Sun's pay-as-you-go CPU plan


Well it's a new day and there's another mind-blowing development. Sun has deployed a pay as you go computer. For $1 per hour per CPU you can run anything you want on Sun's CPU farm.

So in contrast to Amazon's S3 system which I mentioned a day or two ago, Sun isn't offering "pure" CPU cycles as their business. That would be *so* much cooler. Instead they allow you to upload your program, and whatever data it needs to chew on. Then they run your program, keep track of the usage and let you store the results.

This appears to be geared toward the render-farm business - making frames for digital movies - or protein folding or other CPU intensive tasks. It doesn't seem to be the place to go to run your website or word processor.

Both of these developments are interesting because they seem to be leading toward a virtual machine world. This would allow you to have a computer desktop somewhere out there on the Internet. It would be hosted on a combination of Amazon's servers for your hard drive, and Sun's servers for your CPU cycles and some sort of input/output/network device that you carry. Such a device only needs minimal power and could probably run a few weeks between recharging. I bet this is what Google is working toward. That would explain their purchase of dark fiber, for the connectivity, and the development of an online purchase system, an online storage system (GBase), and online applications (GMail, Writely, etc.). Amazon and Sun seem to have beat them in this battle, but Google is still better positioned to win the war.

More broadly, if you compare computing to driving, everyone right now owns their own car. That car is a desktop or laptop. What Amazon and Sun are doing ( and I suspect Google ) is building the public transportation equivalent of computing. A bus won't take you anywhere you want to go anytime you want to go there. Amazon/Sun aren't right for every storage and computing task that you might have. But public transportation is a lot cheaper and more efficient when it is going where you want to go.

(Musings) Permanent Link made 5:00 PM | TrackBacks (0)

Comments (1) Make a Comment

You mentioned an Internet? And were you referring to public transportation in a large city other than DC?

Posted by: Nate at March 28, 2006 4:22 AM

Post a comment