Sun Microsystems has bought Q-layer, a Belgian vendor of software for automating the management of computing clouds, it has announced.

The acquisition provides a clue as to how Sun plans to go about delivering on the cloud computing strategy it outlined last month.

Q-layer is the developer of NephOS, a system designed to allow enterprises to create and manage their own private computing clouds by linking facilities operated by different divisions of the enterprise. The software works with Windows and Linux, according to Q-layer, which says it has partnerships with Microsoft and VMWare.

Sun is counting on Q-layer's technology to enable rapid provisioning and deployment of applications, servers, storage and bandwidth within cloud computing infrastructures.

In December, Sun staff described how they hope to sell to companies running cloud development platforms and computing infrastructure.

Q-layer, founded in 2005, will join Sun's Cloud Computing business unit.

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the transaction, with Sun dismissing the value of the deal as "not material" to the company.