I have several spare servers that are only 1-2 years old and could easily have many more. I also have nearly free electricity and plenty of rack space. These spares are sitting around and we have no plan to use them, so rather them depreciating in value, I'd like to put them to work and hopefully make some supplementary income off of them. An idea that came up was to load them with some sort of rendering or data crunching platform and rent CPU time to people that have CPU requirements but cannot afford to build/host/whatever their own farm.
I've been looking around online and most of the platform solutions I have found are geared towards private hosting and not selling to customers. I'm one that doesn't enjoy reinventing the wheel and as such, if there is a complete or nearly complete solution to my challenge, I'd like to use that. That being said, has anyone here done this before and what have you done to accomplish such a goal?
I think the easiest thing to do is contact your local CAD reseller / VAR and work with them to offer rendering services to their customers. Or identify a large nearby company that needs rendering services and work with them on their specific software.
Setting up something for internet based rendering sounds great, but you may have difficulty attracting clients. Working local resolves that.
I actually haven't done much with the boxes since I made this post. I started researching it last week and set them up with Gomez Peer for now, using vmware server on each one to upscale the number of actual machines running it but I am quickly approaching the $45 monthly payout ceiling and am looking for other revenue streams.
You have the same idea I've been thinking about. Now I just need to find a client to sell to.