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Sun Acquires Cloud Computing Software Supplier, Q-Layer

The company's NephOS -- data center modeling and orchestration system product -- works with VMware's ESX, open source Xen, or Sun's xVM VirtualBox.

Sun Microsystems has acquired privately held Q-layer for an undisclosed amount to beef up its cloud computing offerings. The Belgian company makes data center modeling and management software that helps companies organize their computing resources as a cloud computing layer.

"We think Sun has great assets to offer cloud computing users. ... We want customers to take those components and package them up to make it easier to deploy their own clouds," said Juan Carlos Soto, Sun's VP of marketing for its new cloud computing unit, established a year ago.

Q-layer makes NephOS, a data center modeling and orchestration system that turns a blind eye to whether you are using VMware's ESX, open source Xen, or Sun's xVM VirtualBox hypervisor. NephOS can work with all three, generating virtual servers, assigning policies to govern them, scaling them up to meet application needs, and releasing the virtual assets to end users.

Soto said Sun was not in position to announce new cloud computing products on the first day of the acquisition but announcements will follow soon.

NephOS includes a policy engine, assigning policies to different types of virtual machines; a workflow engine to carry out scripted tasks, such as executing a virtual machine backup; billing and chargeback; orchestration of addition virtual servers; and a data center repository that stores vital configuration information on each virtual resource built.

Soto said the addition of Q-layer will allow Sun to produce "a more compelling solution than what we have built so far."

According to information on the Q-layer Web site, its NephOS product allows a data center administrator to view different networks, physical servers, and storage as a set of virtualized assets, then start commissioning their use or discontinue it. "The software then translates these actions to the underlying physical or virtual technologies," generating a virtual data center to be used by different groups. Q-layer's software includes a system of credits that can be assigned to and used by end users to participate in the cloud.

In a December airing of its plans, David Douglas, Sun's senior VP of cloud computing, said Sun will be able to offer an external, elastic cloud computing resource or help enterprises build their own cloud infrastructures.

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