Powers Unfiltered

An entrepreneur’s journey into grid computing and partnering with Microsoft, by John Powers

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Pioneers get the arrows…

September 19th, 2006 · 2 Comments

I don’t know where I first heard the expression “pioneers get the arrows, settlers get the land,” but it applies in a great many new businesses.  My hat is off to Sun for taking the roll of “giant pioneer” in the area of utility computing, with their SunGrid $1-per-CPU-hour offering that’s been in the headlines for months.  It certainly appears that they are taking their share of arrows (see, for example, today’s CNET article by Stephen Shankland).  “Sun is revamping Sun Grid, which has attracted more hype than paying customers.”  Ouch.  And apparently, they’re losing one or more high-level executives over the continuing apparent non-success of SunGrid.

The offering has been an enigma to me from the outset.  Great hardware (both servers and networking) from a great hardware company, which is certainly important.  Apparently good reliability in terms of keeping the service up and running, which is certainly important.  The missing link?  Applications!  (Here we go again.) 

I was at GridWorld 2006 last week, and there were Sun folks all over the place with signs up for their “Gridathon” where they were showing folks how to adapt applications to their grid, and the excitement was, well, let’s just say “under control.”  I didn’t see a lot of interest, and I think it’s about tackling the wrong problem first.  It appears to me that there’s a long hard hill to climb to get applications onto SunGrid, and until that problem is fixed, few will care if the price is a buck or a penny per CPU-hour, even if the racks are full of nice hardware.

Now a utility that used the simplest method available for adapting a wide array of applications to the grid — THAT would be something.  Any of you hardware / network / datacenter guys want to talk?

Tags: Events · Grid applications · Usability

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Phil // Sep 19, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    I guess that the simplest method would be to duplicate the application across the grid and to then run each application with its own silo of data. Very much like distributing a web/middle tier within a farm, the only difference being that each duplicated web/middle application would have its own set of data (maybe even its own database).

    I’ve blogged a little bit about some of the challenges facing business developers that want to take advantage of concurrent software models http://staticground.blogspot.com/2006/08/concurrency-on-web.html

  • 2 Emil Sit » First steps with the SunGrid // Oct 15, 2006 at 5:12 am

    […] John Powers rightly notes that it is not trivial to adapt most applications to run on the SunGrid: […]

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