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McNealy Pitches Desktop Hosting Option

In case you missed it, Scott McNealy's big on the subscription model. And, Sun Microsystems is weighing a new desktop hosting initiative to go along with already-announced hosting options.

Sun has rolled out an introductory "one-dollar-per-CPU-hour" plan and some other options. But on Monday, Sun Chairman and CEO McNealy talked about a desktop subscription program under which customers could deploy Sunrays at "X dollars per desktop per month."

"I'll host it and you use it wherever you wherever your Java card is inserted," he told a group of reporters at the Gartner Symposium ITXpo in Orlando, Fla.

Sun would run those dispersed desktops on its "N1 Grid," in what is essentially a reiteration of the company's traditional thin-client "network-is-the-computer" mantra. Sun is hardly alone. IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle are all pushing their own versions of pay-as-you-go IT.

McNealy said his vision compares well with the old-school IBM mainframe hosting model, where most application intelligence is centralized. "This is back to the future, only better," he said later in his keynote to a few thousand IT professionals. "In the old days, IBM in Armonk, R&D was closed, proprietary. Now we're talking about completely open infrastructure instead of a mainframe running Cobol, you use AMD/Intel/TI/Sun microprocessors, running the community development model, Solaris will be open source very soon[Maybe you run] the Java open services stack at $100 per year vs. Cobol. Instead of SNA you have fast TCP/IP. Instead of green- screen 3270 you have a thin-client, multimedia browser," he said.

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