Sun readies utility computing tools, limits support

Sun Microsystems will announce new and upgraded utility computing tools during the next three months that are designed to help users deploy software and monitor applications, among other tasks. But the products will initially run only on the company's own hardware.

The planned announcement comes nearly a year after Sun de-emphasised the marketing of the existing versions of its N1 utility computing software, the company's executive vice-president for software, John Loiacono, said.

However, Sun has continued to develop scaled-down releases of the technolog, he said.

"We had fallen prey to the hype," he said. "We've taken the N1 effort and dramatically simplified it. A year ago, utility and on-demand computing was going to boil the ocean and solve world hunger, but we've decided we're going to feed our family before we feed the world."

At first, the new tools would work on Sun hardware running Solaris 10 or Red Hat Linux, Loiacono said.

Sun wouldl build in support for hardware from other vendors later, but that wouldn't happen this year.

The tools, including one code-named Hot Dog that Sun is now beta-testing, will provide systems and application management capabilities such as provisioning of servers running Solaris and Red Hat and automatic installs of software patches and updates.

Sun had indicated a year ago that it was back-pedalling on its grand vision for making N1 interoperable with other hardware platforms, Illuminata analyst, Jonathan Eunice, said.

Company executives realised how hard it was to do on-demand on a broader scale, he said.

But management tools that can control a range of system components from multiple vendors are already being sold by companies such as IBM, HP and Computer Associates, according to Eunice and other analysts.

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