Sun Closing In on Cloud Service Launch
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Sun Microsystems, in the midst of a reorganization to reverse its recent losses, is inching toward the launch its own cloud computing service.
Lew Tucker, chief technology officer of Sun's (NASDAQ: JAVA) cloud computing business unit, made the announcement with Sun's CEO and President Jonathan Schwartz at the SugarCRM conference here.
"We think there will be lots of public and private clouds throughout the Internet," Tucker told the audience. "We'll see generalized clouds like Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) and specialized clouds, for different vertical needs like high-performance computing, and we see Sun as being a major player in the cloud."
Sun's entry into the cloud has been taking shape for months. The vendor's strategy is targeting three layers: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service.
Earlier this month, Sun snapped up Q-layer, a provider of middleware for dynamically provisioning cloud computing services. Sun was skimpy on financial details, but the assets are expected to be rolled into its cloud computing business unit.
When it does get its cloud computing service into the market, Sun will face strong competition, not only from Amazon.com and established players such as RackSpace (NYSE: RAX) and 3Tera, but also from Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which announced its Windows Azure cloud service at its Professional Developers Conference in October. IBM, (NYSE: IBM) is also picking up speed with its cloud computing strategy.
Sun's rush to the cloud is understandable. Research firm IDC said cloud computing will be a growth area for the next 20 years in its predictions for 2009, and the pace of adoption of the cloud will accelerate this year.
"It's the compelling nature of the front end that makes the back end service and platform so entertaining," Sun's Schwartz said in his keynote speech. "For years, we have been distributing a tremendous amount of software. With the evolution of Sun's cloud it will become the front end."