Sun believes its VDC capabilities give it an edge over Amazon. More Sun cloud services will be introduced over time, Tucker said. Sun Cloud differs from the Google App Engine cloud platform because Google offers a way to build applications, while Sun is providing fundamental infrastructure as a service, he said.
"I think cloud computing in general plays to a lot of the technology strengths that Sun has had for a long time," in network computing, said analyst Jean Bozman, research vice president at IDC. Open source technology also can be used in the cloud, she said.
Developers in the cloud get "pay as you go computing" and do not have to deal with capacity planning as they would with conventional, test-driven development, she said.
Sun will continue to support its Network.com grid computing customers, the company said. While Sun Cloud is geared to developers, startups, and students, Network.com was designed for high-performance computing and research, according to Sun. Sun is no longer taking any new customers for Network.com.
Partners in Sun's cloud initiative include cloud application providers RightScale and Zmanda as well as cloud management vendors, software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service providers, service providers, and cloud consulting companies. Eucalyptus will enable users to integrate with other platforms and services.
The Sun Cloud Computing Business Unit was formed in July 2008. Sun's cloud will be deployed on Sun blade servers at the Switch Communications Supernap datacenter in Las Vegas. Both x86 and SPARC blades will be used, with OpenSolaris serving as the datacenter OS while users can run whatever OS they want by using OpenSolaris virtualization capabilities.
Pricing for Sun Cloud will be announced this summer.