In a move to further its utility computing strategy, Sun Microsystems Inc. is joining with IT services company CGI Group Inc. to offer hosted on-demand computing to customers in life sciences and other industries.
CGI will host applications running on Sun computing resources at its Life Sciences Solution Center hosting facility in its hometown of Montreal and bill customers based on usage. The company will also be able to add such services as security and business processes on top of the Sun infrastructure.
CGI will pay Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., for its servers, storage, software and networking devices on a per-use basis.
Initially focused on life sciences, CGI plans to expand its offerings to include such industries as telecommunications, financial services and manufacturing.
The Sun-CGI alliance, announced last week, follows through on many of the promises of utility computing—where computing resources are delivered like a utility. It gives customers access to vast amounts of computing power without having to make an upfront investment in the resources, Sun officials said.
It is also important to companies working in such areas as genomics and pharmaceuticals, which can see demand for computing power rise and fall, depending on the projects theyre working on.
The partnership is Suns third such utility computing alliance in less than two months. Sun recently announced alliances with Dallas-based systems integrator Affiliated Computer Services Inc. and Houston-based SchlumbergerSema, a unit of Schlumberger Ltd.
Such partnerships are a "necessary first step" on the road to true utility computing, and they give all parties—from Sun to the outsourcers to the customers—what theyre looking for, said International Data Corp. analyst David Tapper.
"The outsourcer gets to control the managing of [the IT resources], which is what they need, and Sun doesnt want to manage it," said Tapper, in Framingham, Mass. "For everybody, its a pretty good win-win situation."