Sun Gets Further Behind Clouds With Q-Layer Buy

Sun Microsystems today snapped up Q-Layer, a provider of middleware for dynamically provisioning cloud computing services — a move that better positions Sun to offer the tools sought by companies running their own clouds.

Through the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, privately held Q-Layer’s employees will become a part of Sun’s (NASDAQ: JAVA) newly formed Cloud Computing business unit, which the company created late last year.

Juan-Carlos Soto, vice president of marketing for the unit, said Q-layer had a good grasp on a vital element of cloud provisioning.

“The real power in someone being able to offer clouds for their use or customer use is the ability to dynamically allocate resources and let users self-provision under those resources,” he told “The Q-layer technology lets us do that and get to market quicker for customers who want to run their own clouds.”

Q-layer’s technology simplifies cloud management by enabling users to quickly provision and deploy applications. The software supports instant provisioning of services such as servers, storage, bandwidth and applications, enabling users to scale their own environments to meet their specific requirements.

There are countless Web hosting providers out there, but their services are tied to a specific piece of hardware, like a rack in their datacenter. What cloud computing does is virtualize all of the systems, allowing those assets to be untied from a specific server, Soto said. That way, if a rack dies, it doesn’t take down a customer with it.

Also, it allows for reprovisioning as needed. If a site is suddenly bombarded with traffic, it can be slowed to a crawl or unreachable in a hosted environment. A cloud system would allow for a rapid expansion of resources for that short period of need, and Q-layer makes it easier to carve out collections of virtual resources, Soto said.

“This way, you don’t have to provision for your worst need. You scale up and down on what you need and only pay for what you use,” he said. “The average use is not your peak. This is taking the old hosting model a step further. Instead of allocation at the rack level or server level, it’s allocated at the virtual resource level.”

Q-layer’s technology runs on a variety of platforms, including Solaris, Linux, Windows, xVM, Solaris Containers and VMware.

Sun expects to roll out more cloud offerings as it assimilates Q-layer and learns the fine details of its technologies. Soto could not give a date when that would be, since the acquisition just closed.

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