DoS Attack Brings Down Sun Grid Demo

A text-to-speech translation application that Sun offered on the public Internet to demonstrate the power of its Grid computing system was quickly brought down by a denial-of-service attack.

A text-to-speech translation application, one of the many services that uses Sun Microsystems Grid computing system, did not fare very well on its opening day, March 22, as it was hit by a denial-of-service network attack that forced the application off the public Internet.

Since users of the Sun Grid have to go through a number of stages to be authorized before being registered, Sun decided to load that text-to-speech translation application outside the Grid portal, so that users would not need to register to use it.

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Grid computing systems integrate the computing power of hundreds or even thousands of separate computers to handle jobs that require massive amounts of processing power, such as geologic oil exploration programs or weather forecasting applications.

Sun developed its own massive grid to offer as a utility computing service for anyone willing to pay for access to its computing power. The text-to-speech application is an effort by Sun to provide a public demonstration of the grids capabilities.

"We were very aware that there could be malicious users out there who might want to try and bring down the Sun Grid if we allowed unauthorized users to access the application inside the Grid portal. As such, we decided to host it outside. The system defended itself against the DoS attack, but that inhibited usage of the application," Aisling MacRunnels, Suns senior director of utility computing, told eWEEK in an interview.

Sun then brought the application up outside the Grid portal for a second time, but it was again brought down by a DoS attack. It then decided to move the application inside the Grid portal, where users will have to register with Sun, provide their names, home address, and set up a PayPal payment account or some other Sun-approved payment method. They also have to detail their intent for the Grid, she said.

But the DoS attacks have not dampened Suns enthusiasm for the project, and the text-to-speech translation will be offered outside the portal for free trial and use again later this week, MacRunnels said.

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