Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Vaibhaw Pandey, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

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
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
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...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix 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. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
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 gr...