Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Liz McMillan, Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski, Mano Marks, Elizabeth White

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
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists peeled away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud enviro...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.