Several months ago, I had a discussion with Sun about the future of its Network.com platform wherein I was informed of “murmurs and noise” that changes were on the way. The plan, I was told, was to leverage its resources to handle more general-purpose, non-grid-enabled applications. These murmurs seem to have materialized in Project Hydrazine, which Sun introduced earlier this month at its JavaOne conference.
According to Rich Green’s keynote at the event, Project Hydrazine is a cloud-based platform — running on Network.com — that will allow users to find, merge, deploy and share services. A related initiative, Project Insight, will allow users to monetize their JavaFX and/or Project Hydrazine-based services via customized advertising technology. With scant details, my first impression is that it sounds similar to what Google is doing with App Engine, and Project Insight seems to have a little AdWords going on. From early reports, though, the big difference between Project Hydrazine and other cloud platforms is Sun’s claim that its version will be free.
Although Sun isn’t officially commenting on Project Hydrazine, they did pass along an “in-a-nutshell” version of the project, which pretty much sums up Green’s introduction. According to Sun, Project Hydrazine is a work-in-progress open source, open standards-based, enterprise-grade hosting infrastructure for Web-based services. It will include a cloud-based network environment, along with infrastructure components including JavaFX, Identity Management technology, MySQL, GlassFish app server, storage, etc.
Project Hydrazine is also a place for developers and designers to collaborate. Traditional developers, as well as content authors will be able to find, develop, deploy and share services through data repository capabilities of Project Hydrazine. While Sun will deploy Project Hydrazine on Network.com, it will be an open platform so anyone can deploy it in his or her datacenter.
Another related work-in-progress is Project Insight, which will provide instrumentation and advertising services delivered via Project Hydrazine and integrated into JavaFX client APIs. Instrumentation is a service that allows developers to learn anonymously about how end-users interact with their applications. Developers will get anonymous but fine-grained data, whereas Sun and others will only have access to aggregate, anonymous data. Instrumentation will allow for the study of application/service usage patterns to improve user experience and flow, as well as customized in-application advertising. Utilizing the advertising feature is optional.
For developers who decide to use it, though, the advertising function melds third-party ad services with the applications/services through simple JavaFX client APIs and Project Hydrazine. Sun claims this will simplify the process of adding optional ads to applications/services; will help developers open new, optional, revenue channels; and will allow all partners in the Java ecosystem to monetize advertising. Developers control advertising delivery and can refine it using instrumentation data.
Sun says it will provide more information on both Project Hydrazine and Project Insight as they evolve, but in the meantime, a nice snapshot — including the somewhat fuzzy diagram of the Project Hydrazine platform — can be found at www.sun.com/software/products/hydrazine/index.jsp.
Speaking of cloud computing (as we always do), we have two features this week where readers can catch up on what’s going on with the cloud market. In the first, we have an interview with IBM’s Dennis Quan, where he discusses Big Blue’s busy past few months and also gives some insight into where IBM will be taking its Blue Cloud project in future.
In the other feature, I spoke with Platform Computing’s Songnian Zhou and Jim Mancuso to discuss why the financial services market is ramping up its use of grid computing despite a reeling economy. Zhou says it’s all about computing “smarter,” which allows companies to work faster, save power and also exercise corporate responsibility. Cloud computing, he says, is also on their radars, but the model — in terms of both pricing and delivery — will have to be done right in order to attract such advanced users.
Elsewhere in the issue, be sure to check out the following items: “World Community Grid to Tackle Rice Crisis“; “Cacheonix Announces Clustered Cache, Data Grid Solution“; “Platform Unveils Enterprise Cluster Management Solution“; “Vertica Launches Grid-Based Analytic Database on EC2“; “SAS Unveils Virtual Environment Management Solution“; and “IBM Offers High-Performance BladeCenter for the Datacenter.”
Comments about GRIDtoday are welcomed and encouraged. Write to me, Derrick Harris, at [email protected].