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Sun Grid Compute Utility

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the new-generation-of-data-farmers dept.

185

jbltgz writes "The Register is reporting that the long awaited Sun Grid Compute Utility has been opened to the public. Now you can run your CPU intensive jobs on a grid of AMD Opteron-based Sun Hardware for $1 per CPU per hour for a fraction of cost, in a fraction of the time."

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975809)

fp

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975921)

OMG you did it! I love you man! Seriously, I really do!1!!i^4!

Selling off CPU time... (5, Interesting)

ZzzzSleep (606571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975823)

How long will it be until botnet operators start up a similar service? Or am I out of date and they have already done this? Anyway kudos to Sun for offering this service.

ZzzzSleep

Re:Selling off CPU time... (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975926)

They already do, botnets have been rented out for both Spam and DDoS attacks for some time. In fact, the price kept going down, since it was so easy to set up a botnet.

POVRay (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975825)

I wonder how long it would take for someone to port the POVRay engine to Sun's grid? At $1 per CPU/hour, this could be a boon for amatuer 3D graphics designers and the Internet Ray Tracing [irtc.org] competitors. Use low res renders during testing, then pay Sun $25 to get your high quality result back in 20 minutes rather than the next day. Could be a lot of fun. :-)

Can anyone think of other good uses for the average (or not so average) home user? Perhaps new image compression formats that rely on Sun's Grid to get the best compression/quality tradeoffs through brute-force power?

Re:POVRay (1)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975852)

Best use of Sun's grid: playing Duke Nukem Forever, thats why it has been delayed so long, honest

Re:POVRay (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975983)

Well, now that you asked, you can use all that computing power to...

Compile gentoo with KDE in only 20hrs

Browse 10 pages in Firefox

Run Windows XP Pro AND Notepad at the same time

Get 20FPS in BF2

Run a "Hello World" java applet

Re:POVRay (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976052)

Actually someone from SGI ported POV Ray to MPI about 4 years ago:

http://www.verrall.demon.co.uk/mpipov/ [demon.co.uk]

There is also a PVM version as well.

http://www-mddsp.enel.ucalgary.ca/People/adilger/p ovray/pvmpov.html [ucalgary.ca]

For one of my graduate classes I am MPI enabling the latest povray source based on Leon Verrall, Andreas Dilger, & Brad Klines previous work mentioned above.

Re:POVRay (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976062)


POV has been parallelized for years. Believe it or not there is even a sourceforge project for it.

Re:POVRay (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976127)

POV has been parallelized for years.

Right you are! I found this version [uni-potsdam.de] of POVRay that supports DRMAA rendering. So it looks like all that is required is a recompile for Solaris AMD64, and it'll be good to go! :-)

Re:POVRay (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976086)

Sorry to reply to myself, but Sun actually suggsted a pretty good use in their FAQ: "Entertainment/Media (digital content creation, animation,rendering,digital asset management)"

Perhaps this could be used for video encoding? Certainly, many users would probably encode movies they intend to illegally redistribute, but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of users who are looking to make a DVD (eventually Blu-Ray) of their home videos or amatuer movies. Sun's grid could potentially compress all the movie pieces in parallel and return the results. A multi-threaded encoder could handle the compression even faster.

Re:POVRay (1)

leoxx (992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976126)

I might pay for CPU time if there were a mythtv plugin that used the sun grid to transcode content. Getting many many gigs of data to and from the sun machines might be an issue tho.

video encoding (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976135)

The time it'd take to send/upload the content would probably be longer than if you just plunked down and did it yourself on any relatively new computer.

The only way it'd make sense is if you have a lot of video to compress and even then, over the long term it might still make sense to buy a cheapo computer or two & DIY.

Re:POVRay (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976344)

It would probably be cheaper to just buy a quad-core system and a copy of cinema craft encoder (assuming DVD, and MPEG2.) As it is, it takes less than 24 hours to make a multi-pass (say, 3 passes) VBR MPEG2 movie at DVD resolution.

Re:POVRay (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976362)

I think the 10GB disk space limit kills that for now.

Prostitute Schedule for Mar. 22 at the MBOT in SF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976155)

Folks, check out the updated prostitute schedule [fuckedcompany.com] for March 22 at the Mitchell Brother's O'Farrell Theater (MBOT), located at 895 O'Farrell Street, San Francisco, California. The MBOT is the most convenient way for you to buy a blow job, a hand job, and full service (i.e. vaginal sexual intercourse).

I kid you not.

Please establish a hypertext link to this message. Spread the word!

FYI: Non USians need not apply. (5, Funny)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975827)

We're not having you modelling your nukes on our servers thankyouverymuch.

Re:FYI: Non USians need not apply. (4, Funny)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975998)

US citizens, however, are free to model nuclear weapons to their hearts' desire. Until Homeland Security shows up.

Re:FYI: Non USians need not apply. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976082)

US citizens, however, are free to model nuclear weapons to their hearts' desire. Until Homeland Security shows up.


Second amendment, baby.

Let 'em come. :)

Re:FYI: Non USians need not apply. (1)

spagetti_code (773137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976043)

unless, of course, you go through anonymizer.com :-)

Imagine... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975828)

hahahahahahaha mod me down fuckers!!

Details please (3, Interesting)

Umbral Blot (737704) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975831)

The ability to but powerful computing time is a cool idea that has been featured in several sci-fi novels. However the article fails to mention exactly how powerful these Sun CPUs are. How much bang do you get for your buck? They also fail to mention how hard it will be to write code for this platform. Can I simply send them some standard C source, or will I have to code using some special extensions that will make my code totally unportable and thus lock me into buying more and more time from them?

Re:Details please (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975883)

No code is unportable if it's properly written. Even if they were to use a proprietary API, nothing's preventing you from writing proper abstraction classes (as any good programmer should), that can then easily be retargeted to a different clustering solution with minimal hassle.

Re:Details please (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975887)

And also, how do you get the data to them?

At work, we find couriering HDDs to have awesome bandwidth.

Re:Details please (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976400)

If you RTFM, you upload apps and data in zip files (limited to 100MB each and 10GB total).

Re:Details please (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976474)

I worked for a video production company once, a while back...we did a contract job for a local web development company, and one of the video guys was explaining how we did film editing (which involved having the film transferred to some sort of intermediate editing format, working on that to produce timecoded video, editing that and sending it back for printing):

Video Guy: "So yeah, they take all the film, and put it on video for us to edit; of course now they send it to us digitally, and we send it back--"
Web Guy: "Wow, how long does it take to send?"
Video Guy: "Just to send it? Uh, about 10 minutes, I guess."
Web Guy: "Wow. What kind of a connection do you guys have?"
Video Guy: (walks to closet, pulls out FedEx Express box) "A lot of these."

You can fit a LOT of data in a FedEx Medium Box, if you pack it right...

Re:Details please (1)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975895)

TFA and Sun's site are low on details, but I imagine they run Solaris. So if you compile for that OS (which is binary compatible between recent versions) or, more likely, usa Java, you should be fine.

Re:Details please (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975924)

Soooooo not using an interpreted or JiT'd language when you have to pay $1 per CPU hour.... Does gcj work on solaris/Opteron?

Re:Details please (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976070)

you know they wouldn't mind. If you use java their income goes up what 20-30%?
-nB

Re:Details please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976264)

This dumb test compile with 'gcc -O2' indicates that Java is faster.

fred:~ > count=100000000 sh -c './bench $count && java -server Bench $count'
time: 2840 ms count=100000000 d=1
time: 1993 ms count=100000000 d=1.0
fred:~ > cat bench.c Bench.java

#include <sys/time.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

long long ms(struct timeval t) {
  return t.tv_usec/1000 + t.tv_sec * (long long)1000;
}
int main(int argc, char *argv[]) {
  struct timeval start, end;
  gettimeofday(&start, 0);
  int i, m = atoi(argv[1]);
  double d = 1;
  for (i = 1; i < m; i++) {
    d += d / i;
  }
  gettimeofday(&end, 0);

  fprintf(stderr, "time: %lld ms count=%d d=%lg\n", ms(end) - ms(start), m, d/m);
  return 0;
}

public class Bench {
  static public void main(String [] args) {
    long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
    int i, m = Integer.parseInt(args[0]);
    double d = 1;
    for (i = 1; i < m; i++) {
      d += d / i;
    }
    System.err.println("time: "+(System.currentTimeMillis() - start) + " ms count="+m+" d="+d/m);
  }
}

Re:Details please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976334)

When I change the "benchmark" operation to d += 1 + d/i, so that we calc a number other than '1':
    fred:~ > count=100000000 sh -c './bench $count && java -server Bench $count'
    time: 3143 ms count=100000000 d=18.9979
    time: 2150 ms count=100000000 d=18.997896413850405
which still puts Java ahead of C.

Re:Details please (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976421)

Indeed, that is a dumb test.

Re:Details please (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976486)

Soooooo not using an interpreted or JiT'd language when you have to pay $1 per CPU hour....

Perhaps not JITted code, but for long running processes, a modern mixed-mode JVM like hotspot can kick the pants off a similar C/C++ program. [kano.net] So using the latest Java VM may actually save you money by executing your code as efficiently as possible. You can probably get pretty close with a static compiler by optimizing specifically for the machines that Sun uses, but it would be hard to beat out a runtime JVM that knows the current execution path of the code.

Does gcj work on solaris/Opteron?

It should work. [gnu.org] But you'll be running with 32 bit instructions, which will probably slow you down considerably.

Re:Details please (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975913)

However the article fails to mention exactly how powerful these Sun CPUs are. How much bang do you get for your buck?

Sun claims that they are "dual-core Sun Fire, Opertron servers". That means that they are likely to be something like the V20z [sun.com] which range from 2.0 GHz to 2.2 GHz. It would be nice if they were a bit more specific (e.g. how do you know they'll upgrade the grid in the future?), but their FAQ makes it sound like they're relying on Solaris CPU stats to charge you. OS stats like that are usually based on time slices rather than actual computational power, thus making a "standardized" CPU/hour difficult to create.

Re:Details please (1)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975922)

Basically you can run any application that runs on Solaris. You will also have to use the Sun N1 Grid Engine to make it run on many processors in parallel. As the article says, there are already companies that are using it to carry out certain tasks. Besides using the Grid Engine software, I suppose you could safely assume a POSIX environment.

Re:Details please (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976124)

So with that in mind:
does anyone have a version of VOBSUB that runs on Solaris 10 (and does it scale beyond 2 cores well)?
I can see it now: upload a DVD in an encrypted volume as your dataset, have a decryption/encryption wrapper around vobsub and output an encrypted MP4 as your results file.
Batch up your movies and away you go. Sun will even handle the distrobution of the MP4 as you simply place the download path and password on the net :-)

Betcha it happens (sooner or later) ;) ;)
-nB

Re:Details please (1)

zwad (937823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976103)

I don't understand how can it be $1 per CPU per hour? The opteron is only a 2.2 GHz processor how is that a supercomputer?

Re:Details please (2, Informative)

W2k (540424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976178)

Supercomputers aren't about single ultra-powerful CPU:s. A supercomputer consists of lots of CPU:s, possibly thousands, working together. One Opteron 2.2GHz isn't a supercomputer, but a thousand such CPU:s certainly are, if made to work in parallel. Obviously this requires pretty advanced hardware to manage the interconnects and such, in addition to software specifically written for such systems, but that's why everyone doesn't has a supercomputer in his home, even though one can be built using mostly "off-the-shelf" PC hardware.

Re:Details please (1)

zwad (937823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976290)

that makes sense, but I still dont get why it is $1 per CPU?? are you saying the expensive part is the special interconnects? Because if you wanted to run a supercomputer of 1000's CPU's for an hour it would cost $1000, that seems really expensive. I mean if I bought one opteron for say $800 it would only take me a year to get 360*24 CPU-hours which at a dollar a piece is way more expensive than just buy the hardware to begin with.

Re:Details please (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976419)

Sounds like Sun Grid isn't for you. Consider the economics if you need the results of your job tomorrow, not in a year.

Re:Details please (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976251)

I guess the idea is to use a lot of them, like so:
http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/basic [top500.org] (see column 3).
Maybe like entry #141, the University of Nottingham.

(I don't want to be a fanboi but) this kind of shows that while people say "Linux is not ready for the desktop" it is ready for certain other tasks that you need computers for:
http://www.top500.org/lists/2005/11/l/Operating_Sy stem_Family [top500.org] .

Re:Details please (2, Informative)

dslauson (914147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976387)

Here's a link to an FAQ [sun.com] on Sun's site.

Any code that can be compiled and tested on Solaris 10 can be run on the grid. However, to get the benefit of parallel execution (meaning running parts of a job on multiple processors at the same time), which is really the main benefit of running on a grid like this, you must either write multi-threaded code, or you must use the MPI library, which is pretty much the standard these days for scientific and parallel computing.

Re:Details please (1)

greenegg77 (718749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976534)

Answers to your questions can be found at http://www.network.com/ [network.com] .

Re:Details please (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976557)

Their FAQ says their nodes have two single-core Opterons and 4GB of RAM per cpu. I would guess they're using their own X4100 servers with AMD Opteron 254 (2.8GHz). Don't quote me, I don't work for Sun.

From their FAQ [sun.com] :

Q: What parallel environments (pvm, mpi, etc.) are available for use on the Sun Grid Utility Services?

A: MPICH v1.2.6, an open implementation of the "Message Passing Interface" is the only parallel environment currently supported on the Sun Grid. MPICH is configured to leverage IP-based networking in our configuration, and is available on Sun Grid as an included resource for you to use without additional charge.

If you're familiar with MPI, this should keep you pretty portable. They recommend you test with Solaris 10/x86_64 and gcc3 or Studio 10.

A bug could be costly (5, Insightful)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975839)

I use grid computing for simulations. If I were charged for CPU-hours, you can bet I would be more careful about debugging. I've wasted thousands of CPU hours because of bugs, or sloppy configuration, in my simulator generating incorrect results. One bug was an infinite loop that resulted in 100 CPUs spinning for a week before I noticed!

Re:A bug could be costly (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975947)

Have you considered testing on a smaller dataset/serverset?

Re:A bug could be costly (1)

dekemoose (699264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976016)

Holy crap am I jealous that you could have 100 CPU's maxxed for a week and not notice.

And holy crap it's lame that that makes me as jealous as it does.

Re:A bug could be costly (1)

ChrisGilliard (913445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976301)

One bug was an infinite loop that resulted in 100 CPUs spinning for a week before I noticed!

Your bill would have been $16,800 for that infinite loop.

Re:A bug could be costly (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976501)

As long as you're going to pay a lot of money for an Infinite Loop, wouldn't you have preferred to buy this one [wikipedia.org] instead?

How's this work? (2, Interesting)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975842)

Is it like getting an account on someone's server and then being able to do whatever the hell compute-intensive work you want? I can't seem to find the relavent details, or my Parkinson disease is kicking in.

Re:How's this work? (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976122)

OK, answered my own question after random clicking. According to this [sun.com] your app needs to be able to run on solaris 10. Then just upload it and it runs.

Obligatory (4, Funny)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975843)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of... oh, forget it

Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975854)

Do you (the customer) supply the software to run on these distributed boxen?

Cause if that's the case, I can see a business model that involves lophtcrack or John the Ripper.

Re:Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976040)

Do you (the customer) supply the software to run on these distributed boxen?

Yes. See the Sun FAQ [sun.com] .

Cause if that's the case, I can see a business model that involves lophtcrack or John the Ripper.

Considering that Sun has your Credit Card number and your contact information, I highly doubt you'll be getting away with much DDOSing or Spamming. Even if you use a stolen card #, Sun would be likely to kick you off the servers after they notice excessive network and/or mail server usage.

Re:Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (1)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976096)

I fail to see the connection between a pair of password guessing/cracking utilities and spam/DDOS....

Re:Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976156)

My mistake. I thought he was making up script kiddie names. A quick Google search has disavowed me of that notion. Of course, you still need to harvest those passwords from somewhere...

Re:Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976426)

They'd be trying to find the passwords for the systems making up the Sun grid ;)

Though somehow I suspect each account will be placed in a virtual environment/jailed, with random passwords, and probably disappear at set time after use. If not, they should be.

Re:Since I don't remember the earlier stories... (1)

Stradenko (160417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976523)

What would be interesting is using the grid to generate rainbow tables [antsight.com] ...generating rainbow tables and selling them on DVD is a lucrative business. (well, except for LANMAN tables -- which shmoo gives away gratis)

Obligatory (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975870)

Wow. How can you not imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

(Sorry, I know it's an old joke, and I'll likely incurr the wrath of the negative moderator gods. I figured if I didn't say it, someone else would. At least I'm posting it AC...)

Re:Obligatory (1)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975958)

Somebody already said it [slashdot.org] in a much funnier way than you did. And without that lame ass parenthetical apology or using AC.

Finally.... (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975872)

I can outsource physics rendering at LAN parties and show my friends who's 1337 ;)

Before anyone shouts :DUPE! (2, Informative)

scenestar (828656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975888)

Casual Sun observers will be scratching their heads right about now, believing that Sun had already announced such a service a long time ago. That's correct.

rtfa kthnx

Free demo here... (3, Interesting)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975894)

Click here [network.com] to kick off a job on Sun's Compute Grid consisting of AMD Opteron-based Sun Hardware.

Maybe it's like razors (1, Flamebait)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975915)

The CPU is cheap, but you'll be paying an arm and a leg for "extras" like disk storage and memory.

Want a printout of your results? That's $100 per page . . .

Re:Maybe it's like razors (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976059)

But the CPU being cheap is the point. Not everyone wants to set up their own cluster, but lots of people could use a cluster periodically, and would do so more often if it was relatively cheap. Sun is basically catering to them.
I mean, a small-ish game developer could pre-compute a lot of data on the grid without having to invest in their own hardware and expertise and time for a less-capable solution, all kinds of things really.

Re:Maybe it's like razors (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976318)

In the FAQ
http://www.sun.com/service/sungrid/faq.xml#q24 [sun.com]

They mention that (for a limited time) you get a max of 10GB of storage (for 180 days!) and that each box has 4GB per CPU.

So... maybe in the future, you'll pay extra for disk storage, but RAM will always be 4GB per CPU

Re:Maybe it's like razors (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976364)

Why is this false accusation modded up?

Read the FAQ. [sun.com]
  - The $1/CPU-hour is the only charge.
  - 10GB of disk storage is available per account.
  - 4GB of RAM is installed per AMD64 CPU.
  - No print services are for sale.

Also,
  - No upload/download fees.
  - MPI is used for distributed jobs. Compile with gcc or the now free Sun compilers.
  - Grants to schools are available.
  - Developers can get 100 free hours.

Imagine All the SPAM! (1)

siefkencp (921228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975933)

Just think.

Upload your app, pay 1$ a CPU hour, charge to a credit card with a stolen identity...

Boom! -- Enter the biggest mail bomb credit card theft combo in history...

Re:Imagine All the SPAM! (2, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976494)

That's why the grid nodes are not connected to the Internet.

Greetings Professor Falken... (5, Funny)

boldtbanan (905468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975944)

I wonder if I can play games on Sun's system. Perhaps a nice game of chess? Or maybe Global Thermonuclear War?

Sun Grid HW / SW specs (4, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975959)

From their FAQ:

Q:
What are the components of the Sun Grid Compute Utility?
A:
The Sun Grid Compute Utility service consists of the following parts:

        * Sun Fire dual processor Opteron-based servers with 4GB/RAM per CPU
        * Solaris 10 (x64)
        * Solaris 10 OS;
        * Sun N1 Grid Engine 6 software;
        * Grid Network Infrastructure of 1Gb switched Data Network and 100 Mb dedicated management network;
        * Web-based access portal; and
        * Internet-only access to upload data and applications (no physical access to location);
        * Storage allocation of up to 10 GB per user account.

http://www.sun.com/service/sungrid/faq.xml [sun.com]

Re:Sun Grid HW / SW specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976065)

They also claim the 10GB of storage is free for a limited time, all you need to do is have some account activity every 180 days. Run one $1 job every few months, backup 10gb offsite.

What, they are trying this again? (2)

Zangief (461457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975960)

Wasn't their previous attempt to rent CPUs a failure?

I remember an article in slashdot about how the Sun grid was completely unused.

Re:What, they are trying this again? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976048)

Not completely unused, it has been up and running for over 6 months to selected customers who have been running Proof of Concepts and performing Engineering Development work.

I think Sun certainly started shouting about it too early, but this is the same service that was announced way back - Sun has finally got the technology/security/usability/stability/etc sorted out and gone live.

The Sun is setting (3, Interesting)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975964)


Wow, $1/CPU/hr. Same price as an MP3 off of iTunes, so it must be worthwhile, right?

OK, we are only about 3.5 months into the year of 2006, and lets look at some real data:

I run a few small to medium sized HPC clusters, and on one of them, here are the CPU hours used during 2006 -- 163,000+ this is on less than $500k of hardware that is years old. That would cost $163k just in computing time, not to include time to port applications, debug, etc.

Sun needs to be run by engineers and visionaries again, not by marketers. $1/CPU/hr is not going to do much better on those falling stock prices than selling $200 Linux PCs in Wal-Mart.

Re:The Sun is setting (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976051)

iTunes doesn't sell MP3s, they sell propietary DRM encumbered audio files only.

Re:The Sun is setting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976130)

That would cost $163k just in computing time, not to include time to port applications, debug, etc.

The thing is, you're *only* paying for time. You're not paying for a huge amount of hardware up front, or the space to keep it in, or the power it consumes, or the people to keep it running, or any number of other expenses. (Well, you are paying for that indirectly, but the point is that it's abstracted behind the $1/CPU/hr. price.)

Presumably this comes out cheaper in many scenarios.

Re:The Sun is setting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976146)

Hmmm. Last I checked we are only 2.5 months into the new year

Re:The Sun is setting (1)

eclectus (209883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976149)

Oh, please. So a company releases something that you don't need, and you want to complain about it? A couple of questions for you? Your 163,000 hours of compute time on old hardware -- how much of that time was your cpu actually in use? Were you were your CPU's pegged for the whole year? Second, they are using brand new gear, not 'years old' equipment, so that ought to cut down on the number of hours of computing.

Maybe this offering isn't of use to you. However, if you have bill runs that takes 16 hours each day to run on your current gear, and you can farm it off to Sun and get the data back in an hour, that might be pretty handy for a business.

Re:The Sun is setting (1)

rsclient (112577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976166)

Maybe there's more to your figures than you're letting on, but frankly you're not selling your point very well.

Just sitting in your office, you cost your company about $150,000/year. They could lay you off, and use that money to pay Sun. They can then make up the difference by selling off their computers, netting, say, $100,000. They stop writing huge checks to the local power company, and sub-lease your computer space. They also save money on hardware fixes for the computers in your cluster, and on the cost of technicians.

From what you've said, Sun looks cheaper than your current solution (except for the porting, but heavens, that's not very expensive these days!)

Re:The Sun is setting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976299)

Cost of writing applications and porting them should be included in any estimate, yet you only include it in the estimate of Sun's cost and not your own. Also worth pointing out is that your "years old" hardware wont perform anywhere near the level at which suns offering will.

You also failed to mention anything about this "less than $500k" cluster. For the price of a $499k cluster (which again doesnt include man hours spent on code, so it wont be counted against sun either) I could rent 50 cpu's 24x7x365 x1. You get more cpu power buying a system at that price point. Now factor in maitenance costs. Failure costs. Power and cooling costs. Personell costs for admining the setup (not coding). You still get the edge buying the system, but by how much ? The reality is this is not geared towards computer people. Its geared towards math, graphics, and physics people. Groups who dont always have the time and resources to buy, setup and admin a cluster but who have some data once in a while that they need to proccess.

Now apply your math to someone who has something that needs to be done once in a while in a condensed time frame. This is one hell of a lot better system for that then buying a cluster and hoping it doesnt break right when you need it ... or while it sits idling for the majority of the year.

Re:The Sun is setting (2, Insightful)

shorti9 (307602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976332)

It gets even better when you consider that Sun's smaller Opteron kit starts at about 2k$/node. So, if you need more than a few months' processing, you can just buy the boxes and build the infrastructure for about the same cost.

I suspect the real selling points are:
- Sun's service is probably straightforward for app developers.
- The hardware is essentially "infinite."
- "Oh, you need a month's worth of processing done by next Monday? We'll have it done Saturday night, if you'd like to pick it up then, ma'am."
- Two words: volume pricing.

But, I have a hunch that the real point is marketing. "Oh, you need a 1,000 node grid? We happen to have expertise in building just such a thing. Here, give this information to your apps people, let them try it out, see if they like it. We can install just this setup for you here, if you'd like."

Doesn't the pricing encourage non-CPU intensive? (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975968)

I mean, hell, here's 10TB of data that I'm currently backing up to tape.

Do you want me to package it as a J2EE WAR file? Fine!

mod do*wn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14975976)

THIS MISTAKE OR [goat.cx]

I would have made use of Sun's grid already (2, Interesting)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14975982)

if it boasted a 64bit Java VM. A mate of mine does some very interesting research in number theory, and a few of his applications would need massive amounts of fast addressable memory. 64bit of address space would conveniently suffice, i suppose. Any suggestions on what else (cheap, or at least affordable) to consider using, anyone?

Re:I would have made use of Sun's grid already (1, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976152)

You could save some really serious money by porting to a proper compiled language.

Re:I would have made use of Sun's grid already (0)

drix (4602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976477)

Just curious, what sort of number-theoretic problems are you tackling that would warrant using Java?! Talk about a memory hog. Most of the programs of this kind that I have seen are computationally intensive but easily expressed in 100 lines of C. In fact, most of the oustanding problems themselves can be written in one or two sentences (the Riemann hypothesis comes to mind).

Let's get these out of the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976056)

In Soviet Russia, grid process runs you! Immagine a beowolf cluster.... etc...

Ok, so (3, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976060)

where do I submit my deck of fortran punch-cards and where do I pickup the printout?

No customers after three years... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976094)

Sun has been offering this service for almost three years now, and to my knowledge they still have had zero customers. IBM seems to be the only utility computing supplier with any customers using their BlueGene solution in Yorktown. Virginia Tech even offered cycles to outside parties for $0.40 CPU/hour and had no takers. It's gonna be a while before something like this gets any traction. People are way too protective of their data to allow it off-site.

Solaris-10 or Java Binaries only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976132)

Sorry - but its been well over a decade since I touched Solaris - maybe if they'd allow Linux binaries.

Isnt this really expensive? (0)

zwad (937823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976136)

I don't understand how can it be $1 per CPU per hour? The opteron is only a 2.2 GHz processor how is that a supercomputer?

Re:Isnt this really expensive? (4, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976559)

That's 2.2 GHz per processor, times about a thousand processors or so. That's how modern supercomputers work. The processing nodes themselves are somewhat unimpressive, but they're built so that they scale really well, and deal with problems that are designed so as to be broken up into lots of little parts and solved simultaneously. So if you used all the processors on the machine for an hour, your bill (theoretically) would be $1,000.

The most powerful computer in the world right now, ASC Purple (it does nuclear weapons simulations for the USG), has 1.5 GHz RISC processors. Not exactly impressive, by today's standards ... except that it has something like 12,000 of them.

It's the infrastructure to get that many processors (and their associated dangly bits) talking to each other and working on the same problem efficiently that's expensive and nontrivial.

This sounds familar (2, Interesting)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976184)

I thought that Sun already had their grid available and that no one wanted to use it [slashdot.org] because they would have to agree to be in a marketing campaign. Is this still the case? The terms of service on the network.com site redirects to an error page.

Real TIme Fractal Exploring (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14976232)

This could be used to interactively zoom in and out of interesting fractal patterns with a high refresh rate.

Fast Gentoo install (1)

slicersnatch (821573) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976282)

Does this mean that we can now all get gentoo up and running in less then 50 hours?

Sure way to boost Sun's profits... (1)

mythz (857024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976284)

Fire the current CEO and marketdroids. Apart from saving the salaries of a higly paid and underperforming execs, companies might actually want to do business with a company who's chief isn't soley concentrated on funneling as much money out of you as they possibly can. Thats if there are still some talented engineers who haven't deflected yet.

Scott McNealy they need you over at SCO.

At last a solution for h264 DVD recoding!! (3, Interesting)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976297)

If I could compile mencode/mplayer for Solaris I could upload my dvd isos and get sun to encode these for me in H264 for my HTPC.
I anticipate that each film would cost me ~$2. Not bad. Is that a safe bet? ANybody know what disk space they give for "personal files".
Now to explain to my ISP that I am not participating in illegal file sharing with +100GB per month of traffic is not going to be easy..

More seriously, I could use this to run some of my Monte-Carlo simulators..

Price in Dollars for hours? (1)

Mantees de Tara (652482) | more than 8 years ago | (#14976546)

$1 per CPU per hour

On Slashdot the price should be published in WoW gold per SETI units elaborated.
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