Sun guides buyers through the cloud

Sun has launched a service to help companies develop and deploy cloud computing, a rare move into professional services for the company
Written by Sally Whittle, Contributor

Sun has moved into professional services with the launch of the Sun Cloud Strategic Planning Service, designed to help businesses develop and deploy cloud services at all levels.

Sun Cloud Strategic Planning Service will help clients evaluate, plan and implement advanced cloud strategies, including both public and private cloud services, the company announced on Tuesday. Consultants will help identify opportunities and customer readiness across four key areas: business; organisation/culture; technology; and IT environments.

"Cloud computing has been billed as the answer to today's IT woes, but without much clarity on how to get there," Amy O'Connor, vice president in services marketing at Sun, said in a statement. "This is about applying our industry-specific consulting and technology expertise to offer secure, practical guidance to companies looking to drive new levels of efficiency by leveraging this computing model."

The announcement, at Sun's JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, surprised some analysts, because while Sun has excellent technical credentials, it does not have a strong track record in professional services.

"On the technical side it absolutely makes sense, because Sun has tremendous technical expertise in the datacentre," Philip Dawson, a vice president of research with Gartner Group, told ZDNet UK. "But Sun wouldn't be a natural choice for many people when they think of professional services."

However, Dawson added that there was huge demand in the industry for this kind of service, because of the high levels of confusion around cloud computing. "There are now lots of alternate delivery models and ways of deploying resources, and there's a great need for consulting on how to evaluate those opportunities, and how to evolve traditional sourcing arrangements," Dawson said.

However, the new service is likely to face stiff competition from existing service providers such as EDS, IBM and HP, all of which are heavily promoting cloud-computing services.

"Sun has never really been renowned for the same level of service capability as IBM or HP," said Vuk Trifkovic, a senior analyst at Datamonitor. "Added to that, we're seeing a lot of niche players like Appirio specialising entirely on providing services around cloud migration. It's an extremely fast-growing market."

Another likely concern for customers is the question of what will happen to the Sun Cloud Strategic Planning Service in light of Oracle's acquisition of Sun. "I don't doubt Sun's technology or expertise, but you have to take into account the uncertainty of what Oracle might do with it," said Dawson.


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