Utility computing without VMs “considered harmful”?

May 15, 2007

Previously, in S3 re-pricing commentary, I wrote about the good news that Amazon’s EC2 service was hitting capacity limits.

Sun has built it, but will they come? talks about Sun’s lackluster sales with its utility computing effort.

I’m wondering why there is this disparity. In my opinion, there are two major differences between Sun and Amazon’s offerings:

  1. With Sun’s offering you need to port your program to Solaris.
  2. Sun’s costs a dollar an hour, Amazon’s costs 10 cents an hour.

I think the porting problem is a much bigger limitation and this bodes well for the workspace concept in grid computing. There is a similar problem with the big grids in that they usually expect scientists to port their code to a homogenous platform — this is sometimes a near-impossible proposition.