Oracle/Sun Expresses Telco Ambitions
Oracle's bad luck is that there's almost no one paying attention. Today's the day Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) announces a tablet computer that travels through time and cures world hunger, or something like that. (See Scenes From the Apple iPad Launch and Apple iPad Unveiled.)
Sun doesn't have a tablet, but it's got the Netra line of Network Equipment Building System (NEBS)-compliant servers, which Charles Phillips, one of Oracle's two presidents under supreme leader Larry Ellison, emphasized early in his talk today.
Netra gives Oracle a network layer to add to the stacks and stacks of software it's amassed over the years. Phillips argued that Oracle owns so many layers, from applications down to network management and now actual network boxes, that its engineering can work on multiple layers at once, in ways competitors can't match.
"It's a maturation of the industry. We should've been doing this a long time ago," Phillips said. "It took 30 years for a company to actually get a footprint in all these layers, so that's going to be a major part of our differentiation. This is why we bought Sun, to have this level of systems completeness."
Netra, in particular, gives Oracle "a whole dimension of presence that we didn't have before" and will let Oracle's cross-layer optimization reach down to the network itself, he said. "I wanted to point that out because it's such a big market for us. We have a dedicated business unit just for telcos; it's going to be much bigger now, with the Netra product line."
Telcos are turning to Oracle for software, of course, including OSS elements such as billing, mediation, and network assurance. Phillips noted that Oracle's strength so far has been with smaller telcos and those in emerging markets, but the company is reaching higher.
"We have some very large customers who are on a journey. They may not be there yet, but they've procured this, and they're going to replace all those legacy systems," he said.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading