RealTime IT News

Sun Nabs Second Utility Computing Partner

For the second time in as many months, Sun Microsystems has joined forces with an IT services company in an agreement to provide utility computing services for customers seeking to pay for computing performance as they need it.

SchlumbergerSema, the IT division of Schlumberger Limited, will purchase Sun's utility computing architecture, based on the vendor's N1 software, and outsource the computing power and solutions to customers in the fields it traditionally serves -- energy, finance, telecommunications and public sectors.

The agreement enables SchlumbergerSema to provide Sun's utility computing offering, which will let customers scale up or down on processing capacity, as well as pay only for the power utilized with Sun's metering tools.

The SchlumbergerSema utility package will include federated security from the Java Card identity badge through servers that manage identities and control access to the networks, applications and facilities, as well as worldwide support services from the hosted operation to the desktop. SchlumbergerSema plans to includes consulting and managed services as an option with the global package.

The allure of this type of computing, which IBM is offering across all of its server platforms as of this week and which HP is girding for competitive battle, is that customers can cap the computing supply without leaving a great deal of hardware unused. This helps companies more accurately hammer down IT costs.

Moreover, the concept of pressing a button to get additional resources piped to their networks via the Internet with little manual intervention is driving customers to ask vendors to product such services.

While IBM and HP have more direct models of dealing with the customers, by offering to host utility services in remote data centers, Sun prefers to sell its architecture and platforms to customers who plan to take care of it themselves.

The deal mirrors the pact Sun inked with ACS just three weeks ago. It serves as a demonstration that Sun's utility computing initiative is gaining traction among its partners as the arms race for on-demand real estate heats up for all of the competitors involved.

A new report from The 451 Group indicates that mergers and acquisitions of grid computing-oriented companies, which can be honed to provide utility computing, is heating up. With $982 million in vendor purchases last year, the research firm anticipates the arrival of grid standards will bolster the demand for such offerings.