, senior vice president of Netra systems and networking at Oracle, said in a statement.

The converged infrastructure is designed to give service providers the technology foundation for running their network-functions virtualization (NFV) environments, officials said. NFV and software-defined networking (SDN) are changing the way networks are built by taking the control plane and networking tasks like load balancing, border gateway protocols and firewalls off of complex proprietary gear and putting them into software that can run atop low-cost commodity systems.

Converged and integrated infrastructures are a fast-growing part of the larger data center systems market as businesses look for more efficient and cost-effective ways to deliver IT. Tech vendors from Cisco Systems and Dell to VCE and Hewlett-Packard offer integrated solutions that can be optimized for particular workloads.

For its part, Oracle has been building up its hardware portfolio since buying Sun Microsystems five years ago, focusing on Engineered Systems based on the SPARC chip technology and Solaris software from Sun and optimized for Oracle's broad array of enterprise applications. At the same time, the company also offers more traditional servers running on SPARC and Intel processors.

The servers offered as part of the Netra Modular System run on Intel's Xeon E5-2600 chips, though officials said support for SPARC will come in 2016. The Netra Server X5-2, introduced earlier this year, offers 10 times the number of processor cores, 1.5 times the memory and twice the storage capacity of its predecessor, according to the company.

Oracle officials also stressed the flexibility of the new converged infrastructure, saying it supports Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris and Oracle VM, as well as the OpenStack open-source cloud orchestration stack and the Hardware Platform Interface, an open specification for platform management. In addition, other Linux distributions and hypervisors can be used with the solution, and the Netra Modular System—while designed for communications customers and NFV environments—can also be used by any business in any industry, they said.

The integrated solution is the latest step in Oracle's push to grow its NFV capabilities. The vendor over the past couple of years has launched NFV management and orchestration tools, and last year also joined the OpenDaylight Project, which is working to create an open framework for SDN and NFV environments.