Sun Nabs Second Utility Computing Partner

For the second time in as many months, Sun Microsystems
has joined forces with an IT services company in an agreement to provide
utility computing services for customers seeking to pay for computing
performance as they need it.


SchlumbergerSema, the IT division of Schlumberger Limited, will purchase
Sun’s utility computing architecture, based on the vendor’s N1 software, and
outsource the computing power and solutions to customers in the fields it
traditionally serves — energy, finance, telecommunications and public
sectors.


The agreement enables SchlumbergerSema to provide Sun’s utility computing
offering, which will let customers scale up or down on processing capacity,
as well as pay only for the power utilized with Sun’s metering tools.


The SchlumbergerSema utility package will include federated security from
the Java Card identity badge through servers that manage identities and
control access to the networks, applications and facilities, as well as
worldwide support services from the hosted operation to the desktop.
SchlumbergerSema plans to includes consulting and managed services as an
option with the global package.


The allure of this type of computing, which IBM is offering
across
all
of its server platforms as of this week and which HP is girding for competitive battle, is that customers can cap the
computing supply without leaving a great deal of hardware unused. This helps companies more accurately hammer down IT costs.


Moreover, the concept of pressing a button to get additional resources piped
to their networks via the Internet with little manual intervention is
driving customers to ask vendors to product such services.


While IBM and HP have more direct models of dealing with the customers, by
offering to host utility services in remote data centers, Sun prefers to
sell its architecture and platforms to customers who plan to take care of it
themselves.


The deal mirrors the pact Sun inked with
ACS just three weeks ago. It serves as a demonstration that Sun’s utility
computing initiative is gaining traction among its partners as the arms race
for on-demand real estate heats up for all of the competitors involved.


A new
report
from The 451 Group indicates that mergers and acquisitions of
grid computing-oriented companies, which can be honed to provide utility
computing, is heating up. With $982 million in vendor purchases last year,
the research firm anticipates the arrival of grid standards will bolster the
demand for such offerings.

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