Attack hits Sun public grid service

The first day that Sun Microsystems Inc. allowed users to buy access over the Internet to its long-delayed public utility grid, a denial of service attack forced the company to take down a service hosted on the grid, the company said on Thursday.

To let users try out a service that relies on the grid, Sun offered access for anyone to a text-to-speech application developed by Cepstral LLC and hosted on the grid. But the service was hit by a denial of service attack.

In order to deal with the attack, Sun moved the translation service so that it can only be accessed by users who are logged onto the Sun Grid as a registered user, Sun said.

Sun initially expected to introduce public access to the grid last year but a series of delays pushed back the actual launch until Wednesday. Sun blamed a variety of factors for the many delays, including security concerns expressed recently by the U.S. Department of State.

The service launched this week allows anyone to order usage of the grid over the Internet, paying via PayPal. Users pay US$1 per CPU (Central Processing Unit) per hour.

Sun has already been selling access to the grid to enterprises that negotiate contracts with Sun for the access. Sun announced this week several companies that are currently using the grid. CDO2 Ltd. uses the grid to allow customers to run complex financial simulation spreadsheets, Sun said.

Applied BioSystems uses the grid for data research and is able to reduce the computing time from months to days for certain research, Applied BioSystems said. Sun also said that it donated 100,000 CPU hours on the grid to Princeton University as part of an education grant program.

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