Sun Lights Up $1 Grid

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sun Microsystems continued
its disruptive pricing strategy this week with a new grid computing offer that costs $1 per -CPU, per-hour to use.

“CIOs around the world should begin benchmarking their internal grid infrastructures against our announced price of $1 CPU/hour and begin to consider the advantages of moving toward a service-oriented data center, rather than a custom-built grid,” Jonathan Schwartz, Sun president and
COO said. The outspoken No. 2 man at Sun called the radical per-CPU,
per-hour pricing a new market opportunity for the company.

The grid comes courtesy of TELUS, a Toronto-based compute grid
environment that is preparing an infrastructure it claims will scale up
to 14,848 compute nodes in each data center. The project is expected to
be in full production by early 2005.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun said
TELUS will resell its N1 Grid Computing software for use starting with
the financial services and oil and gas industries. TELUS’ environment
will be based on Sun’s Solaris 10, Sun N1 Grid Engine software and
open Grid Computing Reference Architectures.

“We currently have two targets, every software developer with a need
for the N1 software grid and the other is scientists,” Schwartz said
during a press conference. “This is not about building ‘My Beautiful
Grid.’ There is no one size fits all.”

Sun’s partnership is yet another example of how it and rival systems
companies like HP, Dell and IBM with its new “World Community Grid” are taking their computing expertise and
applying it to the enterprise.

As previously reported, Sun is in the second stage of a three-part goal of selling its grid services in unconventional ways. The company’s tactics include selling in increments of an hour for less than a dollar with
some of its “right to use” licenses available on eBay .

Originally, Sun established grid infrastructures for Sun customers on Sun equipment. Last month, Sun added support for its iForce members on their choice of equipment. The third phase, due next year, broadens the model to include the rest of the IT world. In that scenario, a non-Sun company could be running non-Sun equipment, but Sun will still be reaping the benefits.

TELUS is the first service provider to become a retail business
partner with Sun for its pay-for-use grid computing offering. Schwartz
hinted that a major media company might announce soon a move of its
online content to one of Sun’s grids.

Since the launch of its N1 grid software in September, Sun said it
has committed more than 6,000 CPUs for early demand from major
services companies ready to use its service. Sun said its first
standardized utility computing center will go into full operation by
end of the year in the Washington D.C. region, and more centers are
expected to power-up within months worldwide, including New York,
and Houston, Texas.

Sun is expecting to include hardware deals in its utility computing
packages. Schwartz said the company might deliver its Sun Ray desktops
or even Solaris-based thin client laptops as part of the contracts.

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