Pioneering Utility Computing: The Idea of Sun Unit of Compute Power (SUNCOP)

Compute power deliver through a plug, like electricity
Here is the exchange with Jonathan Schwartz, in February 22, 2003. A Nothing happened for more than a year, when, on September 4, 2004 - my birthday - we read in the news that the launch of $1 per CPU per Hour initiative is a reality.

Sample Utility Bill to model SUNCOP or the future equivalent of SUNCOP
 In it's ultimate incarnation, beyond, the vision was first described by Ian Foster in his book, "The Grid". It is a plug in the wall, to acces any compute power you want, whenever you want, as along as you pay your bill.
Subject: Re: How to break through with new ideas: SUNCOP
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 22:10:43 -0800
From: Jonathan Schwartz
To: Miha Ahronovitz

thanks for your note - Robert and I had a similar discussion recently. We're not yet at the point of wanting to mandate the idea, but we're hovering around concepts quite like SUNCOPS.

Stay tuned - and keep driving!

----- Original Message -----
From: Miha Ahronovitz
Date: Saturday, February 22, 2003 10:30 am
Subject: How to break through with new ideas: SUNCOP

Hi Jonathan,

It's a privilege to write directly to you as you are the highest ranking Sun executive in our Division who can set goals, and make decisions

In these challenging times, how can ideas from the bottom go up? The utility computing task is spread over 4 to 5 separate groups, with no synchronization. As usual in a large company, everyone assumes somebody else knows what's going on.

I know how busy you are, but can you read the enclosed text?

It will take 3 minutes.

cheers and many thanks

Miha Ahronovitz
Line Product Manager


We invent a Sun Unit of Compute power, a parameter defined and
calculated by us from hardware measurements that the Grid Engine

Say we call it SUNCOP (Sun Unit of Compute Power).
We store the cumulative calculations of SUNCOPs in a virtual utility
meter for hardware only (CPU, Memory, I/O, network devices, usage a
standard feature in SGE). Then we add - like in telephone bill  -
the use of each application software similar to the International and long
distance calls in a phone bill.

The money collected (or recorded as "funny-money") can easily be
redistributed to the right owners of hardware and software in the IT

I mentioned this idea to ... who works for .... I mentioned it to ….. and …... I vaguely
hinted a it to ….. We need a goal from top level Sun management.

We need Jonathan Schwartz to say: I want this DONE and assign measurable goals to all participants

Sun may regain the leadership in the enterprise Data Center Management. Sun Unit of Compute Power SUNCOP may become the industry standard.

To deliver, we need a final definition of the goal, a Project and a Product Manager with  a P-Team. 

Miha Ahronovitz,
Line Product Manager
N1 Grid Engine


swardley said…
Have you ever read Douglas Parkhill's, 1966 book on "The Challenge of the Computer Utility" in which he describes a future marketplace of computer resource service providers acting as utilities just like the electricity industry?

These service provides would offer computer resources on-demand, as needed and "on-line". The services would vary from raw computer resources (processing and storage) to discrete applications. He describes how they would take several forms - public, private, government & community utilities and how hybrid forms (as with the electricity industry) will exist.

He talks extensively about the analogy to the electricity industry along with legislative and social implications.

I'd recommend it.
Many thanks for the reference. I was not aware of Douglas Parkhill book. However, in 2003 corporate Silicon Valley, the concept did not move yet on planning stage. Sun reputation of early adopter of advanced ideas, was not sufficient. We had the right people, but the execution, because of the downhill roller-coaster that started in 2001, did not occur. When Amazon mentioned EC2, most people shrugged in disbelief, and this was much later than 2003.
Anonymous said…
I think a single unit of measurement for the cloud is far too fixated on where we are today with IaaS and not what will happen when we have significant service (API) usage in building applications or composite services in the cloud. Its then going to be about optimizing the service supply chain in terms of performance and cost factoring reliability, quality, ......

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