Sun speeds Netra servers for telcos

Sun Microsystems Inc. has revamped its line of Netra servers and software, adding faster chips and better management tools to these products targeted at telecommunications companies, Sun said Monday.

Sun has already started shipping the DC (direct current) version of its new Netra CT 410 and CT 810 servers and will roll out an AC (alternating current) version in December. The company has also brought out version 2.1 of its Netra HA Suite Foundation Services software, said Kirk Mosher, group product marketing manager for the Netra systems at Sun.

Sun will show the new products at the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom Asia 2002 conference that begins Dec. 2 in Hong Kong.

Sun's Netra servers are a special class of systems designed to withstand harsh conditions such as earthquakes or fires. The servers meet Level 3 NEBS (Network Equipment Building Standard) certification, which is the standard carriers require for this type of rugged hardware. Customers use these products for their messaging, VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), wireless, voice and e-mail services.

"Some of the traditional wireline services may not be experiencing growth, but there is customer demand for some of these next-generation services," Mosher said.

Sun is one of the dominant server vendors in the telecommunications market, which has been both a blessing and a curse for the company. During the Internet boom, Sun sold large amounts of equipment to carriers, which pushed its revenue to record heights. As the telecommunications market dried up, however, Sun has struggled to replace this business with new customers, according to industry analysts.

The Netra CT 410 and CT 810 servers will now use Sun's UltraSPARC IIi processors running at 650MHz, which is a boost up from 500MHz UltraSPARC IIe chips, Mosher said. Customers can stack up to 48 of these servers in a rack and remove and replace any components such as fans while the server is still running.

Along with the new servers, Sun brought out its Netra CP2140 and CP2160 boards, which are the basis for the new Netra servers. These systems are sold to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and VARs (value added resellers).

Sun has added a number of new features to the Netra HA Suite Foundation Services software that runs on top of the company own Solaris operating system.

Customers will find improved tools for loading applications onto the servers and then reinstalling the software configurations after a hardware failure. Users can now set up software configurations per blade as opposed to per chassis, which opens up options for installing different services on one server rack, Mosher said. When a server is removed from the rack and replaced with a new one, the HA Suite applications will also detect this change and automatically configure software and IP addresses for the new hardware.

Customers can also check on the health of all the system components, including power supplies, fans and disks instead of just the servers themselves, Mosher said.

The Netra CT 410 starts at US$19,195 and the CT 810 starts at US$22,995. The Netra CP2140 board starts at US$3,995 and the Netra CP2160 board starts at US$4,395.

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