Sun’s Goal: No In-House Data Centers by 2015

Sun Microsystems Data Center Architect Brian Cinque has launched a new blog with a flourish, announcing the company’s intention “to eliminate all SunIT data centers” by 2015.

“Did I just say 0 data centers? Yes! Our goal is to reduce our entire data center presence by 2015,” writes Brian, who says the goal will be to reduce data center square footage by 50 percent by 2013, followed by a two-year process of shifting Sun’s IT operations to a software as a service (SaaS) model.

The timing of Cinque’s post is interesting, as the plans by Sun (JAVA) plans reflect exactly the shift to web-based hosting discussed by Nick Carr in his book The Big Switch, which has been widely discussed since its publication Monday.

I e-mailed Brian seeking some additional details on Sun’s plans. He’ll be providing more details in future blog posts, but filled in some of the blanks.

“By 2013, SunIT will still have data centers but we will have consolidated our IT infrastructure on Sun technologies and other vendor solutions,” Brian writes. “We will also partner with outhosting solutions which can also be called SaaS. As we progress to 2015, where the application is and how it is designed is no longer a driving factor.”

Sun operates its own grid providing on-demand computing at In his blog, Cinque expressed confidence that SunIT could use virtualization and consolidation to reduce its data center footprint and energy use by 50 percent by 2013.

In August, Sun completed a data center consolidation project that moved equipment that previously occupied 202,000 square feet of facility space into a new 80,000 square foot data center in Santa Clara, Calif. The project consolidated 2,200 servers into 1,000 energy-efficient servers and reduced the number of storage devices from 738 to 225. Compute capacity grew by 273 percent, storage capacity increased by 373 percent, and power usage plunged from 2.2 megawatts to 560 kW.

Cinque said Project Blackbox, Sun’s portable “data center in a box,” will play a role in the data center consolidation.

He acknowledged that “the 2015 goal will require some greater efforts, specifically around the potential of a Software as a Service (SaaS) model.”

The evolution and performance of SaaS platforms will also be critical to the timing of any shift of IT operations to “the cloud.”

“We will need to get to a point in which we mandate detailed SLAs and manage/monitor those SLAs,” Cinque writes. “As long as a SaaS provider can adhere to our detailed SLAs, then it shouldn’t matter where the applications sit. The challenge is getting those detailed SLAs written out, (and) having the SaaS industry evolve where they can accept client-driven SLA’s.”

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.


  1. Derry Bryson

    Are you guys insane? If Sun is not providing computing resources, what are they providing?

  2. This sounds like a shell game to me. Sun's data centers may go away, but in reality the applications are just being moved to another data center. What's "outhosting"? Is this a new term in the industry or marketing spin? In full disclosure, I'm a marketing person so I'm fine with spin...just trying to figure out what kind of pig we're dressing up here!