First Cloud Venture Wasnt a Big Hit
Ironically, Sun's first prime-time venture into the genre (Sun Grid, which opened to the public in February 2005) didn't take the sharp upward trajectory the company had hoped.
On Feb. 1, 2005, Sun announced that it was offering grid computing capacity to all takers-hosted in several global data centers-at a flat fee of $1 per CPU per hour and providing a gigabyte of storage capacity for $1 per month. There were a number of paying customers, but not enough to send the initiative on a skyrocket to popularity.
The company had plenty of practice, too. For about three years prior to that day, Sun had offered grid computing resources on an individually tailored pricing basis.
"The Sun Grid is still out there; we have a number of big customers who are avid users of it. It was an early attempt at the cloud space, and we kind of got some of the features right and some of them not quite right," Tucker told me.
"We're continuing to support users there, looking at how we provide that model with tweaks going forward," Tucker said. "We turned off taking new customers a couple of weeks ago; as part of redoing some data center stuff, it didn't make sense to take any new ones at the moment."
Sun doesn't plan on turning away any customers who knock on the door to talk about cloud computing, however. The company is clearly in need of a hit, since it's been slogging through most of the first decade of the century in the red.
Can cloud computing restore the Lustre to Sun? 2009 should provide a major part of that answer.