Sun, ACS team up on utility computing deal

Experts say utility computing is still a couple of years from the mainstream -- Sun and ACS are swimming for it together. The hardware maker and the service provider have teamed up to make beautiful on-demand music.

You can't accuse ACS of not practicing what it preaches.

Sun Microsystems Inc. announced this week a new deal with an old partner, Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS), a Dallas-based business process outsourcer and IT services firm and member of Sun's iForce fold.

Here's the deal in a nutshell: Sun will provide ACS with hardware, software and services on a pay-per-use basis. ACS, in turn, will use this Sun backbone to provide its customers with computing power based on the utility model -- a model that's been called one of the hottest IT trends of 2003.

The firms are also working on internal pilot programs and live environments to help CIOs utilize utility computing. Sun executives did not discuss financial terms of the deal.

This is the first time ACS, a firm with 40,000 employees and a presence in nearly 100 countries, is offering a pay-per-use utility model for outsourcing needs.

Bill Mooz, Sun's senior director for utility computing, said that Global 1,000 CIOs shopping for outsourcing solutions can now look to ACS for a complete and true utility package that they can scale to their needs and save money year after year through guaranteed cost reductions.

Mooz also said that Sun will make sure ACS has the latest equipment running the show and that both firms will share the risks and rewards.

"ACS can offer this to all their customers, and Sun is looking for significant uptake," he said.

Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of Wellesley, Mass.-based THINKstrategies, thinks the Sun/ACS deal is a perfect example of the new symbiosis in IT -- utility computing technology firms helping IT services companies move with the IT tide and transition their traditional outsourcing services into a new generation of utility computing services.

"Sun recognizes that its strength is products and technologies, and ACS recognizes that its strengths are services and solutions," Kaplan wrote in an e-mail to

"The two companies are capitalizing on each other's strengths to develop new solutions for customers."


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