Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Within the increasingly standards-based realm of telecommunications networks, makers of carrier-grade servers are touting both protocols and positioning as they expand their product lines.

This week, Sun Microsystems Inc. will unveil plans for a line of carrier-grade servers compliant with the new ATCA (Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture) specification. The ATCA standard allows carriers to buy off-the-shelf blade servers for high-bandwidth applications such as VOIP (voice over IP), 3G (third-generation) mobility services and network authentication.

Sun, which will start selling ATCA-compliant equipment next year, is touting its unique support for both the Solaris and carrier-grade Linux operating systems. The Netra ATCA systems, debuting early next year, will use UltraSPARC and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.’s Opteron processors, according to Sun officials. The units are aimed at service providers looking to offer 3G network applications using the GGSN (Gateway General Packet Radio Service Support Node) and SGSN (Service GPRS Support Node) protocols.

Telecom New Zealand Ltd. extended a vote of confidence to Sun, cutting a deal to deploy the Santa Clara, Calif., vendor’s servers, along with recently launched Sun software components including the N1 grid system and Java Enterprise System. The combination expands TNZ’s capacity within its existing footprint and is “helping us maintain a competitive edge,” said Greg Patchell, general manager for technology strategy and capability at TNZ, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Sun is doing battle with manufacturers with much broader strongholds in the overall server marketplace. Last month, IBM officials in Armonk, N.Y., announced that the company had the largest worldwide server revenue growth of all the major vendors over the past year.

Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif., for its part, said last month it was No. 1 in worldwide server shipments in the second quarter, claiming to have shipped nearly twice as many servers as IBM.

In an effort to cut into HP’s share in the telecommunications arena, this week Sun will also unveil an AC version of its Netra 440 system. Putting the Netra 440’s performance up against HP’s carrier-grade servers, Sun will attempt to compete primarily on price. Sun officials claim it is the lowest-priced four-processor, NEBS (Network Equipment-Building System)-certified server in the marketplace.

According to Sun, the Netra 440AC, pricing for which starts at $13,995, costs as much as 75 percent less than HP’s comparable Server rp5470. HP officials declined to comment.

Check out’s VOIP & Telephony Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.