Sun to offer customized hardware

Sun Microsystems is expanding a program through which companies can order customized hardware configurations from the vendor.

The company today announced its new Customer Ready Systems (CRS) program under which it will integrate third-party hardware and software products according to customer specifications.

The CRS service ranges from basic factory integration of standard Sun hardware and software suites to custom configurations, system design and life-cycle management services involving Sun's Professional Services Group and channel partners.

Products that the company will integrate on the factory floor include all Sun software products as well as customer-provided and noncompetitive third-party software.

The program formally widens an initiative that's been going on at Sun for the past 18 months under which it has been delivering custom-bundled hardware and software products for select customers. Other vendors such as IBM with its Unix and iSeries servers and Dell Computer Corp. with its PCs already offer similar custom configurable systems.

This kind of integration and testing of hardware and software on the factory floor is aimed at making it easier and quicker for users to install and configure new hardware and applications, said Tony Adams, an analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.'s Dataquest Inc. unit. And it reduces many of the common problems and installation errors that can creep in while deploying new systems, he said.

"The biggest benefit for users is the simplification of the whole [integration] process," Adams said. "Sun's taking on more of a risk by committing to integrate the software for customers, but they are returning higher-value."

Sun will deliver the program in conjunction with its iForce channel partners.

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