Sun Rolls Out Opteron-Based Telecom Blades

Company officials say the combination of the blade architecture and Opteron's power efficiency will offer users 30 percent better density and 10 percent more performance than similar systems running on Intel chips.

Sun Microsystems has begun shipping its Opteron-based blade server aimed at the telecommunications industry, and will roll out blades running on its own UltraSPARC T1 processor by the end of the year.

The Santa Clara, Calif., company is making the announcements Wednesday at the CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas.

Sun is looking to expand its carrier-grade Netra line of telecom servers, bringing new systems into the space that not only run on Advanced Micro Devices Opteron chips and the T1 processor, but also will be based on ACTA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture), a series of specifications designed to take advantage of the latest high-speed Internet technology and next-generation processor design.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Sun cutting prices on AMD Opteron-based servers.

In addition to the processor and ACTA offerings, the new blade family also supports MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition operating system, as well as Suns own Solaris 10 operating system.

Officials with both Sun and AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., say the combination of the blade architecture and Opterons power efficiency—the Netra blade uses the 55-watt model—will offer users 30 percent better density and 10 percent more performance than similar systems running on Intel chips.

The Netra systems running on Suns T1 chip—formerly code-named Niagara, the processor offers up to eight cores that can run up to four instruction sets simultaneously, with a power envelope of 70 watts—will give users similar advantages.

"At 70 watts, the UltraSPARC T1 is the perfect processor [for the telecom environment], maximizing throughput while minimizing power [consumption]," said Kirk Mosher, director of marketing for Suns telecom hardware group.

The Netra CP3020, featuring dual-core Opterons and Netra High Availability software suite will ship later this quarter. Currently shipping is the CP3010 system running on Suns dual-core UltraSPARC IIIi, as well as the 14-slot, 12U (24.5-inch) CT900 enclosure, which enables users to mix and match CP3020 and SPARC-based CP3010 blades in the same chassis.

The combination of the Opteron chips, high-availability software and ACTA capabilities also is improving the reliability of the Netra line, Mosher said. "Were getting very close to the fault-tolerant performance without the fault-tolerant costs," he said.

The Netra blade also is a big step for AMD in its push to expand Opterons reach into the high-end embedded space, according to David Rich, director of AMDs 64-bit embedded business. The embedded push is part of AMDs strategy to grow the companys presence in the commercial space this year.

"This is right in the bulls-eye of what we want to achieve this year," Rich said.

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