Sun Microsystems isn't yet saying what its new cloud computing service will look like, but at least we know where it's going to live. Sun will host its new cloud offering in the SuperNAP, Switch Communications' new mega-data center in Las Vegas, according to Sun CTO Greg Papadopoulos.
"We now have thousands of cores at the SuperNAP," Papadopoulos said in this morning's keynote address at AFCOM's Data Center World conference at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. "It's a really fascinating facility."
The hosting arrangement extends the relationship between Sun and Switch Communications, which is already hosting Sun's Network.com operation in a high-density section of SwitchNAP 4 in Las Vegas known as a T-SCIF heat management system (short for Thermal Separate Compartment in Facility). The T-SCIF uses containment systems to fully separate the hot and cold aisles, allowing the Network.com racks to run at 1,500 watts a square foot. See this video for a closer look at the Network.com T-SCIF installation at Switch.
Sun's Network.com 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. Sun is developing a next-generation cloud offering, but has yet to provide details of the new service.
Papadopoulos noted that Sun has been developing a platform known as Project Caroline, and recently acquired Q-Layer, a Belgian provider that automates the deployment of both public and private clouds. Sun says Q-layer’s technology will help users instantly provision servers, storage, bandwidth and applications.
Papadopoulos spoke at length about the importance of developers in the cloud ecosystem, noting that many developers are using Amazon Web Services to test-drive new web applications, at least partly out of frustration with delays in provisioning test environments through in-house IT operations.
"I give Amazon credit for having broken through, either through their brilliance or serendipity, and creating something that really works," said Papadopoulos. "It's about making things easy and accessible for the developer.
"We always think of the cloud in terms of developers," said Papadopoulous, who added that the best commercial opportunities may be in helping companies build their own private cloud infrastructure and leverage public clouds in a "hybrid" cloud format. "Where you make money, I think, is in the hybrid cloud. Most enterprises are going to have their own private cloud."
Papdopoulos said Sun will use the SuperNAP for "aspects of our cloud computing operation," indicating that Sun may use its own facilities as well.
The 407,000 square foot SuperNAP, which opened its doors in September, will hold up to 7,000 cabinets when it is completely built out. Switch CEO and co-founder Rob Roy reported that Switch has now sold more than 1,100 cabinets. Other sources say that Sun made an early commitment to take space at the facility, perhaps as as many as 200 cabinets.
Papadopoulos praised the SuperNAP's approach to high density computing, using part of his keynote to present a video of the facility's cooling system, which foregoes computer coom air conditioners (CRACs), venting hot exhaust air into a large ceiling plenum that returns the air to custom cooling units located outside the building, known as WDMD (short for Wattage Density Modular Design). See our video overview of the WDMD cooling units.