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Sun unveils pay-per-use grid for non-transactional data processing

In its quarterly product announcement last week, Sun outlined 24 products and services, including new mid-range storage systems,...

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In its quarterly product announcement last week, Sun outlined 24 products and services, including new mid-range storage systems, a grid computing service, a preview of the forthcoming Solaris 10 operating system's features and low-price AMD-based Solaris servers.

Its innovative pay-per-use grid computing service will be available in a number of countries, allowing organisations to harness the power of thousands of AMD Opteron and Sparc processors.

The service, called the Secure N1 Grid, is aimed at application developers, enterprises and governments, with non-transactional workloads, for example, running simulations, modelling, and image rendering. Sun said the grid would provide fast, flexible access to resources to test, design and develop a wide range of applications.

The service will offer high security and have virtualisation capabilities. It will be priced at $1 (56p) per CPU, per hour, and grid cycles can be purchased in packs of hours through Sun.

Although IBM and Hewlett-Packard offer competing rent-a-supercomputer schemes, Sun is trying to differentiate itself with a pricing strategy that it said is different and competitive.

"We are staking out new ground, taking our intellectual property and turning it into pay-for-use network services. To date, the world has taken IT infrastructure and mapped it to customer workloads," said Jonathan Schwartz, president and chief operating officer at Sun.

Schwartz added that Sun envisages a future in which customers buy compute cycles from Sun much like they currently buy wireless calling plans. He said Sun would reflect this by offering wholesale compute cycles to service providers around the world.

"We are not just going to open the door to our customers to create wealth more efficiently; we are going to open that door for all our partners around the world," said Schwartz.

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