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Ivy Leaguers Tap Into Sun's Grid

To date, Sun Microsystems has found some takers for its Grid Compute Utility, which lets customers tap into computing power for $1 per hour per CPU.

But now Sun is giving away the computing tool.

The Santa, Clara, Calif., company granted Princeton University 100,000 hours of central processing units (CPUs) for the tool.

The New Jersey-based Ivy League school has used nearly 11,000 CPU hours on the Sun Grid Compute Utility as part of an education grant from Sun to test new numerical algorithms for astrophysical gas dynamics.

The research institution and undergraduate college said in a statement it conducted its tests at resolutions that previously were not possible, without the costs related to capital, management and floor space.

These financial, space and time savings are all key ingredients that make the Sun Grid such an appealing option.

The utility is appreciated by users who want the freedom to draw from a kind of computing well, the way they might with water, without a third-party mediator. Princeton values it the same way.

"I'm very impressed with Sun Grid's rapid turnaround time -- there's no waiting in a queue for access to computing power," said Thomas A. Gardiner, Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University.

"Because we'll be able to access massive compute power whenever we need it with Sun Grid, our astrophysics research is now less constrained by IT infrastructure issues."

Sun is finding placement for the grid utility in many different sectors that require advanced, or powerful computing tasks, particularly in financial services, telecommunications and oil and gas companies.

IBM and HP are also big believers in grid computing as a utility and all three are trying to hook more customers into their varied approaches to the problem of delivering computing power to customers "by the drink," or as they require it.

HP launched its Flexible Computing Services two weeks ago.

While there is no clear leader, Sun has been the most vocal about its sprinkling of grid customer wins and recently unveiled two new software services for U.K.-based customers who want to use the company's Grid Storage Utility.

In fact, a recent report from The 451 Group found that customers are taking it slow when it comes to signing up for utility and grid services.

But it is still a market with multi-billion-dollar potential.



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