Sun Microsystems has extended its pay-for-use utility computing scheme to storage products.
Utility computing, where firms pay for IT systems based on their usage, has been spreading. Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Veritas are among a growing list of IT suppliers offering utility computing products and services.
Sun entered the market last year, when it started charging users for its desktop and server products based on the number of employees at their sites.
Sun's utility computing offering is now being extended to storage. At its quarterly product and user conference in China last week, Sun said customers would be able to pay for some of its storage products based on the number of megabytes used.
The charge for storing data on Sun's new Storedge 9980 units is 1.3p per megabyte, based on a minimum three-year contract to store 30Tbytes of data.
Sun said there would be no up-front hardware or software costs, with the systems remaining the property of Sun. The cost includes installation, Sun's platinum service, and management help through a portal.
Randy Kerns, storage analyst at the Evaluator Group, said, "With this utility computing model, Sun is addressing the need to reduce costs and complexity in the datacentre, while adding a new level of flexibility for customers and a predictable cost structure."
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New storage products unveiled at the Sun conference
Sun Storedge, a data services platform based on technology from Pirus Networks, which was acquired by Sun in 2002
An enhanced version of Sun's policy-based, high-performance file management system that provides information lifecycle management support worldwide
Two new Storedge systems that aim to provide simple, adaptable and expandable storage, one based on Serial ATA technology, the other a universal boot device
Sun also previewed its next-generation Storedge product family for file-based data. The first new product, Storedge 6920, will offer data services such as point-in-time, remote replication and data migration as well as centralised management of business applications such as online transaction processing, datawarehouses and enterprise resource planning, and productivity applications, including e-mail.