Sun Delivers Grid Utility Service

Sun says clients are 'lighting up' its grid to the tune of 10,000 CPUs.

Sun Microsystems officially launched its grid utility computing offering, a $1-per-hour-per-CPU option that turned heads when it was announced last year.

Rolled out at its Network Computing '05 (NC05Q1) event in Santa Clara, Calif., the grid utility costs $1 per CPU, per hour, said Ed Valdez, vice president of integrated solutions at Sun. A similar arrangement for Sun's storage utility is $1 per gigabyte per month.

Valdez said Sun's utility offering represents an industry shift to move away from building custom data centers to standardized systems and eventually to a utility model, in which customers pay only for the computing they need, when they need it.

Rather than buying a bunch of gear to throw at IT problems, customers can opt to pay for the resources as managed services, with Sun hosting infrastructure such as Sun Fire servers and the Java Enterprise System on various sites all over the world.

Analysts spoke favorably about the computing model, but also said proof of the service's appeal would be strengthened by the company's ability to execute by landing contracts.

Sun officials declined to name specific customers using the service, noting they wished to remain out of the limelight. However, the company did say clients in Texas, Virginia, New Jersey and Scotland have powered up as much as 10,000 CPUs of computing resources, with more on the way in Toronto, London and Asia this year.

On the software subscription side, Sun is offering Enterprise System Suites for mid-market customers interested in identity management, application platform services, system availability, Web infrastructure and communications. Subscriptions cost $50 per employee, per year. Current Java Enterprise System customers may upgrade free.

Java Enterprise System 3 is currently available by subscription for $140 per employee, per year.

For global services, Valdez said Sun has designated six practices for its new Client Solutions Organization. Sun is assigning 10,000 professional services workers to address identity management, enterprise Web services, desktop and mobility, data center, manageability services and storage and data management.

Two new offerings include the Sun Infrastructure Solution for Secure Network Access Platform to improve the way mobile employees work and collaborate from remote offices. Also, the Sun VoIP Application Services Solution is now available as part of Sun's Secure Network Access Platform offering, along with Lucent's voice network technology.

In related news, Sun has made some headway in its Preventive Services offering, launched last June to help data centers avoid and/or correct performance problems.

Sun has opened up the program to partners in an attempt to help the safeguarding services gain more exposure, said Trisha Bright, director of product marketing at Sun.

Bright said Sun is also updating the suite with new system-level services. This includes the Sun Update Connection, which makes managing software updates easier and the newest Net Connect 3.2 services, a set of online system management services.

Net Connect now features new remote servicing utilities that allows Sun to tap into customers' systems to perform remote remediation and system diagnostics. The services is now enabled to meet Sarbanes-Oxley encryption requirements, too.






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