Sun Microsystems may not be making a lot of money these days, but it is not afraid to keep investing in areas that it deems important. And the company considers cloud computing very important to its future.
The struggling IT giant, whose stock has been mired in single digits since August 2008, revealed Jan. 7 that it has acquired Q-layer, a small cloud computing software provider that automates the deployment and management of both public and private clouds. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Q-layer, based in Belgium, will become part of Sun's Cloud Computing business unit under Senior Vice President David Douglas. Q-layer develops and integrates cloud computing technologies, architectures and services.
Mainstream cloud computing-otherwise known as utility/grid/on-demand computing-serves up processing power, data storage or applications from one data center location over a grid to thousands or millions of users on a publicly available subscription basis.
Private cloud computing is a different take on the mainstream version, in that smaller cloudlike IT systems within a firewall offer similar services, but to a closed internal network. This private, generally more controllable network may include corporate or division offices, other companies that are also business partners, raw-material suppliers, resellers, production-chain entities and other organizations intimately connected with a corporate mothership.
Q-layer's technology simplifies the management of cloud software and allows users to quickly provision and deploy applications, a key component in Sun's strategy to enable building public and private clouds.
As more mission-critical business services emanate from online subscription service providers, automation will become more strategic in the control of these complicated processes.
Q-layer software supports instant provisioning of services such as servers, storage, bandwidth and applications, enabling users to scale their own environments to meet their specific requirements.
"Sun's open, network-centric approach coupled with optimized systems, software and services provides the critical building blocks for private and public cloud offerings," Douglas said. "Q-layer's technology and expertise will enhance Sun's offerings, simplifying cloud management and speeding application deployment."
Sun wants to become Cloud Central
Sun told journalists and analysts last month that its new cloud computing office is open for business and that, based on 26 years of network computing expertise, it can coordinate software, hardware and services from various sections of the company to put together enterprise cloud computing infrastructures.
Sun fully intends to carve out for itself a good portion of the $42 billion worldwide market for cloud computing construction that is projected for 2012. At the moment, IDC reports, the cloud computing infrastructure market is at $16 billion and rising, and the competition for those dollars is ratcheting up.