Sun has just temporary shut down its cloud computing facility at Network.com.
The online platform was launched in March 2006 and offered the opportunity to buy certain amount of processing cycles at $1 / hour through simple PayPal account.
The user just had to upload its application and specify in how much time he wanted the execution of a certain workload.
This approach was not very flexible, requiring the customers to develop (or re-engineer) their applications for parallel computing on UltraSPARC processors.
Over time the company tried to mitigate this remarkable cost of entry by offering pre-installed applications, like 3D rendering programs.
Despite that, Network.com never became as popular as Amazon EC2, who offers empty Xen virtual machines where customers can install Linux and Windows guest OSes.
Sun stays mum on which virtualization technology will be used for the next iteration, but it’s very likely that it will be similar to EC2, leveraging the upcoming xVM Server (which still is an implementation of Xen).