Sun's chief executive, Scott McNealy, has thrown down the gauntlet to rival IBM Global Services (IGS), while reiterating his company's commitment to utility computing.
Speaking in London last week, McNealy also defended Sun's recent disappointing financial performance after the firm lost $2.3bn for its fiscal 2003.
"Sun is thriving," he claimed. "I know we have all read things recently, but there are some pretty positive things about the company. I keep getting asked the 'V' question - viability - and the 'R' question - relevance."
McNealy said the IT industry was due for change. He argued that most people do not build their own plane in order to fly; neither do they make their own car.
The chief executive applied this 'airplane model' to data centres, with enterprises building their own unique centres instead of opting for the utility computing model, which, McNealy claimed, was why "IBM Global Services is having a field day".
In another round of criticism against IGS, he described it as a firm that made "Inbred, not best-of-breed" solutions.
"Customers are biting the bullet and saying they can't handle it," McNealy said. "IBM comes in and buys their hangars, their jalopy planes and their staff. It looks good financially, but IBM adds Tivoli flaps to that jalopy airplane, and Lotus landing gear."
He later claimed that IGS would carry on until one of two things happen: "It fixes your problems, or you run out of money."
But Anthony Miller, analyst at Ovum Holway, said Sun still left much to be desired when it came to offering its own solid services play.
"McNealy felt that Sun's mix of hardware, software and services - each making up about one-third of the business - was right to deliver the best solution to customers," said Miller.
"I remain remarkably unconvinced by his response. We've asked in the past when Sun will wake up and smell the services. The answer seems to be that it is still in a deep sleep."
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