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Sun Acquires Terraspring To Bolster N1 Strategy

Sun Microsystems is continuing to prepare for its N1 data center optimization with is second acquisition in as many months of a virtualization technology developer.

Sun officials on Friday said the company acquired Terraspring, a privately held, Fremont, Calif.-based developer of technology that automates the deployment of software across multiple servers.

N1 is Sun's vision of how widely distributed computing resources, including servers, storage, software and networking, can be virtualized and managed as a single system, said Steve MacKay, vice president of N1 and management systems at Sun, in a previous interview with CRN.

The N1 architecture consists of four parts, MacKay said, including foundation resources such as servers, blade servers and storage devices; virtualization to turn those resources into computing pools; provisioning, which allows services to be provisioned to the pools of resources; and telemetry, which allows setting of policies to manage the services, and not the individual components.

In September, Sun acquired Pirus Systems, an Accton, Mass.-based developer of hardware and software technologies that enable virtualization across a heterogeneous environment. Sun officials called Pirus' virtualization technology a critical component for the N1 strategy.

Mark Melenovsky, director of server research at IDC, called the Terraspring acquisition one of the foundations on which Sun will build its N1 architecture. In addition, the technology will help Sun in developing automated software deployment strategies for its upcoming blade servers, he said.

Sun acquired similar technology when it purchased Cobalt Systems over two years ago, said Melenovsky. That technology allowed software to be deployed across Cobalt's server appliances, but was limited to Red Hat Linux networks, he said. "Terraspring is a more broad technology," he said.

While Sun is getting a boost in its N1 strategy, other vendors may have hit a stumbling block.

Hewlett-Packard is using technology from Terraspring as part of its Adaptive Infrastructure, an initiative with similarities to N1, said Melenovsky. "The acquisition may affect HP going forward," he said.

IBM's project eLiza, which focuses on autonomic computing, also has features similar to those of N1, and also uses Terraspring technology, said a Sun spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that HP and IBM will continue to have access to Terraspring technology under prior agreements between the companies, based on the current version of that technology. However, Sun will incorporate more recent developments, while HP and IBM will not have access to those future versions, the spokesperson said.

As a result, one can expect more partnerships and acquisitions in the virtualization space, said Melenovsky. Companies that he said are candidates for partnerships or acquisition include VMware, Palo Alto, Calif., Think Dynamics, Toronto, Ont., and Jareva Technologies, Sunnyvale, Calif.

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