Roadblocks abound in Sun's global grid plans

International customers face a much longer wait for the global rollout of Sun's grid computing network

While Sun Microsystems continues to roll out new applications for its pay-as-you-go grid computing network in the US, international customers face a much longer wait for the global rollout of the service.

Sun's grid offering includes options for computing and storage, with pricing based on CPU hours used. While the network includes a centre in London as well as US servers, access is currently restricted to US customers, and Sun has no public timetable for global expansion of the service.

"We have export control issues," chairman Scott McNealy said during a storage strategies update in Washington DC. As well as US controls, Sun was also grappling with European Union regulations restricting cross-border transmission of data. "We'll probably have to set up in Europe for every country," McNealy said.

Regardless of regulatory issues, many corporations were reluctant to send any form of data overseas, said James Whitemore, vice president and chief marketing officer of Sun's data management group.

"Most customers are petrified about sending their data offsite unless it's encrypted," Whitemore told ZDNet Australia.

However, economies of scale might not justify the creation of specific grid networks in smaller markets such as Australia, he noted.

Angus Kidman travelled to Washington as a guest of Sun Microsystems.

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