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U.K. Warms to Sun's Grid Storage

Grid is good. That's the message Sun Microsystems is spreading as it hurtles toward next week's final quarterly batch of news for 2005.

The systems vendor today unveiled two new software services for U.K.-based customers keen on using the Sun Grid Storage Utility: Sun Grid Remote Backup and Restore Service (RBR) and Sun Grid Remote File Vault (RFV).

Sun Grid RBR provides remote data backup for desktops, laptops, and basically any server, charging customers per month based on their use the way customers might pay for electricity or water.

The software, designed to avoid the cost of traditional tape and data replication, is delivered through a telecommunications link, ensuring data is regularly copied to a remote data center facility.

Available as a complementary service to Sun Grid RBR or as a standalone option, the Sun Grid RFV triggers long-term remote archiving on a pay-per-use basis.

Again, like the electricity or water, customers store only what they need, without the costs of running extensive backup processes on a user's system.

Customers will receive monthly bill statements and have access to a portal detailing daily consumption with Sun Grid RBR and Sun Grid RFV, which are being offered with the help of data management specialist InTechnology.

Sun and InTechnology will begin piloting the two services for U.K.-based customers in December.

Sun said in a statement such storage services are necessary at a time when corporations are moving away from the traditional practice of manual backup over distributed networks.

After all, the more humans that handle the data, the greater the chance for errors and data loss. Lost data is a problem today because compliance regulations ask for stringent record retention.

Sun Grid RBR and Sun Grid RFV eliminate the risks and costs of backup and archival infrastructure and processes, and they scale according to the customer's increases in data.

"This new model of storage on demand addresses the challenges of limited budgets and dispersed data-center staff -- prompting companies in every industry to reexamine data center management," said Stuart Wells, executive vice president of utility computing at Sun.

Wells also said Sun is seeing "explosive demand" for utility computing from major financial institutions, oil and gas companies, making the sector a multi-billion-dollar market.

To wit, Sun also announced that Houston's Virtual Compute Corporation has boosted its agreement with the Santa Clara, Calif., systems provider.

The computing service provider pledged to use more than 2 million hours of central processing units (CPUs) on the Sun Grid Compute Utility, an increase of 1 million CPUs from the previous agreement.