There's a new Sun among the clouds. Sun Microsystems announced Wednesday its new Open Cloud Platform, an open infrastructure powered by Java, MySQL, OpenSolaris, and Open Storage software technologies.
The computer company also outlined Sun Cloud, a new public cloud-computing service aimed at developers, startups and students.
Sun's strategy aims to position it in the growing cloud-computing marketplace, where applications and services exist on the Internet and are available to subscribers at any time, from any computer.
As part of its commitment to building communities, Sun said it is also releasing a core set of Open APIs for review and comments by the general public. The APIs will make it easier for developers to create applications and cloud environments that work with the Open Cloud Platform and the Sun Cloud.
The Sun APIs are published under a Creative Commons license, allowing anyone to use them for virtually any use. The company said third-party developers will be able to utilize prepackaged virtual-machine images of Sun's open-source software, and thus deploy applications almost immediately.
Sun Cloud has two services initially, the Storage Service and the Compute Service, and both will be available this summer. The company said it would make available to its customers the technologies and architecture of the Sun Cloud so others can build interoperable clouds.
Virtual Data Center
The core of the Compute Service is the Virtual Data Center (VDC), based on capabilities acquired when Sun bought Q-layer in January. Sun said VDC provides everything developers need to build and run a cloud-based data center, including an integrated interface to stage an application that runs on either the OpenSolaris, Linux or Windows operating systems.
The VDC also has drag-and-drop, APIs and a command-line interface for assigning computing resources through a Web browser. The Storage Service supports WebDAV protocols for file access and storage.
In Sun's vision, announced at the CommunityOne East Developer Conference currently being held in New York City, the computing world evolves into many public and private clouds based around its platform, all open and interoperable.
Al Hilwa, a program director at IDC, said the world of cloud computing is just getting started, and its evolution will be "transformative." He noted that it's currently being accelerated by the economic savings cloud computing can offer to hard-pressed businesses.
"Sun would be remiss not to be playing in this space," he said, adding that, while many other companies are also jumping into clouds, "no one really knows how this will work out." There's a lot of research and development going on, Hilwa said, but the pressure is toward standardization.
"Sun still holds a lot of credibility among developers because of Java," he said, and the company is wise to offer Open APIs because "the whole notion of cloud computing will boil down to good APIs."