A four-day outage for “scheduled maintenance”? That’s pretty bad for Software as a Service, but that’s the score with the Sun Grid.

The Sun Grid Compute Utility was announced at the 2006 JavaOne conference, as a high-performance cluster that ordinary developers and customers can “rent” for $1 per CPU/hour to work with Java on a cluster of Opteron-based Solaris servers.

Since the summer, I’ve had “explore the Sun Grid” on my to-do list, and at last, it bubbled up to the top. Two weeks ago, I applied for an account. It’s an onerous process: the resource is only open to U.S. customers and anyone wanting to use it has to submit to an “export control” questionnaire and a background check. Finally, last Thursday, Oct. 19, I received a login.

I went to use the utility on Saturday (weekends are for research!), only to learn that it’s “currently unavailable for scheduled maintenance” — until Wednesday, Oct. 25! Click the screen shot to see the full message.

Z Trek Copyright (c) Alan Zeichick