RealTime IT News

Sun Wins Another Pay-As-You-Go Pact

Sun Microsystems continued its spate of utility computing technology pacts Tuesday when it agreed to rent its N1 architecture to CGI Group (CGI), which plans to craft a life sciences solution to sell pay-as-you-go services to its customers.

The agreement, for which financial terms were not made public, is the third such agreement between Santa Clara, Calif.'s Sun and an outsourcing provider. Sun first inked such a deal with ACS and later teamed with SchlumbergerSema on similar terms.

Bill Mooz, senior director for Utility Computing at Sun, said CGI will pay Sun for network computing resources based on usage, and in turn, CGI will offer pay-for-use pricing to customers such as Genome Quebec, a genomics and proteomics investment organization.

Mooz told internetnews.com CGI will provide on-demand computing resources for its enterprise customers and operate and manage several infrastructure platforms to help CGI's customers to deploy a utility computing model in-house or as a hosted service.

CGI intends to build on this Life Sciences utility computing offering with more custom industry offerings, including one for telecommunications, financial services, government, retail and manufacturing.

More broadly, the concept of utility computing has been all the rage for the past year when IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems stepped up to announce their intentions to lower the total-cost-of-ownership for companies by granting them a greater degree of control over their IT resources. With most utility computing endeavors, customers simply press a button to boost the power they need. A metered billing system keeps track of it the way an electric company gauges power use.

IBM's e-business on-demand pledge extends cross-company, while HP's Utility Data Center is a keystone of the company's Adaptive Enterprise strategy. Sun's utility computing model, at the heart of which lies the concern's N1 management software, is different, Mooz noted.

"We have not seen any vendor engage in this kind of third-party, shared risk-shared reward [approach]," Mooz said. "We use our N1 technology to help style information in a more efficient fashion."

Mooz said that with the exception of IBM, no other company offers utility computing in as complete a fashion as Sun. "IBM has a solution that runs soup to nuts, where they say 'we will give you a complete solution that is all coming from us,' but I've yet to see IBM partnering with integrators so other companies partnering with business process solutions can engage with them. We believe we offer more choice."

Mooz also lightly chided up and comers Computer Associates and Veritas , both of whom announced their utility computing plans later than IBM, HP and Sun, of copying Sun's N1 approach of data center management.

"What they've proposed is to help customers manage their data center like a pool of shared resources, which seems like they are trying to replicate N1 technology," Mooz said.

Mooz also said EDS and Opsware's recent Data Center Markup Language was interesting and has merit, "but that there a lot of questions that haven't been answered. They're not quite far enough along."

CGI will offer its utility computing solutions beginning immediately in North America.