Alcatel and Sun Microsystems announced that they have signed a major cooperation agreement to further improve the cost-effectiveness of Alcatel’s existing IT-based mobile core network solutions. This cooperation agreement also comes under Alcatel’s global program for next-generation IT-based telecom solutions announced in February this year, and it underlines Sun’s commitment to the telecom market and the AdvancedTCA form factor.

Alcatel is already deploying Sun’s carrier grade Netra servers within its industry-leading Mobile NGN (Next-Generation Network) call server solution, part of the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch range of products and solutions, which is already carrying commercial traffic in commercial networks in North America, Europe and Asia. Similarly, Sun’s carrier grade server technology is also used in the Alcatel 5020 Softswitch solution for VoIP applications in fixed networks, as well as in Alcatel’s Open Service Platform (OSP) for Intelligent Network (IN) services. Sun already provides solution integration services through its Customer Ready Systems program for Open Service Platform (OSP) for Intelligent Network (IN) services.

The agreement includes a joint R&D cooperation that leverages Sun’s expertise in carrier grade servers and operating systems as well as Sun’s upcoming Netra AdvancedTCA blade platform and Open Standard implementation, supporting Sun UltraSPARC and AMD Opteron processors with carrier grade Solaris 10 and Linux operating systems. This R&D cooperation will initially focus on the Alcatel solutions already using Sun’s carrier grade server and operating system technology.

The cooperation is in line with Alcatel’s telecom computing framework, a consistent family of IT platforms and middleware, which seamlessly combines the carrier-grade capabilities of Solaris or Linux operating systems and AdvancedTCA blade solutions or carrier grade rack servers as required for the various market segments it serves. As announced earlier this year, this flexible and open framework will gradually be leveraged across Alcatel’s entire portfolio of core network solutions, thus accelerating the availability of cost-effective solutions for service providers.

As part of the multi-year cooperation agreement, Sun will be in a privileged position to become the prime platform partner and integrator of choice for Alcatel’s next-generation IT-based core network solutions.

“Alcatel’s vision is that of open, cost-effective, high-performance, next-generation, carrier-grade platforms, benefiting to the maximum from major IT innovations both in hardware and operating systems. This cooperation with Sun Microsystems is another step for Alcatel in its drive to foster the market adoption of such next-generation telecom solutions,” declared Marc Rouanne, chief operating officer of Alcatel’s mobile communication activities. “It will reinforce Alcatel’s ability to deliver flexible solutions to the operators who want to offer cost-effective VoIP and IP-multimedia services in large volumes.”

“With this agreement, Sun clearly vaults to leadership in the ATCA marketplace, with leading edge innovation around not simply the carrier grade hardware platforms, but accelerating momentum around the world’s most prolifically deployed open source operating systems, Solaris 10 and Linux,” said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems. “We’re convinced the next wave of IT innovation will occur on the network and through network services, and Alcatel’s leadership in key telecom market segments will clearly open new doors to Sun and its ISV partners.”