Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Stackify Blog, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Java IoT

Linux Containers: Article

Sun Is Missing the Boat

Forgive me for being a Scott McNealy fan, but I really can't help it

Forgive me for being a Scott McNealy fan, but I really can't help it. Scott and the crew at Sun have done a great job over the years producing what I consider to be really good products. Scott has also provided much-needed entertainment in the form of some very quotable quotes (who was there for his presentation that started with a single cloth-covered box that could run all of the OSes that Microsoft sold? When he uncovered the box it was an overhead projector - classic McNealy). And those that know me or have heard me speak know that I am an open source fan, nay, an open source bigot. Hence my quandary. Solaris for x86 is (and has been for how long?) open source. Yet, I can't help but feel that the folks at Sun are missing the boat.

Yeah, so we can run Sx86 on desktop hardware. We can even buy that hardware from Sun. Suppose, for just a moment, that we could run Sx86 not just on desktop hardware, but on big-iron hardware. Suppose, for just a moment, that this hardware was built by Sun. Can you imagine what kinds of big-iron hardware Sun could build? Imagine x86-based blade servers, intelligent clusters of servers, massively parallel multi-processor servers - all built and optimized by Sun for Solaris and supported by Sun's worldwide support infrastructure. Can you imagine what a killer OS this would be with Sun focusing all of their OS efforts on x86?

As an interesting by-product to this, the world gets an open source OS that is truly world class. An OS that is supported by the open source community and pushed forward by a "real" computing company (that phrase is for the IT managers, not a slap at Red Hat). It would be an OS that could make a formidable run at not just the high-end server market but at the desktop, too. (Note to self: be careful when speaking on behalf of the many developers out there who develop for the open source community. There are probably many that would be offended at the thought of providing code to a company that owns an OS even if it is open sourced.)

What about SPARC hardware? Here I must speak some (Sun) heresy. I would like to help Sun take itself out of the SPARC hardware market. That's right. I'm advocating leaving SPARC behind. Take that technological muscle and put it into building big-iron x86 servers. All of Sun's "wood" behind a single "arrowhead" (sorry, Scott). Use this as an opportunity to put some focus back into the product line - Solaris for x86 from the desktop to the largest and most complex high-end servers.

For those with a big investment in SPARC servers, I am not suggesting, nor am I foolish enough to believe, that everyone needs to perform a bunch of forklift upgrades. These boxes will run for a long time. During that time, there would be ample opportunity and justification to install new big-iron x86 hardware from Sun. We did the same thing in the transition from the Motorola-based servers, remember?

This is a(nother) chance for Sun to place their bet on today's equivalent of the VHS technology, rather than the BETA that they are currently using. Everyone knew then which technology was better, and everyone knows now which technology won the market over. Sun has tried to win with proprietary platforms (SPARC and SBus come to mind), and the results are sadly predictable. Why not win with a chip-set on which Sun can develop high-end server hardware products - products that can make our open source world a little better?

I must be dreaming. Come on Sun, join me on this boat. While you're here, why not drive?

More Stories By Stan Briggs

Stan Briggs has been a Unix hack since before the term was "popularized" by the press. His first *nix installation was on a TRS-80 Model 16 (TRS-Xenix). He is the proud father of four and an avid NC State fan.

Comments (5) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Michael OConnor 02/03/06 12:37:29 AM EST

Most people don't seem to understand that choice is good. It is what drives competition and innovation. There is no need to have one CPU standard. In fact, it would be bad for the planet as innovation would stall. Take a look at what Sun is doing with the T1 processor. They are years ahead of Intel with this technology and once again driving the industry.

The Beta vs. VHS is an overused analogy and is not well applied to the Enterprise IT market where Sun plays. Intel is good at what they do but they don't do it all. Just like no one vehicle can meet every transportation need no one processor can meet all computing needs. And, last time I checked all those type of vehicles we use have different engine and tranmission designs. Java is the technology that masks the underlying instruction sets of different CPUs. Write the program in Java and you don't really care about the underlying CPU or even the OS for that matter.

People made the same mistake about Linux. Many seemingly bright people have suggested that Sun should have abandoned Solaris in favor of the less mature and capable technology. Instead, Sun doubled down on Solaris and the result was Solaris 10 and the world now has a choice between multi-platform, opensource technologies.

I for one hope Sun and Apple continue to do what is possible and push the limits of innovation. There will always be people who lack the sophistication to appreciate the difference but over time my bet is that the better technology will win out as the collective sophistication of the population grows.

Jeff W 01/31/06 04:53:05 PM EST

I'm still using several Sun Ultra Enterprise 2's with 64bit UltraSparc-II processors. It's been my experience through measured results on our applications that the newest x86_64 procs have a high initial load capacity when placed under load. But as the load continues to increase the performance starts decreasing. The Sparc processors on the other hand provide slightly less capacity but the performance is rock solid. Keep the Sparc!

Joe Customer 01/27/06 06:53:58 PM EST

Hey Stan. Forgive me if your title made me laugh a bit. Do you mean "Sun is missing the (Itanic) boat"? Yeah Sure-Itanium is the way to go. Well, you need to get a big clue. Where have you been hiding for the last year? Have you seen all the incredible new products Sun released from servers based on Opteron that scale to 8-way, UltraSPARC IV+ servers that are beating IBM and HP across a multitue of benchmarks and then the server landscape resetting server, the Sun Fire T1000/T2000 based on the UltraSPARC T1. You clearly haven't followed up on Sun otherwise you'd have a totally different point of view. The UltraSPARC T1 chip is 3-5 years ahead of the industry-read the analyst reports dummy. If the world all moved to Intel processors, we'd be back in the middle ages with no electricity or gas to run on. The Intel servers would be sucking it all up just like replacing the worlds cars with Hummers! Get a clue and stop writing this garbage.

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 01/27/06 10:19:53 AM EST

Forgive me for being a Scott McNealy fan, but I really can't help it. Scott and the crew at Sun have done a great job over the years producing what I consider to be really good products. Scott has also provided much-needed entertainment in the form of some very quotable quotes (who was there for his presentation that started with a single cloth-covered box that could run all of the OSes that Microsoft sold? When he uncovered the box it was an overhead projector - classic McNealy).

Dunstan Vavasour 01/27/06 05:06:29 AM EST

It always amuses me when Linux weenies start writing about Sun. You obviously have absolutely no idea. The reason that "big iron" is implemented on scalable hardware rather than lots of x86's isn't because no-one has got round to it yet, it's because the design considerations for large systems goes right into the processor core, and x86 (like Itanium, HP please note) can't cut it, while SPARC can.

We have reached an impasse with the "throw more hardware at it" approach - most systems now are limitted in performance by the speed of access to main memory. Sun have spent several years developing the Niagara processor architecture, and I suspect IBM are secretly trying to play catch up. High performance computing is difficult and complicated, and trite articles suggesting "simply stuff more of the wrong processors into a bigger box" don't offer any insight.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
From 2013, NTT Communications has been providing cPaaS service, SkyWay. Its customer’s expectations for leveraging WebRTC technology are not only typical real-time communication use cases such as Web conference, remote education, but also IoT use cases such as remote camera monitoring, smart-glass, and robotic. Because of this, NTT Communications has numerous IoT business use-cases that its customers are developing on top of PaaS. WebRTC will lead IoT businesses to be more innovative and address...
Recently, IoT seems emerging as a solution vehicle for data analytics on real-world scenarios from setting a room temperature setting to predicting a component failure of an aircraft. Compared with developing an application or deploying a cloud service, is an IoT solution unique? If so, how? How does a typical IoT solution architecture consist? And what are the essential components and how are they relevant to each other? How does the security play out? What are the best practices in formulating...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, discussed the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insights from the vast t...