Sun's Jonathan Schwartz just posted a note on his blog about Sun's new Grid offering. As usual, his post is really just a taunt to IBM and while I would never presume to offer any kind of "official response" to Jonathan's posts, there is something about this particular post that struck me. He asked what $1/cpu-hr would buy a customer from IBM's grid offering. While I don't know the specific details of our Grid product offerings, the answer that stuck out in my mind was $1/cpu-hr buys our customers options.
Grids are being implemented and deployed for a broad variety of purposes in a broad variety of environments. No single software/hardware configuration is adequate to meet the needs of IBM's diverse set of customers. From my experience in the service side of things (well before coming on board with IBM) I know that it is far better to let specific customer requirements decide what the customer gets for their dollar than it is for the technology vendor to make those decisions for the customer based on some desire to evangelize/sell units of a specific operating system or hardware platform. Utilities only aggregate demand within specific use domains. This is why utilities typically offer corporate customers different pricing and feature packages than end consumers.
In any case, I welcome Sun to the Grid arena, being that we've been working on this area actively for a couple years now, it's good to see that IBM's competitive leadership in this emerging technology area is stimulating broader industry adoption and competition.