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At this week’s Network Computing ’04Q4 launch, Sun Microsystems Inc. announced that TELUS Communications, a major Canadian telecommunications company, is its first strategic alliance for its pay-for-use grid computing services.

With Sun’s wholesale model for standardized grid services, introduced in September 2004, TELUS will resell Sun’s Web-based N1 Grid Computing services starting at $1 CPU/hour. TELUS initially will be targeting financial services and oil and gas industries.

TELUS is the first service provider to become a retail business partner with Sun for its pay-for-use grid computing offering. But Sun plans to work with other retail business partners globally to broaden the delivery of its standardized utility computing capabilities to customers.

“Sun and TELUS are joining forces to drive the next phase of the computing industry, and its delivery as a true utility service,” Jonathan Schwartz, Sun’s president, said in a statement.

“CIOs around the world should begin benchmarking their internal grid infrastructures against our announced price of $1 [U.S] CPU/hour and begin to consider the advantages of moving toward a service-oriented data center, rather than a custom-built grid. Sun and TELUS can assist organizations across North America in radically reducing expense, complexity and risk,” Schwartz said.

“Our customers see the high value of accessing compute power by the hour. They want to lower costs, remove complexity and focus on growing their businesses. The Sun N1 Grid Computing pay-for-use service delivers computing power as a utility, like water and electricity,” said Tony Geheran, vice president of IT at TELUS Communications.

Since September, Sun officials say they have already committed more than 6,000 CPUs for early demand from major financial services companies ready to use its service. Sun’s first standardized utility computing center will go into full operation by the end of the year in Washington, D.C., and more centers are expected to power up within months worldwide, including New York, London and Houston, Texas.

Reporting that many of its customers have already shown strong interest in its new offering, TELUS says it plans to provide early-access trials in January 2005. TELUS expects its Toronto-based compute grid environment to be in full production by early 2005. The new environment will be based on Solaris 10, Sun N1 Grid Engine software and Grid Computing Reference Architectures.

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