Sun Sees Amazon Changes the Game Even for Hardware Vendors
Posted by Bob Warfield on May 5, 2008
The announcement that Sun has partnered with Amazon to make Open Solaris available on Amazon Web Services is fascinating. It’s free, so Sun sees no revenue from it. One wonders if Amazon has charged them for the inconvenience, so it may carry a cost. In fact somebody somewhere paid a cost to at least cover the testing and development of whatever provisioning is required to get it started. So why do it?
At the moment, Amazon is running away with the cloud computing show. Last I heard there are over three hundred thousand developer accounts there. It’s a thriving ecosystem, and if Amazon sold no more new customers, one has to suspect that just the growth centered around those existing customers would be significant.
Suddenly, this is a platform that matters for everyone that is trying to establish their own platform. If you want your OS (Open Solaris) to have a chance, you’d better look into Amazon Web Services. There is no Microsoft equivalent yet, so that’s a problem. As I’ve said, Ballmer would’ve done better to buy Amazon than Yahoo, so perhaps now he’ll give that a try. If you want your database or application server (hello Larry Ellison) to thrive, you’d better look into Amazon Web Services. If you want your language (hello Python, Ruby is already there with Heroku) to be ubiquitious, you’d better look into Amazon Web Services.
In fact, as if to underscore this realization, the Amazon partnership is just one aspect of Sun’s official launch of Open Solaris. But, it is a critical one. It will be interesting to see how well it does, and whether there are aspects of the Cloud Computing world’s needs that give it any special advantages. I’ve heard of a few things, but it hasn’t really sounded compellling so far (see Jason Perlow for more). There’s an awful lot of momentum behind Linux already.
The availability of Amazon Machine Images does another thing. These are freeze dried snapshots of a particular collection of software installed on a machine. This makes them easy to propogate. The best practice combination of various pieces of software can be combined, converted to an image, and made available for broad consumption. This lowers operating costs and helps ensure that the “good” combinations are more prevalent in this ecosystem.
Sun’s announcement is a fasciniating indicator of just how important Amazon Web Services has become. Look for more indicators as we go forward.