RealTime IT News

Sun Acquiring iForce Partner

Sun Microsystems Wednesday said it has inked a deal to purchase one of its iForce Partners to help develop its N1 strategy.

The "Definitive Agreement" means Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun will pull funds out of its R&D budget to acquire the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup. Neither company would confirm the price tag. Early estimates put the deal at an estimated $66 million in cash. A spokesperson for CenterRun told internetnews.com the transaction is expected to close in August. Sun hinted at the first quarter of its fiscal year 2004.

"We think CenterRun will fit in the services provisioning and application provisioning aspect of N1. This acquisition will build on the infrastructure provisioning we have already been shipping," Sun senior director of N1 marketing Yael Zheng said.

Center Run CEO Aares Hilaly said he expects the vast majority of his employees to transfer to Sun.

"Overall Sun's position is that they would like to figure out a solution for the people that make the product work," Hilaly told internetnews.com. "In terms of customers, we are planning on supporting whatever technologies that they have."

The company has been doing well recently, raising $20 million in funding last year. Sequoia Capital is CenterRun's largest investor. Hilaly also pointed to Kaiser Permanente, Genentech and Gap as its marquee customers.

Sun has been working on its N1 strategy for close to a year. The vision is to let administrators provision applications to servers, remotely from a Web-based user interface. Hilaly said CenterRun had already been working in the past 18 months on Sun's N1 platform.

CenterRun makes application provisioning software designed for the data center. Thorough its iForce partnership, CenterRun products already fit into the Sun ONE platform, including Sun ONE Application Server 7.0, Sun ONE Identity server and Sun ONE Web server.

The purchase may be a boost also to the Sun Fire Blade Platform in that CenterRun's "One-Touch" application provisioning product has been modified specifically for Sun's Advanced Lights Out Management. CenterRun's products also work with BEA's WebLogic and IBM's Web Sphere.

This marks the third company Sun has brought on since the launch of N1 last September. Sun previously acquired Pirus and http://siliconvalley.internet.com/news/article.php/1501401 >Terraspring. Both companies contributed to aspects of N1's infrastructure provisioning.

Zheng said any misconception that Sun is buying its way into the provisioning or "On Demand" sector is unfounded.

"We are not trying to be defensive buying a technology. It's consistent in our R&D strategy to do external IP acquisition," Zheng said. "What people don't see is the work in IP development and integration that pulls all of the elements together. We still need to execute by prodictizing through the appropriate channels."

Sun is expected to make even more announcements as the anniversary date of N1 draws near.