Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Linux Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski, Dan Ristic, Jason Bloomberg

Related Topics: Linux, Java

Linux: 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
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Things. Akana enables enterprises to share data as APIs, connect and integrate applications, drive part...
VoxImplant has announced full WebRTC support in the newest versions of its Android SDK and iOS SDK. The updated SDKs, which enable audio and video calls on mobile devices, are now compatible with the WebRTC standard to allow any mobile app to communicate with WebRTC-enabled browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and, when available, Microsoft Spartan. The WebRTC-updated SDKs represent VoxImplant's continued leadership in simplifying the development of real-time communications (RTC) services for app developers. VoxImplant (built by Zingaya, the real-time communication servi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and sim...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SafeLogic has been named “Bag Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SafeLogic provides security products for applications in mobile and server/appliance environments. SafeLogic’s flagship product CryptoComply is a FIPS 140-2 validated cryptographic engine designed to secure data on servers, workstations, appliances, mobile devices, and in the Cloud.
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is a Microsoft Regional Director for Hyderabad, India, and one of the f...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StorPool Storage will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. StorPool is distributed storage software that allows service providers, enterprises and other cloud builders to run data storage on standard x86 servers, instead of using expensive and inefficient storage arrays (SAN).
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business application (BYOA) platform, and workflow automation system.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carriers, thus providing a global perspective of the end-user experience. Site24x7 supports monitoring H...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
WebRTC is an up-and-coming standard that enables real-time voice and video to be directly embedded into browsers making the browser a primary user interface for communications and collaboration. WebRTC runs in a number of browsers today and is currently supported in over a billion installed browsers globally, across a range of platform OS and devices. Today, organizations that choose to deploy WebRTC applications and use a host machine that supports audio through USB or Bluetooth can use Plantronics products to connect and transit or receive the audio associated with the WebRTC session.
The best mobile applications are augmented by dedicated servers, the Internet and Cloud services. Mobile developers should focus on one thing: writing the next socially disruptive viral app. Thanks to the cloud, they can focus on the overall solution, not the underlying plumbing. From iOS to Android and Windows, developers can leverage cloud services to create a common cross-platform backend to persist user settings, app data, broadcast notifications, run jobs, etc. This session provides a high level technical overview of many cloud services available to mobile app developers, includi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tufin, the market-leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration Solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As the market leader of Security Policy Orchestration, Tufin automates and accelerates network configuration changes while maintaining security and compliance. Tufin's award-winning Orchestration Suite™ gives IT organizations the power and agility to enforce security policy across complex, multi-vendor enterprise networks. With more than 1...
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables cloud service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable cloud storage solu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
BroadSoft on Tuesday announced that it is a recipient of the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Market Leadership Award in the Hosted/Cloud Internet Protocol (IP) Telephony market for Latin America. According to Frost & Sullivan market research, the Latin America (LATAM) hosted/cloud Internet Protocol (IP) telephony market, including integrated unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) applications, is currently experiencing a rapid growth trajectory and is expected to exhibit a tenfold rise in annual revenues in the 2013-2020 period. With more than 600 cloud deployments internationally, BroadSoft w...