Sun Plugs Grid Computing For Government

To that end, Sun unveiled a host of forthcoming N1 products, grid engines and grid add-on services called Sun Connection. The company also priced the Sun Grid Compute Utility at $1 per CPU per hour and the Sun Grid Storage Utility at $1 per Gbyte per month.

Sun, Santa Clara, Calif., also unveiled plans to roll out three grid offerings for desktop users, developers and application transactions.

"The grid is evolving," said Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy, acknowledging that it may take time for government to adopt grid computing due to its complexity and stagnant IT spending by the public sector, but Sun will be ready when the demand takes off.

As part of its push, Sun's new N1 System Manager provides hardware discovery, operating system provisioning, monitoring and management from a centralized console. The product, due in the third quarter, will provision operating systems as needed to the data center. It supports the Sun Solaris operating system and will support Linux and Windows in the future.

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Beyond that, Sun is working on an enhanced, multi-platform N1 Service Provisioning Manager that will provision heterogeneous software stacks and applications, the company said.

Meanwhile, the first product under the Sun Connection program, called the Sun Update Connection, is an intelligent software updating service that automatically deploys patches as required and is customized for each network topology, executives said.

While observers predict that it will take some time for the utility computing model to gain acceptance, some Sun partners say all the pieces are in place and partners are beginning to deliver Sun's grid services to customers.

"We are seeing Sun do quite well with grid technology, and [it] has good timing in the market, actually," said Marc Maselli, CEO of Back Bay Technologies, a Boston-based Sun partner. "Partners are interested in this, as the solution is strategic within capital markets and allows a launch point into other areas of target customers."