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Sun promises to cut data centre complexity

Sun Microsystems will use its SunNetwork user conference this week to announce details of an initiative aimed at helping companies better utilise their data centre computing resources while reducing systems management complexity.

The initiative, dubbed N1 by the company, will attempt to give IT managers the ability to dynamically allocate hardware, software, storage and network technologies to support distributed applications, or services.

"The idea is that N1 will match an application, or service, with the correct resources that will optimally handle that workload," said Tony Iams, an analyst at DH Brown Associates.

Instead of permanently tying an application to a specific set of equipment, the N1 offering is designed to let users shift resources as processing needs fluctuate, Iams said. IT managers will also be able to set resource usage prioritisation policies to govern the allocation process, he added.

Much of Sun's existing technology - including its Unix servers, the Solaris operating system, Java and the Sun Open Net Environment software suite - will be used as part of the N1 strategy, Iams said. For example, Solaris 9 already features an N1-like resource management capability.

But Sun will also roll out a series of new N1-related products and services, starting at this week's conference, said Yael Zhent, a senior director at Sun.

"A theme we have consistently heard from our customers is that the data centre is not running efficiently because there is not a whole lot of resource-sharing going on," Zhent said.

Another aim of the N1 initiative is to give administrators a much more service-oriented, cross-platform view of their technology infrastructures, as opposed to managing specific hardware or components individually, Zhent said.

The user show, which starts on Wednesday (18 September) will also see Sun disclose details about an emerging desktop Linux initiative and new IT security software.

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