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Sun Unlocks Grid for $1

Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) unveiled a raft of new products today in a bid to wow the financial sector and steal a march on archrivals IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ).

Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's COO, launched the products at the company's quarterly Network Computing event in New York. Keen to tap into the immense processing demands of Wall Street firms, Schwartz used the conference to unveil the company's latest weapon in the grid computing war.

As part of its N1 Grid strategy, Sun will now offer users access to grids of computing power for as little as $1 per hour, the company claims. Using the Internet, customers will be able to purchase additional CPU cycles for their business, Schwartz said.

The offerings are based on Sun Fire V20z and V40z servers and Opteron processors, removing the need for customers to invest in additional servers for their datacenters, according to Sun.

Grid computing, which enables a pool of computing, network, and storage resources to be accessed as and when users require it, is big news at the moment. Following the last few years of economic slowdown, users are terrified at the prospect of being saddled with expensive excess data center capacity. The solution being touted by the industry is to access grids of computing power hosted by third-party vendors, which can provide the exact resources needed at any given time.

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