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Sun offers telcos new Netra blade servers

The new Sun Netra ATCA blades include one based on UltraSparc T2 and another based on AMD's Opteron Rev F.

Sun Microsystems Inc. has introduced two new Netra blade servers targeting telecom companies looking to consolidate their IT infrastructure.

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Sun Netra ATCA CP3260 is a blade server based on the UltraSparc T2 processor, which Sun unveiled in August. The single-socket blade runs a 1.2 GHz T2 with either six or eight processor cores, eight dual in-line memory module (DIMM) slots that can house up to 32 GB of memory, and pricing starts at $11,880. The ATCA CP3220 is based on a dual- or quad-core Opteron Rev F processor from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), which runs at either 2.4 GHz or 2.2 GHz, 8 DIMM slots with up to 32 GB of memory, and pricing starts at $6,200. Both will be available in September 2008.

In the telco industry, where server hardiness matters, the vertical orientation of blades may be a benefit.

Last year, Sun introduced Netra ATCA blades, but the question remains: What is unique about telcos that makes blades an attractive server platform?

"In the carrier space, blade servers are occurring with complete systems on a blade, allowing for multiservice switches to occur," wrote Akshay Sharma, a research director at Stamford, Conn.-based research firm Gartner Inc., in an email. "Bundling the solutions in a converged platform, savings can result from efficient use of the telco rack space, shared equipment chassis utilization, and power savings can occur with common equipment."

In the telco industry, where server hardiness matters, the vertical orientation of blades may also be a benefit. Dave Berry, Sun's senior product manager for Netra systems, said that blades sitting vertically "are better for shock and vibe" and that the chassis can be designed up front for compliance with the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) standards.

Berry added that the natural flow of hot air -- low to high -- fits nicely with the blade chassis. Cool air can enter the chassis and cool the blades. The remaining hot air can then rise and escape from an opening in the top rear of the chassis.

In addition to Sun's server news, the company also announced a Netra CP3240 10 Gigabit Ethernet ATCA switch.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. You can also check out our Server Specs blog.

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