Recently, Sun Microsystems Inc. hosted its annual analyst conference in San Francisco. The company faces high-end competition from IBM Global Services and low-end competition from companies including Dell Computer Corp. offering clustered systems running the Linux operating system. While not dismissive of the threats posed by the competition, Sun President Scott McNealy in a one-hour interview with eWEEK Editor-in-Chief Eric Lundquist and Labs Director John Taschek contended that the company is poised to capitalize on the research and development efforts launched over the past several years.
McNealy: Sun Reduces the Complexity
2003-03-03 Oracle and SUN 12 Comments
I’m just wondering specifically what aspects of their product line Sun will be simplifying…
I’ve heard about Sun going this direction in the past and it was my understanding they were aiming to decrease the complexity of Solaris administration.
This just sounds like what we’ve been hearing recently regarding increased bundling.
Just like Xerox did?
these 2 pages are the result of an one-hour interview…?!
well, basically, mc nealy is saying nothing from substance-with linux and x86 getting more and more powerfull, i just wonder how long they will be able to sell their overpriced boxes-just like microsoft, their best times are certainly over…!
i also question that their desktop-project will be a success-it likely won’t stop people from changing from sun to more moderatly priced platforms.
He was scheduled for an hour, but the interview was so harsh that it ended fairly abruptly. If you read carefully, McNealy is pissed in this interview, because he realizes that Linux is better than Solaris and that Dell and IBM are killing his business.
If you read carefully, McNealy is pissed in this interview, because he realizes that Linux is better than Solaris
Truly this is Linux zealotry at its finest… I’ve never seen a Linux zealot so brash as to contend that Linux is “better than Solaris”
You’re making claims that this is why the interview ran short… yet these claims are completely unsubstantiated. Are you just trolling?
Many companies are switching off of Solaris because Linux is far cheaper to purchase and maintain, runs faster, and good enough for what they’re doing with it.
It’s tough for Sun. They really blew it with Solaris by holding out for enormous prices. And there are no Sun servers that hold a candle to the price/performance you get with Intel-based servers. Sun’s attempt at coming up with some mythical down-the-road TCO boogeymen to scare companies away from Linux obviously isn’t working…
Netscape charged rapacious prices for Navigator licenses and we all know how that story turned out.
I heard McNally in Comdex. This article doesn’t really do his position justice, in fact the website doesn’t either.
Basically the vision is this:
1) Most companies are very close to being completely paperless
2) With paperless companies there is no reason to have individual desks.
3) Without individual desks companies can achieve huge saving on real estate (forgot the cost of servers) by using servers with thin client computing (or thick client with all data stored on the servers).
4) SunRays are the thin clients and desktop linux is the semi-thin client.
5) If you do this you’ll need very large servers since each one will need to support many different applications and functions. (Essentially they will be corporate mainframes serving graphical apps to terminals). Further even if this were possible with a large number of inexpensive servers you would still be better off having a small number of very large servers since you’ll save money in server administration costs (primarily personal).
6) Sun will build easy to administer, large servers with a huge number of preconfigured applications ready to run out of the box and a pricing model which makes adding functionality reasonable.
7) No one else offers this.
IBM wants complexity since they are primarily in the consulting business
HP isn’t close to offering systems of this size
Microsoft doesn’t offer a genuinely thin client solution and can’t because of poor engineering.
I have seen and used the Sun Ray Thin clients. It’s kind of a cool setup because you can switch form Windows2K to Solaris KVM style. I usually use a Windows box, and a Sun Blade or Linux box depending. I would have to admit that I am more partial to Solaris than I am to Linux. Linux has more apps and I am probably more familiar with it in the long run, but Solaris offers a certian corprate feel and feels more like a finished product than most Linux distros I have used in the past. Although Mandrake is the distro that currently gets my vote, I have not tried any of the recent Red Hat releases and plan to reevaluate it again some time soon.
PS. For those that say Solaris workstations are expensive, you can pick up a Sun Blade 150 for a little over a grand.
Your claims about Solaris aren’t about Solaris, they’re about Sun hardware, except for this one:
You could say this for x86, but that’s primarily because Sun doesn’t really care about performance on x86 systems.
I think it’s safe to say that Solaris/x86 runs much better compared to Linux/x86 than Linux/SPARC does to Solaris/SPARC.
And there are no Sun servers that hold a candle to the price/performance you get with Intel-based servers. Sun’s attempt at coming up with some mythical down-the-road TCO boogeymen to scare companies away from Linux obviously isn’t working…
As has been mentioned earlier in the thread, Sun’s aim is towards thin client environments, where Sun really is the only one offering a solution whatsoever.
Netscape charged rapacious prices for Navigator licenses
Uhh, no? Navigator was free. Netscape charged for Netscape Enterprise Server and consulting.
Sun isn’t dead yet. They still seem to have a few tricks up their sleeve, apparently.
Sun Innovations to Shape the Future of Network Computing
“Today, Sun Microsystems, Inc.’s executive vice president and Chief Technology Officer, Greg Papadopoulos, closed Sun’s Worldwide Analyst Conference with a glimpse of innovations designed to shape network computing. Papadopoulos and David Yen, executive vice president, processor and network products, previewed Sun’s Throughput Computing strategy and roadmap for driving dramatic improvements in systems and throughput. Over the next five years, Sun plans to deliver SPARC microprocessors that will increase its UltraSPARC microprocessors throughput by a factor of 30. Earlier in the morning, Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president, software at Sun, previewed Project Orion — a radical new way to buy, deploy and manage software.”
so the price/performance ratio will increase 30fold-well, that would be something…
on the other hand, intel and amd aren’t sleeping either!
I found this passage striking:
McNealy: Dell doesn’t touch their Linux servers. They don’t manufacture them. Intel supplies them to Dell through an Asian manufacturer. Then Dell has to go out and buy Red Hat [Linux], and then Dell has to go out and buy an app server, then buy a directory and then subcontract service and support. I don’t know how they can be cheaper.
McNealy basically points out that Dell is the penultimate middle man offering little more than a order center and a phone number for their clients. But then follow almost immediately with:
eWEEK: Could you describe your Mad Hatter desktop project?
McNealy: We call it a fit client, which is neither thin nor fat. We start with a whole bunch of software from the open-source world including the Linux kernal, Mozilla browser, Star Office desktop suite and GNOME user interface. We use our software release expertise and build a complete software stack, then we grab an off-the-shelf white box, and you are ready to go with a Microsoft free desktop.
I read this as “get an Intel box from an Asian manufacturer, go to RedHat to get Linux, go to the net to get applications”, which is almost exactly what Dell is doing with their Linux servers. Now, I’m assuming that Sun is going to keep the support in house, and to be fair, the support infrastructure and requirements are vastly different between the desktop and the server.
But, I would rather have a Sun Blue case, a Sun logo, with Sun tested hardware and configured Linux. I can assemble a White Box Linux system playing Hardware and driver lotto at my local Computer Super Store or swap meet.
Heck, I’d rather have this same box running Solaris x86.
But either way, I want Sun to load it, prepare the CD’s, PATCH IT, hunt down the @*#&@!( drivers, set up X, etc, and support it. I don’t want an assembled mass of components that I can do myself.
I want Sun to take responsibility for its systems. I want to go to Sun.com to get drivers and crap for their supported hardware. There is value is not having to run hither and yon across the net tracking this crap down.
The standard Intel support model is to punt to the manufacturers, which loses control of the support and customer experience aspect of the sale.
If I want to play bleeding edge, or whatever, fine. But if I’m just trying to get a box with display, network, sound and cd drivers, that should be as painless as possible.