Sun adds support for Amazon Web services, targets start-ups

Sun is aiming squarely at the start-up market, making several database and server related moves it hopes will lock start-ups into its services early on.

First, Sun is offering support to companies that integrate Sun’s open source database product, MySQL with the popular Amazon web services hosting, called Elastic Compute Cloud (or EC2). That’s big news for developers. They’ve wanted to use the popular MySQL for their database and EC2, but the mix has been dangerous.

That’s because until now, you risked losing data in your database if your instance of EC2 crashed. Now Sun will give you a way to save that data and even a customer service number to call, when you think all is lost and you’re about to jump off the balcony.

Second, Sun is announcing the official launch of its open source operating system, OpenSolaris. In conjunction, it’s announcing that OpenSolaris will now work with the popular Amazon’s web services.

Start-ups looking to build web sites are turning increasingly to Amazon’s web services platform, because it’s so worry free. It’s pays as you go: Amazon increases or decreases your server use, according to how much you need. And until now, Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), as it is called, has only worked with Linux-based operating systems, such as Redhat. Now when a company signs up with EC2, they get a drop-down menu to choose what operating system they want to use, and the OpenSolaris option is no extra charge. Redhat charges $19 a month. Besides Redhat, you can also select other free operating systems, such as Fedora or CentOS. However, Sun boasts its OpenSolaris is the better option because it provides a technology called ZFS, which lets a company more easily scale on a large number of storage devices, and also has a debugging tool called DTrace that the others don’t have.

Finally, in a nod to the growing popularity of social networking, Sun is offering developers a year’s worth of free hosting on its servers through a vendor partner, Joyent (Joyent’s servers are based on OpenSolaris). The program is meant for developers who are creating applications on the OpenSocial platform. The OpenSocial platform is an effort led by Google, to corral multiple social networking companies to agree to common standards so that developers can make a single application that works on all networks. Sun will offer a separate program for Facebook soon, the company said.

Joyent says it has 4,000 applications running on its cloud, generating more than 5 billion page views a month. In the past three weeks, Sun and Joyent have offered the free hosting to applications built for the Hi5 network, which was the first to release a complete set of APIs. Those applications are already generating 100 million page views a month, according to Sun.

[Disclosure: Sun Microsystems is a significant sponsor of VentureBeat's digital media coverage]

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