Sun Launches Cloud Services Portfolio

Sun Microsystems, which is in the process of creating its own public cloud offering, is rolling out a host of services designed to help businesses evaluate their readiness for cloud computing and then to help them build a road map to reach that goal. The cloud computing services are part of Sun's $1 billion professional services business. The moves come as Oracle prepares to buy Sun for $7.4 billion in a deal expected to close this summer.

As Sun Microsystems continues to work on its upcoming public cloud computing platform, the company is beginning to roll out services around the burgeoning technology trend.

At the 2009 CommunityWest conference June 1, Sun is unveiling Sun Cloud Strategic Planning Service, a host of services offerings designed to help businesses make the move into cloud computing.

While the new services are complementary to the company's planned Sun Cloud offering-which is scheduled for launch later this year-Sun will work with whatever technology is best for its customers, Amy O'Connor, vice president of services marketing for Sun, said in an interview.

"Sun Cloud is one option in a number of options customers will face," O'Connor said.

Sun officials are looking to help enterprises better evaluate their cloud computing alternatives-both public and private-and create a road map for making that happen.

Businesses seem to understand what cloud computing can do for them, but need help in figuring out how to get there and what is involved, O'Connor said. That is where Sun's new services offerings come in, she said.

"You want to ... jump on the [cloud computing] bandwagon and hope it takes you with it, but there's a lot of hard work that goes on underneath," she said.

Everything from virtualization to applications to hardware must be evaluated before a business can start laying out its plans for cloud computing, O'Connor said.

The new cloud services are part of Sun's $1 billion professional services offerings.

Sun is making an aggressive push into cloud computing with its upcoming Sun Cloud, which officials said will be based on open-source technology, including MySQL, Glassfish and the ZFS file system. It also will be built atop technology Sun acquired in January when it bought Q-layer, an infrastructure management company that has technology that automates the deployment and management of public and private cloud environments.

In a blog post in March, just as Sun announced the Sun Cloud idea, President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz said that the APIs and file formats also will be open, and that Sun's offering will not only operate as a public cloud but also can be used by enterprises as an internal cloud behind their firewalls.

"We recognize that workloads subject to fiduciary duty or regulatory scrutiny won't move to public clouds," Schwartz wrote. "If you can't move to the cloud, we'll move the cloud to you."

However, that was before Oracle announced in April its intention to buy Sun for $7.4 billion, and it's unclear how the acquisition will impact Sun's cloud plans.

Industry observers are expecting big things from cloud computing. Gartner analysts in March said global cloud services revenue could move beyond $56.3 billion this year-from $46.4 billion in 2008-and grow to $150.1 billion in 2013. IDC was more tempered in its projections, calling for worldwide spending on cloud services to reach $42 billion by 2012.