Byte and Switch: hosted grid offerors working hard to lure skeptical users

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Byte and Switch ran a piece last week on the recent efforts by Sun, Amazon, and Unisys to overhaul their hosted computation solutions to “lure skeptical users.” According to the article:

Users have already cited cost issues and service level uncertainty as big grid computing turn-offs, although vendors are now launching a fresh attempt to draw in hosted customers.…”People understand the concept but there are still not enough pre-built applications or documented case studies to lower peoples’ confusion thresholds,” says Michael Dortch, director at the Robert Frances Group.

The article is interesting for the descriptions it gives of the current state of customer response to utility computing. For example:

Sun says that around 1,000 U.S. users are already running applications on its back-end systems. Many are in the HPC or technology research fields: Takers include the Brookhaven National Lab, which is using the vendor to support its atomic research. Another is AMD, which is running chip design applications on the grid.

Sun has also changed its storage pricing model, in a move similar to Amazon’s recent change:

Sun has also quietly shifted its pricing strategy for the storage component of its grid. The vendor had originally planned to offer storage on demand, priced at $1 per Gbyte per month, although this has been scrapped in favor of a less uniform pricing structure.