Sun Adjusts Grid Utility, JES Pricing

Sun Microsystems this week unveiled new pricing for its grid computing, storage, developer and desktopservices, as well as for its Java Enterprise System (JES). The move is viewed as an attempt to adjust how enterprises pay for IT resources.

At its analyst summit in Santa Clara, California, Sun said that it would deliver IT resources through a utility selling model in which corporate customers could purchase computing power for US$1 per hour of central processing unit (CPU) use and storage for $1 per gigabyte. The company indicated it would be expanding its Sun Grid program in the U.S. and Europe, with more data centers on the way.

As for JES, Sunannounced the release of “initial suites,” which breakdown the JES components — identity management,application platform services, system availability,Web infrastructure and enterprise communications –into individual parts that can be purchased a la carteby companies. Each of the suites is available bysubscription for $50 per employee per year, Sun said.

IT as Utility

The announcements were somewhat of a departure fromprevious product releases in that they were really anadjustment in pricing. However, the company did win praise for adapting tomarket factors.

“It’s just packaging,” Yankee Group senior analystDana Gardner told TechNewsWorld. “It’s reading themarket and trying to adjust to it.”

Sun said its aim was to simplify the process and priceof selecting, acquiring and using IT infrastructure,allowing companies to use and pay for only what theyneed, when they need it.

“Today Sun has taken the next big step in offeringIT as a utility and is the first vendor to trulydeliver on the promise of an open, standardized grid,”said a statement from Sun Chairman and Chief ExecutiveOfficer Scott McNealy. “As the IT industry continuesto evolve, customers will need to move away frombuilding data centers in a one-off customized modeltoward a standardized model and eventually to autility model.”

Sun also indicated that its partnership withAdvanced Micro Devices (AMD) and dual-core versions ofthat company’s Opteron processors, combined with thelatest update to Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system,would enable more powerful solutions for itscustomers.

Digitally Digestible

Yankee Group’s Gardner said Sun’s grid announcement was the proper response to current trends in enterprise computing.

“In the long run, companies will be looking tooutsource more of their assets in IT,” Gardner said.”Sun is priming the pump to get this business going.”

Gardner said the JES suites announced by Sun wereaimed at corporations that could not afford theall-or-nothing scenario that was previously offered.

“By breaking it into suites, it is designed to bemore digestible for organizations,” he said.

Gardner added that while Sun rival IBM is taking adifferent approach that centers more on itsprofessional services, Sun might find success indelivering its solutions to the midsize enterprise sector.

Zero Management

Gartner research Vice President Martin Reynoldspraised the utility computing offering from Sun,telling TechNewsWorld that it will appeal to companieslooking to alleviate IT complexity.

“What I like is the zero-management aspect of thegrid,” Reynolds said. “That means companies can spendthat dollar real quick.”

On the downside, Reynolds said, it is unclearexactly which companies would use the utility model,since large pharmaceutical, financial and otherfirms likely already have their own grids.

Nevertheless, the analyst — who also approved ofthe segmented JES offerings — said Sun’s move mightbring grid capabilities to a wider audience.

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