Sun to take to the cloud

The company, which believes there will be many clouds in the future, wants to be a major player in the field and plans to enter the trendy computing space on March 18

Sun Microsystems plans to detail on March 18 its grand entrance into the cloud computing space, Sun officials said Tuesday morning.

Speaking during SugarCRM's SugarCon 2009 conference in San Francisco, Sun President/CEO Jonathan Schwartz and Lew Tucker, Sun vice president and CTO for cloud computing, alerted the audience of Sun's plans, which will be fleshed out at the company's CommunityOne conference in New York. With cloud computing, applications are deployed over third-party shared servers over the Internet. Tucker hinted about Sun's cloud plans in an interview with InfoWorld last month.

"We are building a Sun cloud," Tucker said. He added that Sun believes there will be many clouds, including private clouds, general purpose clouds, and specialized clouds, such as clouds for high-performance computing or video streaming.

"There will be lots of clouds and we see Sun as being a major player in that area," said Tucker.

Sun would join the cloud space alongside companies such as Amazon, which offers its Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) services. Tucker emphasized the ease that cloud computing offers for developers, who without cloud computing must talk to their IT personnel or sign up with a managed service provider. "Now, with just a credit card, you can just immediately get on and have your application running in the cloud," Tucker said.

Clouds also offer pay-as-you-go capabilities and scalability, Tucker said.

Datacenters are moving into the cloud, said Tucker. "The datacenter is your next computer," he added. Within a public cloud arena, there could be a set of services with 50 to 100 virtual machines running, he said. "And that becomes your own virtual datacenter," for application deployment, said Tucker.

Schwartz compared the advent of cloud to the acceptance of open-source code and stressed that clouds are democratizing datacenters. "Initially, what started was this idea that you would bring foreign source code into your datacenter was anathema. Now it's actually OK because people have understood it's safe, it's reliable, it's secure, there's innovation there," Schwartz said. "It seems like the same thing is starting to happen with clouds."

Also during his presentation, Schwartz cited was he sees as other business opportunities during the current tough economic times, mentioning storage, Web application deployments, and supercomputing systems such as fraud detection applications. Recalling a comment that innovation really loves a crisis, Schwartz added: "Good news. We have a crisis."

In another development in the cloud arena Tuesday, 3Tera announced general availability of release 2.4 of its AppLogic commercial cloud computing platform, featuring support for 32- and 64-bit virtual applications running data center operating systems such as Linux, Sun Solaris and Microsoft Windows Server. Also featured are interface improvements, system dashboards, catalog applications and an appliance kit for building new appliances. An architecture-aware monitoring system with an API was highlighted as well.

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Paul Krill

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