What Is Cloud Computing? It May Be Timesharing REbranded

June 1, 2021

I have been around long enough to watch hot trends come and go. Then years or decades later the “old” new thing returns. “Nvidia Is Renting Out Its A.I. Superpod Platform for $90K a Month” states:

Nvidia is looking to make work and development in artificial intelligence more accessible, giving researchers an easy way to access its DGX 2 supercomputer. The company announced that it will launch a subscription service for its DGX Superpod as an affordable way to gain entry into the world of supercomputers.

Does this sound like timesharing to you? It does to me. And what about those automatic upticks in charges? It is too early to tell, but my hunch is that there will be “peak times,” data transfer thresholds, and a taxi meter method applied to some user actions. I hope I am wrong, but, hey, timesharing business models have been around since — what? — the 1950s. That is long enough for those thrilling moments after opening a timesharing invoice to become one of the benefits of this “new” but “old” approach to computing.

Will the Nvidia supercomputing deals include a white coat? One tip: If you tour the superpod data facility, take a sweater.

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2021


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