Sun bolsters services efforts

Sun Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday underlined its commitment to driving cost and complexity out of corporate IT shops with a hard focus on technology-based solutions through its professional services group.

Taking a different course than archrivals IBM Corp. and Hewlett Packard Co., Sun will place a stronger emphasis on technologies involving managed services and utility computing to solve a range of different services-related problems instead of just throwing more bodies at those problems, according to Pat Sueltz, Sun’s executive vice-president in a briefing with reporters at its Burlington, Mass. facilities.

To ensure the success of this effort Sun has also combined its utility computing and managed services groups under one roof.

“The priorities we have in this area are centered around advanced services. You will see an eventual confluence of remotely managed services and remote utility computing where everything is connected to the network. You can’t keep throwing people at these services and outsourcing problems,” Sueltz said.

Sun intends to broaden its services portfolio by moving into managed security, which the company sees as a growing opportunity among its largest corporate accounts.

This growing emphasis on services, however, does not mean Sun will take its eye off the product and technology ball. Sun still very much thinks of itself as a systems-oriented company, according to Sueltz, despite services now accounting for 37 per cent of its business.

“I expect that as we come out with the new server lines, Java desktop systems, and storage products you will see that mix of revenues change more to products, which is what a technology company should be looking to do,” Sueltz said.

As it has for more than 20 years, Sun clings to the belief that the network is the computer and that belief is what will still inspire and drive its professional services division.

“The vision is still ‘Everyone and everything connected to the network.’ Everything with an electrical or biological heartbeat will be connected to the network including PCs, PDAs, GPS (Global Positioning System) systems in your car, dog collars, and chips your kids carry,” Sueltz said.

Sueltz denied that Sun’s increased technology-driven approach to services was a way of compensating for the much smaller number of people it has compared to the numbers that IBM and HP have dedicated to services. She said by working in concert with its technology partners and corporate users both, the company can deliver a more effective and broader range of services solutions than its archrivals and does not see it as a situation where the company is forced to “make lemonade out of lemons.”

“We (Sun) do not want to be the only ones providing the complete solution. We have no problem working with experts who can provide specific solutions that would be part of the overall solution. Sun is different in that way,” Sueltz said.

Separately Sun on Tuesday announced that Howrey Simon Arnold & White, a large international law firm, has signed a deal that will see Sun Services help the law firm move from Hewlett-Packard’s storage environment and Microsoft’s Windows-based server over to Sun’s StorEdge system and SunFire servers.

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