Sun Microsystems will open a European data centre to remotely manage customer systems within the next few months, according to the head of the company's services business.
Sun is also considering establishing a similar facility in Asia-Pacific, most likely in China or India.
The move builds on its November 2004 acquisition of US company, SevenSpace, a specialist in remotely managing and monitoring heterogenous IT systems and applications, according to executive vice-president of Sun Services, Don Grantham.
Sun now monitored and remotely managed more than 100 customer data centres from the former SevenSpace data centre in Virginia, he said.
"We are planning to open another data centre in Linlithgow, Scotland, in probably a few months' time," Grantham said. Over time, Sun was looking at siting another remote management data centre in Asia-Pacific, he said.
"The location is not decided, but we recently consolidated our remote support call centres," Grantham said. "We had nine in Asia and now have two - one in Bangalore and the other in Beijing. Those [locations] would be the two prime sites we would look at."
Depending on the success of the European data centre, a similar facility in India or China could open within the next 12-18 months, he said.
Sun was seeing very strong growth in both its managed and preventative services operations, Grantham said, as the company transitions more of its support operations to focus on proactive rather than reactive monitoring.
One of the challenges Sun faces was in retraining support staff to carry out remote systems support rather than the traditional call centre approach, he said.
The ultimate goal is to provide IT as a service via computer grids, according to Grantham.
"The data centre of the future will be a virtual place, not a physical place," he said.
Customers were already embracing the concept, debating along with IT vendors, how and when the industry would move to grids, Grantham said.