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Sun Makes Cloudy Data Center Play

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) is pushing a new subscription model and utility computing for the data center in an attempt to revive its flagging fortunes.

Today the big iron vendor said it will start selling 100 services offered within its Sun Preventive Services strategy on a subscription basis. The company aims to avoid downtime by monitoring data center performance across areas such as systems analysis and software upgrades. Also, it saves users from having to pay for services separately.

Sun is offering a 20 percent discount to users whose data centers reach a set performance level for three months across five key metrics.

Sun has good reason to make its data center play at the moment. The company posted heavy losses for this quarter, and it's feeling the heat from rival vendors such as IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) in the hardware and services space (see Is Sun Setting?).

However, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company was unable to provide a specific figure for how much the subscription model will cost users. It depends on the density of the equipment, on their environment, and the types of system that they have," says Trisha Bright, director of services marketing at Sun.

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