Oracle Rolls Out Sun Netra 6000 System for Telecoms

Oracle is unveiling the Sun Netra 6000, a modular system designed for telecommunications companies. The NEBS-compliant Netra 6000 is the latest example of what Oracle wants to do with Sun's hardware-offer quality systems that also can be used as vehicles for Oracle software.

Oracle is rolling out a new Sun Netra modular system aimed at the telecommunications industry, the latest step in Oracle's efforts to rejuvenate Sun Microsystems' hardware line.

The Sun Netra 6000, announced May 18 at the TM Forum Management World show, in Nice, France, offers the same design as the Sun Blade 6000 modular system, but also includes NEBS (Network Equipment Building System) certification-which is essential for telecom systems-and extended lifecycle management support.

It also can be packaged with a host of Oracle software that covers such areas as operations and billings support, which are strengths of Oracle, Mark Butler, director of product management for Netra systems, said in an interview.

"Those are strong [applications] within Oracle," Butler said.

After a protracted investigation by European regulators, Oracle earlier this year bought Sun for $7.4 billion. Oracle officials, including CEO Larry Ellison, have said they plan to invest in Sun's hardware, including the UltraSPARC chip platform, and focus their server efforts on the high-end space, ceding the high-volume, low-margin market to the likes of Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

For Oracle, the attraction of the Sun hardware is not only for its business potential, but also as a vehicle for selling more Oracle software. The result will be even better offerings for customers, Butler said.

"We're really working to make products from the two companies better, rather than just having products by tying them together," he said. "We're working to tune and integrate products in the communications space."

Oracle took a similar approach with its Exadata database system, which is a combination of Sun hardware and Oracle software.

The Sun Netra 6000 modular system includes the Sun Netra 6000 AC chassis and Sun Netra T6340, powered by UltraSPARC T2+ processors and the Solaris operating system. Each blade can handle up to 128 instruction threads, and offers up to 256GB in memory capacity.

It also offers hot-swappable and hot-pluggable server blades, network management, and Oracle's ILOM (Integrated Light-Out Management) software.

When Oracle first proposed buying Sun last year, there was speculation that the software giant would spin off or kill Sun's hardware business, which had been struggling since the dot-com bust in the early 2000s.

However, Oracle officials have said they are increasing investments in the business over what Sun had been spending, and planning to continue some of Sun's road maps. For example, Oracle is planning to release the next-generation UltraSPARC 3 chip in the second half of the year.

Oracle's Ellison has praised the technology and engineering talent in Sun, but has criticized the former management team. In a report by Reuters May 12, Ellison took aim at former Sun executives, and in particular, ex-CEO Jonathan Schwartz, for mismanaging the company.

"Their management made some very bad decisions that damaged their business and allowed us to buy them for a bargain price," Ellison told Reuters in an interview. "The underlying engineering teams are so good, but the direction they got was so astonishingly bad that even they couldn't succeed."

Oracle is changing that, he said, adding Sun will help boost Oracle's earnings in the current quarter.