Sun Executive Details New Utility-Based Pricing Model For Solaris

Vendor to offer quarterly updates, yearly subscription model

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Sun Microsystems' software chief on Tuesday unveiled details of Project Orion, the company's utility-based pricing model for its Solaris operating system.

Slated for rollout in June, Orion will build all of Sun's software into the Solaris OS and offer a yearly subscription for Solaris, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software, said at the vendor's Worldwide Analyst Conference here.

"[This pricing] is far more predictable. In the long run, we can get to metered billing," Schwartz said.

Sun also plans to deliver a similar software configuration for Linux and update Solaris quarterly, Schwartz added. Those quarterly updates will comprise updates to all of the software built in to the OS as well, he said.

Sun is expected to formally announce Project Orion details at a press conference on Wednesday.

In addition, through its Mad Hatter project, Sun plans to deliver a Microsoft-compatible, Linux-based desktop by summer, Schwartz said. CRN previously reported that Sun would release a Linux-based desktop by summer to compete directly with Microsoft Windows.

The combination of the new Solaris configurations and desktop plans put Sun squarely in competition with Microsoft, Schwartz said. "There's only one company that has a comparable selection of software infrastructure, and that's Microsoft," he said.

With Orion, Sun aims to take the "cost and complexity" out of deploying myriad pieces of software infrastructure, as well as make Solaris a competitive platform for the data center and Web services, Schwartz said.

The Sun software executive admitted that he's "a bit of a cynic when it comes to metered billing" but said that, ultimately, the utility-based pricing model will make Sun software "easier to acquire, license, deploy and operate."

Sun also will continue to offer its traditional per-CPU pricing model for its Sun ONE stack and Solaris, Schwartz said.

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