Feeds

Sun closes 'future' pay-per-use utility computing service

From flagship to flag maker

High performance access to file storage

Sun Microsystems has killed its once high-profile utility computing experiment, Network.com, which let customers buy computing power by the hour.

The company revealed it's no longer accepting new customers after four years, saying parts of the business and technology model "were not in the sweet spot". The 13 customers and 48 applications using Network.com are will be offered continued service.

Utility computing was one of chief executive Jonathan Schwartz's personal causes here and here, and a path to new revenue for Sun. The idea of Network.com was to let customers rent Sun's computing power instead of buying their own expensive servers or expand their data center capacity.

It worked on paper, not in practice.

The service struggled to attract customers and lately was starting to look dated, serving as a place for the likes of film giant Pixar to dump huge rendering jobs, but not suited to the needs of start-ups and individuals wanting lightweight hosting and RESTful hosting and provisioning. These customers are moving to Amazon Web Services, instead.

Sun's Network.com page

The future ain't what it used to be: Sun's utility computing service is closed

Dave Douglas, senior vice president of cloud computing and developer platforms group, said a replacement service is planned but was unwilling to divulge any details. He revealed the closure to press and analysts in San Francisco, while outlining Sun's cloud strategy. Douglas' cloud and developer group has taken on new significance following a re-organization that folded in development of Sun's software products.

Reading between the lines, it seems Sun will now evangelize clouds and provide its own hardware and software with a view to running customers' clouds. "We will have a grid going forward," Douglas said. "It may just not look like the old one." He added that Sun might run its own branded cloud services in some cases.

A typical example could see Sun build a Memcached distributed memory caching system using Sun's MySQL for a customer, and then possibly running it, Douglas said. MySQL customers using Memcached today include YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia.

Sun cloud computing group chief technology officer Lew Tucker - who helped build Salesforce.com's AppExchange while on a hiatus from Sun - rounded up the hardware and software Sun plans to promote among customers and partners. These span OpenSolaris, xVM, Virtual Box, Crossbow, MySQL Glassfish, Sun Intel and Sparc servers and blades. Also in the mix are Sun's Open Storage, Sun's 70000 storage units, xVM Operations Center and OpenID.

Existing enterprise customers are likely to be Sun's best bet. For all Sun's talk of clouds, the sad fact is that Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com - those owning the mindshare - are not using Sun equipment. They are running a mix of Linux on Intel servers - which Sun can provide, but are - clearly - no Sun's crown jewels of Solaris and Sparc servers.

Tucker said he believed Sun could find a market by having Linux run on top of the xVM or by building out a virtualized network using the Crossbow network virtualization and resource control systems in Solaris and OpenSolaris.

"With Solaris virtualization you can run Linux fine as a guest on the hypervisor," Tucker said. "You can use Solaris to run the data center... virtualization technology brings new life as to why you want Solaris. It's like the old mainframe days." ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.