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Sun to Help ACS Provide Utility Computing

Sun Microsystems Wednesday announced a new pact to help outsourcing outfit Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) offer utility computing to Global 1000 companies the world over.

Sun plans to deliver ACS network computing resources on a pay-for-use basis to ACS. ACS will then outsource services to customers with utility-based, or pay-as-you-need it pricing -- much like electric companies. ACS anticipates this model will help lower its total costs of IT sourcing for its clients.

Bill Mooz, senior director for Utility Computing at Sun, said on a conference call that ACS will pay Sun for the infrastructure it needs based on what customers require, giving both companies equal incentives to push the new services.

"Customers can scale up or down," Mooz said. "ACS is only paying Sun for the infrastructure that is being used by clients."

Terms of the deal, such as pricing options, were not revealed, but the nature of the agreement is a precursor to Sun's SunNetwork 2003 Conference and Pavilion event next week.

The infrastructure it will provide for ACS will include elements of the Network Computing 03 strategy, which will be addressed at the San Francisco show. Sun has shelled out nearly $500 million per quarter of research and development on the initiative, which includes hardware, software and services such as Sun Fire Blade Platform, N1 software and storage resources.

Mooz said Sun will pump ACS the computing capacity it needs for its customers, who will be able to scale computing resources at certain intervals, paying for what they use based on a standard unit of pricing.

Sun will also provide a system technology refresh to stanch spikes in acquisition costs. The companies' goals? To help customers meet short-term or seasonal computing demands more cost-effectively; better gauge resource costs; better meet service level agreements and to streamline their technology lifecycle management process from birth to death.

These goals highlight the reasons why utility computing is gaining so much attention from systems vendors such as Sun, as well as competitors IBM , Veritas and Computer Associates (CA) .

In related news Wednesday, Sun also said it is expanding its relationship with NCR to bring infrastructure and services offerings to more retail, financial and telecommunications customers. Sun and NCR will sell, install and support Sun's entry to mid-range servers, storage systems.