Sun Microsystems is in negotiations with electronic stock exchange operator Archipelago to launch a platform to buy and sell blocks of computing power.
According to a Financial Times report, the electronic computing exchange could be operational in three to five months.
The FT reports that Sun was reluctant to estimate the potential size of the computing marketplace but suggested that it could exceed $4bn quite quickly.
The move is part of the vendor's 'utlilty computing' initiative which allows corporate customers to rent computer power and run their applications on systems owned and operated by Sun. The vendor rolled a pay-per-use service earlier this week where it will sell computing power for $1 dollar an hour. Similar on-demand services are already available from hardware rivals IBM and HP.
Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president, says computing power is set to become a commodity in the same way that electricity went from being an expensive luxury to an affordable product.
Steve Rubinow, chief technology officer at Archipelago, told the FT that the exchange's technology can easily be adapted to trade computing power units. But the two firms have not yet defined the exact nature of the instrument that would be traded.
The companies also say that a speculative market for computing power futures would emerge once the exchange was established.