What does "forever" really mean for a company? And its implications for clouds … and business models …

Note: in advance, this is not a slam on the company I will mention. I actually agree with their migration concept, even if I disagree with the details.
In the early days of their life, Joyent made a lifetime offer for goods and services. These were pretty reasonable offerings, and the hook of

How long is it good for?
As long as we exist.

As in … forever.
But what does “forever” actually mean? In the case of Joyent and this product, it ceases operation on 31st-October-2012.

For many business reasons, including infrastructure performance, service quality and manageability, these early products are nearing their End of Life. We plan to sunset these services on October 31, 2012 and we’d like to walk you through a few options.

That is, due to changes in business and product offerings, forever ends on 31-October-2012.
Needless to say (read through the comments on the link, on Hacker News, on other places), that some people are badly miffed by this. They thought “forever” actually meant “forever” in the sense of … well … forever. Think … until the heat death of the universe type of forever.
It was a great deal. Spend $500-ish, and get something for 6 years. About $83/year for something like this now (assuming buy in around 2006).
So whats the deal with this … does “forever” mean “forever”, or does it mean something else? Reading through the FAQ at the archive, it looks like they are going to have lots of arbitration. This is going to cost them money.

3. Arbitration. ANY CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THIS CONTACT OR ANY BREACH THEREOF IN EXCESS OF $250.00 SHALL BE SETTLED BY ARBITRATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION RULES OF THE AMERICAN ARBITRATION ASSOCIATION AND JUDGMENT UPON THE AWARD RENDERED BY THE ARBITRATOR MAY BE ENTERED IN ANY COURT HAVING JURISDICTION THEREOF.

That’s pretty much all their lifetime contracts.
You get 45 days to move to a new service level.
Ok. Some points, some obvious, some maybe not so.

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More M&A: TCS grabs CRL

TCS is arguably one of the more successful services groups out there. Cloud computing naturally fits into this, as cloud is AAS (As A Service). CRL has a localized bit of expertise in Pune, as well as customers pretty widely spread out. We’ve worked with them in the past, they have some of our gear. … Read moreMore M&A: TCS grabs CRL

As a service: the rapidly changing face of HPC

Our market is often inundated with buzzwords. And fads sweep through organizations looking for silver bullets to their very hard problems. Some of these problems are self-inflicted … some are as a result of growth, or needed infrastructure change.
One of the biggest problems with HPC (and to a degree, storage) has been the high up-front costs to build what you need. You have to lay down capital to buy something, which may or may not have an ROI adequate to pay for it.
Many people have made very convincing cases for the ROI. Its really not a risk, and if used wisely, will provide returns significantly above the investment. That is, it usually pays off if you use it well.
But it still requires that initial up front (large) investment. Clusters and higher end SMPs have not been (until recently) inexpensive. Though they are less expensive than what preceded them.
I’ve argued for decades, that HPC goes down market … that stuff you could do 10 years ago on a massive super some distance away, you can probably do on your desktop today. The value flows down market. Which opens the market up for a much wider audience.
On this very blog, I’ve argued the HPC is going to bifurcate … and I had guessed, wrongly, that the trifurcation was likely.
The “As-A-Service” (AAS) model does a good job of lowering up-front costs to obtain this capability. No decision is without costs though, and its very much worth considering this.

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Beautiful smackdown

This is epic. As originally seen on @mndoci ‘s twitter stream. Short version: Those who don’t have a clue, really … REALLY … shouldn’t write lengthy journal articles about what they don’t have a clue about. Lest they get smacked down. Like this. For some reason, its an article of faith for many people, who … Read moreBeautiful smackdown

Whats old is new again

Inspired by this article. Back in the dim and distant past, when I started graduate school … no before that … I had something of an … naive … world and economic view. This view had me believing that newly minted physics Ph.D. types would be able to find a nice tenure track relatively easily … Read moreWhats old is new again