I was working for at&t when I first learned about SmartOS. Reason was simple, I’ve been in UNIX/Solaris team so I was more in “this world” back then. I found the concept of this new OS fascinating and it was additionally sprinkled by Bryan Cantrill’s amazing lightning talk. It’s one of those moments when I felt that I’m being interested in the right things at the right time. To me SmartOS in many ways felt revolutionary and I still think that some of its concepts (not getting in the way being one of them) are ahead of the industry.
Even though I was not using Joyent’s Cloud myself, I was still crossing my fingers for their success. (And I’ve been using SmartOS on a self-hosted, bare-metal box. SoYouStart (OVH’s cheaper H/W spin-off) still offers it as an option and I find it one of the most appealing ways of trying out this amazing piece of software.). That said, I was always surprised how much more expensive their offer was compared to the competition. It’s not about being cheap as I do understand that good (possibly the best) things in class or given category can hit your pocket more than alternatives. But Joyent was also bringing additional friction with them: foreign OS (not Linux), for a long time foreign concepts and solutions (ZFS, Zones etc.). If you combine it with higher costs in other areas, the incentive to use their particular offering goes considerably lower on the Cloud ladder.
It seems to me that JCP has never gotten traction. Even introduction of Triton didn’t help here. Maybe it’s been just a matter of resources? I can’t really recall whether Google or Microsoft were there with their GCP and Azure respectively when Joyent was starting with their Cloud offering, but they definitely became competitive with AWS and, even more importantly, recognisable in the market. It simply wasn’t the case with JCP, even though their solutions were distinctively different and, in many ways, best in class.
Joyent, I salute you for the great job you did and all of the great work that is still, I’m sure, coming our way. Stay awesome!