So, I had a conversation with a “cloud evangelist” at Sun Microsystems yesterday (more on that next week), during which I noted his reference to Network.com in the past tense. Naturally, I asked him about this, and he pointed me to network.com. Here is what I found:
We’re Making Changes
Network.com is in transition as we add some exciting new options. We’re not ready to show off what we’re working on just yet, but we’d like to hear from you, and we’d like to keep in touch.
That’s right, the service is no longer available (except for existing customers). Oh, and did I mention the cloud imagery in the background? Hmm …
The man on the other end of the call, Sun’s Russ Castronovo, was tight-lipped about what the future incarnation of Network.com might look like, but he did acknowledge that rarely are such images used without a reason. And while I was a bit taken aback by the decommissioning of the once ballyhooed service, I wasn’t surprised. More than a year ago, a Sun executive told me the company was demoing internally storage, infrastructure and applications as services.
As for what the reborn, cloud computing-style Network.com will look like, we’ll all have to wait a while for details. Research projects like Project Caroline and Project Hydrazine might give some clues, and I think it would be foolish to count out altogether the grid aspect that defined the original offering. One thing that is for sure: cloud computing is no afterthought at Sun. The company’s cloud division reports directly to CEO Jonathan Schwartz, and includes among its leaders Lew Tucker, who returns to Sun’s ranks after, among other things, spearheading Salesforce.com’s App Exchange service.
Network.com might never have lived up to its hype, but part of that was due to Sun’s taking the lead in cloud computing before there even was such a thing ($1/CPU/hour, Web portal, credit card payment, etc.). As it retools the service for today’s cloud-crazy atmosphere, Sun has plenty of existing cloud offerings from which to learn, and, this time, the world should be ready for whatever Sun ultimately unveils. God knows Sun has the technologies and the Internet chops to pull off something special.