Sun Invites Support for Sun Grid

The vendor is rolling out a partner program for ISVs and a community program for developers.

Sun Microsystems Inc. is hoping to entice more developers and software makers to create applications for its Sun Grid initiative.

At the GridWorld conference in Boston Wednesday, Sun is rolling out a partner program for ISVs and a community program for developers, all designed to grow the Sun Grid.

Sun in February introduced the Sun Grid, which lets users access compute resources—including both Suns UltraSPARC systems and servers running on Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processors hosted in several global data centers—for $1 per CPU hour and the Sun Grid storage utility.

Aisling MacRunnels, senior director of utility computing for Sun, said the program has grown more quickly than the vendor had expected.

"Theres been enough interest from large institutions that weve been having a hard time keeping up with that interest," MacRunnels said.

That demand from larger institutions has forced Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., to push back until next month retail access to the grid, she said.

However, the key for continued growth of the grid initiative will come from ISVs and developers, who fuel the development of intellectual property that can be used there, MacRunnels said. "Unless you have a community of developers and a community of ISVs, you cant really be a leader in IT," she said.

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At the grid show, Sun is unveiling the Sun Grid Readiness Program, where ISVs can access the necessary resources to port and build applications based on Suns grid technologies. The resources include Suns N1 product family and the Sun Grid Rack System—Opteron-based Sun Fire servers that are preloaded with the Solaris 10 operating system to enable end users to quickly create a grid computing environment. Sun developed the rack system as a way of helping users ease into grid computing.

Other resources include Suns Grid Toolkit, containing everything from downloads to Web-based training sessions, and a catalog of available solutions based on the Sun Grid.

In addition, Sun is unveiling the Sun Grid Developer Community, which gives developers the tools needed to develop commercial applications for the grid as well as areas to collaborate with peers and exchange codes and ideas. Initially, the program will grant qualified developers up to 100 CPU hours on the grid for creating applications, MacRunnels said.

The idea of offering compute resources as a service is one being pursued by several companies, including Sun rivals such as IBM. With the Sun Grid, customers can access the grid via credit cards, then develop their applications or complete their projects. Once theyre done, they can get off the grid, and are billed $1 for every CPU hour used.

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