The hype cycle for grid computing started many years ago, and today it is mostly relegated to uses in bioinformatics, financial services, and 3d modeling (think crash testing, oil discovery, etc.). With yesterday’s announcement, Sun is making this grid infrastructure available to anyone, anytime, and on demand at Network.com. As Jonathan Schwartz points out, consumer plays have been driving the surge behind massively scalable web services. Think Google, Yahoo, eBay. On the enterprise side think about any dozen of SaaS vendors like Salesforce, LivePerson and Rightnow. Rather than building your own infrastructure, imagine being able to create your app or service and deploy it with no wires to pull, no datacenter or storage infrastructure to manage, and all with the frictionless use of a credit card or PayPal? Pretty interesting thought? I haven’t done the ROI analysis of $1 per CPU/hr (would love to see someone’s rough cut at this including operating overhead) but this certainly levels the playing field for scalable backends. Imagine if you are a startup and can’t get VC funding but have a killer app to deploy. Without any upfront capital expenditure, why not throw your service on the grid, pay per use, and build from there. That is a big concept, if it works. I believe this is the beginning, the very early beginning, of on-demand utility computing. With Microsoft moving behind software as a service, I see them deploying their own grid on their own stack on a rent per use basis. IBM will too. Competition will breed even better pricing and more opportunities for startups to focus on their apps and product and less about the back-end. I don’t see startups rushing to deploy their whole infrastructure on the Sun grid right away, but it certainly is worth looking at and monitoring over time. What has changed from 10 years ago is that the focus is not on corporate computing (those guys still want their own grids) but as Jonathan so aptly points out, the long tail-the renegade departments who don’t want to wait, the many startups that have new web services, etc. Ironically it was Sun that printed money from the VCs and startup community during the bubble-our checks went to a startup and they bought a Sun, Oracle, EMC backend. Well today the open source wave has killed that business and maybe this is another take for Sun to get at this capital. So how about that ROI analysis?
Published by Ed Sim
founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, Saas 2.0, googlization of IT, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockeyView all posts by Ed Sim →