Oracle unveils plans for telecom service delivery

Oracle Corp. made another move to target telecommunications providers Tuesday, unveiling plans for a telecom service delivery platform (SDP).

The move comes less than a week after the database and applications vendor announced its intention to buy Portal Software Inc., a maker of billing and revenue management software for the communications and media industries, for US$220 million.

Oracle is designing the SDP for use by carriers, network operators and systems integrators to help them move to SOA (service-oriented architecture), according to a release.

SOA describes the creation and management of IT systems through reusable software and services. The SOA approach is proving particularly popular in the telecom industry as providers are trying to rapidly morph their businesses to reflect the growing convergence of data, voice and video services.

Pieces of the SDP are already available and Oracle plans to bring out more functionality later this year. The aim is to provide a single programming environment based on J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) to make it easier for developers to deploy new services quickly and integrate and manage those offerings with existing services.

Oracle plans to expand its Fusion middleware so that users can access newer mobile, voice services and enterprise applications through traditional communication networks and networks based on Internet Protocol multimedia subsystem also known as IMS and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol).

So far, Oracle’s SDP includes its Oracle 10g relational database and its Real Application Clusters (RAC), as well as the TimesTen in-memory database the company acquired in June through the purchase of TimesTen Inc. Other Oracle acquisitions have helped fill out the SDP, including HotSip, which enables IMS support, and Net4Call, which facilitates support for legacy networks. The SDP also includes a set of adapters to connect the platform to network elements and telecom equipment along with messaging capabilities to access content from mobile devices.

Still in the planning stage for the SDP are call control across IMS and legacy networks, the integration of the SDP with billing systems, support for device management and a device repository and a suite of services including mobile content delivery, VOIP and virtual PBX (public branch exchange).

The SDP will support not only Oracle Application Server, but rival offerings from BEA Systems Inc. and JBoss Inc., Oracle said. Oracle had been rumored to be in talks to acquire JBoss in February, but last week Linux distribution vendor Red Hat Inc. announced its intention to buy the open-source middleware player.

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