Well, the Sun Grid officially went live on Wednesday (see www.gridtoday.com/grid/603962.html), and I was able to speak with Aisling MacRunnels, Sun Microsystems' senior director of utility computing, to get the low-down on the grid's first 24 hours.
It would seem the ultimate measure of a successful launch would be the number of users signed up and running jobs, and MacRunnels assured me that — although Sun isn't releasing any numbers just yet — the response exceeded what some inside the company thought to be a lofty goal.
I was also interested in finding out what the future might hold in terms of applications being hosted on the Sun Grid, and MacRunnels commented that the company has seen tremendous interest from ISVs about being involved with Sun Grid, either having Sun Grid-powered portals on their respective sites or actually having their applications hosted on the grid.
For the latter group, MacRunnels said once licensing issues are worked out, she believes that “will be the next iteration of Sun Grid,” and she expects it will happen within a relatively short timeframe. It should be noted however that, although no business plan has been established as of yet, users will likely have to pay a premium over the $1/CPU/Hour flat rate to run jobs on these third-party applications. In the case of accessing the Sun Grid from a third-party site, MacRunnels said the vendor, not the user, will likely be the one paying Sun directly.
Then, of course, there is the question of Denial-of-Service (DOS) attack Sun Grid suffered during its first day of operation. The attack targeted a demo- version of a text-to-speech application by Cepestral that was sitting on the splash page for Sun Grid. The issue was resolved by moving the application inside the grid, and, it should be noted, the attack had no effect on the grid service, MacRunnels said.
In fact, MacRunnels downplayed the significance of the DOS attack, stating that, “I think if you talk to any Internet service company … this is a daily occurrence.” She reiterated this point by adding that, “It was no big deal. It was something we anticipated and dealt with immediately.”
If anything, MacRunnels said, users should see the attack (or at least the handling of it) as a sign that Sun Grid is secure. We got to test the system, she said, and everything works. It's important to realize that the attack was only made possible because the application was sitting outside, she added, it's not like someone was able to break in and wreak havoc on the grid itself.
And, according to MacRunnels, that is not something we are likely to see with Sun Grid, which she says was designed with safety and ease-of-use in mind.
“We put a lot of effort,” she said, “into hitting what we believe is the right amount of security to be able to protect our customers and the integrity of their data, but without making access to the system too arduous.”