Sun Should Be in the Consumer Cloud Services Business

When Google App Engine was announced one of the features that was heavily pushed was it’s ability to scale. Combined with Amazon’s AWS products, I’ve been thinking about other companies who could/should be in the cloud services business. There’s the obvious ones that everyone talks about like Microsoft and Yahoo, but then another name came to mind: Sun.

What service should Sun offer to the world? I’ll give you a hint, they recently spent $1 billion dollars acquiring the company behind the product. Yep, none other than MySQL.

Love it or hate it, MySQL is widely used by many companies and individuals. What I’d like to see from Sun is a MySQL cloud service that works just like your current MySQL server(s), only better. It should scale such that I don’t have to worry about performance and replicate data sufficiently that I’ll always have access to my data. There’s no need for a new API, since MySQL already supports network connectivity.

With MySQL already in such wide spread use, the benefits would be easy to see. For instance, I could use such a service to power my WordPress blog with only a few changes to my wp-config.php file. Effectively requiring zero code changes.

Pricing wise I’d expect something similar to EC2 or S3, a general pay as you go schedule. Perhaps even with a very low use free option, just enough for people to get hooked. But if I were Jonathan Schwartz I wouldn’t stop there.

As nice as it is to have an easy to use pay as you go web service, there are many companies that would like the performance, scalability and reliability of such a service but don’t want to send all their data to Sun. Enter Sun’s Modular Datacenter, a.k.a. data center in a box. Okay, a very big box, but a box none the less. Take all the lessons they learn making the MySQL cloud service work and put them in the data center box and sell it.

This would also appeal to hosting companies, who could then offer the same sort of service to the users. Imagine some place like The Planet having a few of these in their data centers. They’d get the benefits of the cloud service without having to haul all that traffic over their Internet connections.

In my ideal world this wouldn’t be limited to MySQL. I’d love to see this same sort of thing for PostgreSQL, since Sun has also been pushing PostgreSQL for Solaris as well. Sadly I’m not holding my breath on that one. With PostgreSQL being a much more community based project, there’s nothing to stop some other company from providing this service.

Perhaps Sun should have changed their stock ticker to MYSQ instead of JAVA.

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