Sun Microsystems and SchlumbergerSema has announced a partnership to give outsourcing clients the chance to pay for the computing resources they use as opposed to having to agree to an upfront fixed price.
Sun will provide server computing resources and storage capacity to Schlumberger under a pay-per-use model. Schlumberger will, in turn, do the same for its outsourcing clients.
The Sun servers that SchlumbergerSema will use to provide these pay-per-use outsourcing services are hosted in SchlumbergerSema datacentres.
Use is calculated using a formula developed by Sun which takes an average of server CPU utilisation and disc storage and divides it into "power units".
Sun's goal is to hone its measuring capabilities to the point where customers can be billed for individual transactions at the application level.
"We're on that road but not yet there," said Ashif Dhanani, director of Sun's utility computing marketing. He estimated it would take Sun about two years to achieve that goal.
The collaboration of software suppliers will be key in being able to measure use at the application level, said Stephen Holmes, global marketing manager for datacentre outsourcing at SchlumbergerSema.
The suppliers will target companies in the energy, finance, telecommunications and government sectors.
Sun and Schlumberger struck a similar agreement two years ago which required clients to commit to a minimum volume of processing resources. That minimum volume was four CPUs on a large Unix server.
This latest agreement lowers the minimum to "a fraction of a CPU" and, unlike the previous deal, accommodates not only surges in demand but also reductions, Dhanani said.
Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service