Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Garbage Utility Computing?

The more I talk to the world about utility computing the more I am amazed that the average person wants one definition of "utility computing" The world really isn't that simple. Lets consider your typical utilities that you pay for in the average home -- electric and garbage. Both are undoubtedly utilities, but both have a very different payment model.

My electric utility provider only charges me for electricity I consume. This model is very consistent with the model we use at Network.com where we charge $1/CPU/hour for compute utility. Like my electric company, unless you use the utility you pay nothing. (As a side -- wouldn't it be great if could create the same set of energy consuming hogs like TVs in standby mode, cell phone chargers that aren't charging anything,etc. We could made millions off the useless use of compute, and like the electric utility charge you for this no-value. Alas just a dream, we only charge for what you actually use doing real work, maybe the electrical utilities should do the same?) 

Now some utilities like my garbage utility charge me irrespective of whether I put the garbage out or not. They actually charge me the same if I have no garbage or a can full of garbage. This too is a utility and is very similar to the electric utility, just the business model is different. Phone service is another utility where there is more of a hybrid model of pay-per-use over a certain threshold. Hosting services seem to use this utility pricing model.

So which one is the true utility -- sorry to have to shatter some ideals here.. but BOTH! Utility isn't about how you pay, nor it is rental -- I don't rent electricity, it isn't leasing -- I don't have a lease for any hydro-electrical plants! What is it? It really is about getting someone with expertise in an area to provide a service to you that is more beneficial for you to pay to have run on your behalf than run it yourself.
 

Grid today did a great write-up on the origin of Utility Computing and to reiterate the theme there -- I believe that we are in the early days of Utility computing, the "killer application" has not been found yet, but this will be the dominant compute model of the future. I am excited to be at the forefront of this evolutionary charge and part of the team moving Network.com forward.

-Mark

Thursday Oct 11, 2007

Data Centers in a Diamond Mine?

I was really interested in the Computer World Article -- Data centers get religion. So now we have data centers in chapels, diamond mines, and who knows where next. Now before you convert your bomb shelter, granny cottage or your upstairs bathroom to your data center perhaps we need to step back and ask a more fundamental question... Do we need another Data Center? 

Lunatic, I hear you say! BUT wait... Lets consider electricity -- do you have a generator at home. I do! I live in a relatively rural area where the lights go out a few times a year. My generator is there just in case the power goes out. It came in really handy last year when the power was off for a week. Initially I was ecstatic.. I called everyone and told them I was off the grid and loving it! Then reality set in and I soon realized that my core business wasn't providing electricity! I was so happy to be back on the grid again...

But let me get back to my premise.. Most of us don't generate our own electricity and most of us don't know where the generation happens (Some could be nuclear, wind, hydro, coal, etc.) Basically the industrial "evolution" has occurred... we used to generate our own electricity and now it is a utility that we subscribe to.

The industrial evolution now is transforming compute into a utility. Consider Amazon's S3, EC2, or my favorite Sun's Network.com where you can run your applications or store your data. You don't care where the data center is, you only care if the service you get meets your requirements. If we (Sun) decide to move our data center it shouldn't impact you, you still get compute tone (like dial tone) and are happy. Just like your electrical utility you might care about how green the energy is (or how green your compute utility provider is) and this might change your purchasing decision. We at Sun are very proud of our Eco Innovation initiative and if you are looking for a Green Compute Utility provider we just might be the best in town!

 If you really need your own data center, or like I have, my backup generator, perhaps consider Project Blackbox, but I still think you need to adapt to the industrial evolution and run your business on the compute utility -- Network.com.
 -Mark

Monday Oct 08, 2007

No smoke and mirrors...

Marketing 101 teaches the subtle art of "smoke and mirrors" I am glad that being part of the network.com team I can assure you that we don't do smoke and mirrors, but smoke and fire is another thing! Amazing complex to get this right, and it takes a ton of compute power, but we have the power and for $1/CPU/hr we can do it for you.

 -Mark

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Musings from Mark Herring at Sun...

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