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Get Yer CPUs on the Net, Retail

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 6, 2005

Sun Microsystems President Jonathan Schwartz let slip at Web 2.0 this morning (no doubt on purpose) that soon, Sun plans to start selling computing power at “retail,” over the Web by the buck—payable via eBay’s PayPal. That sounds like an expansion of its $1-a-CPU-hour “compute utility.” Only problem, he says: The government wants to consider anything more than one CPU-hour worth of computing power a weapon. Not many more details provided, but Schwartz said he thinks there’s a “long tail” of small users of utility computing power that will be far more profitable than the traditional model of customizing hardware and software for big customers.

Reader Comments


October 7, 2005 10:23 AM

I can't help but think that grid computing has little to offer for individual households. Even the cheapest desktop PC's now have processors fast enough to handle everything on the retail shelf today (including high-performance games).

Where utility computing might be good is when a company needs some processing power in a pinch.

Dave Dorfman

October 20, 2005 3:41 PM

Although the average PC user may not need utility computing, the average PC programmer could begin to take advantage of this as a back end service. Applications do exist that are computationally intensive.

More importantly, what applications could exist if supercomputing power was a paypal transaction away?

The easy example of a leisure time activity is the use of a compute utility for photo realistic rendering of small movies in almost real time.

How about Finite element analysis for amateur woodworkers?

How about Sail configuration analysis using CFD techniques for the avid sailer?

Just a couple of examples from a moments thought, but what is missing is the software to make these applications accessible to a new class of users.

There already is a supercomputer in almost every New PC, it's called a graphics processor, and once the application for it emerged the industry followed it into the home very quickly.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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