Sun Outlines Plans for Open Cloud Platform

cloudsSun Microsystems had planned for today to be a big news day. But the early headlines are perhaps not the ones it envisioned, as Sun’s introduction of its retooled cloud computing platform was quickly overshadowed by reports that the company is in deal talks with IBM.

Sun (JAVA) is launching its Open Cloud Platform today at its CommunityOne developer’s event in New York. As expected, the platform will be built around open source technologies and feature “virtual data center” technology from Q-Layer, which Sun acquired last year. Portions of the Sun cloud will be hosted at Switch Communications’ SuperNAP data center in Las Vegas, as we reported last week. 

Sun is positioning its public cloud as an open source alternative to proprietary clouds, with an emphasis on open APIs and interoperability – currently a hot topic in the cloud computing ecosystem. The platform’s first two services, Sun Cloud Storage Service and Sun Cloud Compute Service, won’t be available until this summer.   

“Sun’s approach to cloud computing blends our expertise in developing open source software and communities with unique design innovation,” said Dave Douglas, Senior Vice President, Cloud Computing, Sun Microsystems. “Sun’s Open Cloud platform is the first step in delivering on our vision of a world that has many clouds that are both open and interoperable. Our cloud architecture empowers developers with the expanded interoperability and freedom of choice they need to easily take advantage of the agility, efficiency and cost benefits of cloud computing.”

Sun says the Q-Layer technology will provide an interface allowing developers to build and stage cloud applications running on any operating system, including Sun’s Open Solaris but also Linux or Windows. “It features a drag-and-drop method, in addition to APIs and a command line interface for provisioning compute, storage and networking resources via any Web browser,” Sun said in its announcement.

Sun announced cloud computing specialists Cloud Foundry, RightScale and Zmanda as launch partners, and is also working closely with the Eucalyptus Project, an open source cloud infrastructure.    

“Sun’s approach to building an open and transparent cloud platform that maintains freedom of choice is in line with our strategy,” said Michael Crandell, CEO, RightScale. “RightScale will fully support the Sun Cloud, providing Sun customers with a robust cloud management solution that extends the inherent flexibility of the Sun Cloud.”

Sun’s was an early entry in the online utility computing arena, but struggled to gain traction and is now “in transition” and closed to new users.

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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.

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