The individual owning this blog works for Oracle in Germany. The opinions expressed here are his own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.
Thursday, November 20. 2008
I´ve stopped to think about all the articles from analysts or newspaper articles about Sun. Reading them leads to the instant urge to ask your doc for Prozac or Effexor. Mostly they are underinformed, heavily biased to other computer companies or just outright sensational. I don´t want to tell you that all is well in the sunny kingdom. But my outlook for the next 2 years looks really positive.
Albeit i grieve for anybody of the 6000 people (and will obviously very grieving when i´m one of them) it may be nescessary to to do so. We have to face the realities: We are running directly into a recession, many people think that the next years will be really hard. I´m inclined to think, that those people are correct. So firing 6000 employees may be the variant of: Seal the portholes, duck and cover.
Albeit i´m a well informed employee, i don´t think of my self that i´m know all the data to comment this actions. Furthermore i´ve learned in the past, that the limited tactical view of an employee in a country organisation is sufficient to rate the strategical direction on a global scale. Of course i have opionions (and i have really strong opions as people who know me can tell you ), but i do not tend mistake them with the one-and-only truth.
No, i´m not hulled in a Sun-brand quality reality disortion field. Well, just look at the product announcement of the last few months. I´m factoring in many other developements that will hit the market in the next few month.
The Sun Storage 7000 line has really the potential to make up for the errors we´ve made with NFS and SMB (In my opinion Netapp exists, because Sun wasn´t able to capitalize it´s invention NFS). There are other devices in the pipeline we have to rip out of the HPC peoples hand, because i see really interesting usecases for enterprise computing , even for the people with software from Redmond (no, i´m still not an offical leak and i won´t talk about them here)
I´m not inclined to follow all this analysts and journalists with their comments that just software, just service or something like that is the way to go. Okay, it´s an high margin business and it´s nice to have an flourishing software business for the quarterly results. For me it looks like some of the standard recipe, they tell to every company with hardware business. Do more software! Do more services! Eat more fruits!
Aas a sidenote: Do we want to leave hardware development to Intel? The maximum trade-off architecture? Who should drive Intel to innovations? Do you really think we would see massive multi-cores without Niagara? Do you really believe that x86 would be so performant without AMD? This would the logical conclusion, if you just think there is a place for two competing companies.
As Peter Ryan said on the CEC Keynote: We are not the third brand of Cola, we are the Jack Daniels of the IT. We are different ... as we do things differently than others, we have the potential to create different, to create disruptive products. And those products will fuel the rise of the Sun. I tend to see Sun as a company, that just delivers a fragment. I see Sun as a company who delivers products, which are cool because of systemic features: X4500 (or follow-ons) and ZFS ... Solaris 10 and UltraSPARC T1/2 ... ZFS and Solid State Disks ... SunRays and SSGD/VDI. Each would be half as brilliant without the other.
I started with my concerns about the recent media coverage of Sun. But i don´t want to let you go without linking you to an positive example. Sometimes there are some articles who finally understand the way, Sun want to go ... like this one - The story on Sun's Q1FY09 results - a loss, or a fresh start? Sun and the future :
I look at last quarter's bottom line (03Q8 in the real world, Q1FY09 in Sun's financial world) as non-GAAP without the associated goodwill hit of $1.4B (more on that later). Those numbers aren't so bad ($65M loss) and I think more realistically reflect a transitioning Sun.and
While I'm not a financial guy or a stock owner, I'm inclined to think I'd rather carry out this exercise in a recessionary market where valuations and potential goodwill damage are likely to be greatest. This seems to me to be a killer exercise in building a foundation for post-recession growth.and
The revenue report this quarter is about conversion. Conversion to the new paradigm, and conversion to these new attacks on the marketplace.
I´m really inclined just to add one "word" to those quotes: ACK!
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Great post. We need to see posts like this up front and centre, linked from popular websites whenever and wherever possible
Nettes Posting welches sich aber wieder nur um die Produkte von SUN dreht und nicht um das Doing drumherum. 600-800 Mio Umstrukturierung im laufenden Jahr heisst das es im FY 2009 wieder nur Verluste geben wird. Deine Kollegen sind tief verunsichert wenn man fragt wie sie darüber denken, verständlicherweise. Was Verluste bei Euch bedeuten ist auch jedem klar der die letzten 2-3 Jahre beobachtet hat. Die Banken haben Milliarden verloren, wer erlaubt nun noch Millionen für sehr teure Hardware? Billige Hardware zu verkaufen hat SUN noch nicht gut genug gelernt.
Es gibt einen interessanten Artikel um das Vorgehn bei SUN:
Da muß man sich schon fragen warum in Hamburg XY Entwickler an Star Office arbeiten, das aber kaum brauchbar beworben wird (sicher nicht weil es so beliebt ist). OpenSource ist nicht die Erlösung wenn man nicht versteht monetäre vernünftige Ideen umzusetzen. Mir hat noch keiner SOF angeboten obwohl ich stellenweise absichtlich darauf hingewiesen habe das ich z.B. OO komisch finde. Da kam kein Versuch SOF an den Mann zu bringen. Warum auch, die paar Euro interessieren ja nicht. Warum legt SUN nicht einfach mal jedem neu verkauften Server Star Office bei ? Auf Dauer bringt das mehr und ist günstiger als Kündigungen.
Das alles auf die Rezzesion zu schieben ist zu einfach. Allerdings machen es viel zu viele Firmen. Ich wäre unglaublich betrübt wenn SUN verkauft würde, jedoch sehen meine Geldgeber (Chefetage) nur die Euro nichts anderes. Mit Emotionen kann man nur schwer überleben und mit reinem Hardwareverkauf bei den aktuellen Problemen der Marktwirtschaft auch nicht. Was nützen die tollsten Geräte wenn keiner das Geld locker macht oder es eben nicht locker gemacht bekommt ? Was nützen die tollsten Produkte wenn die Entwickler und Supporter gehen oder gegangen werden? Will Mr. Schwartz die alleine betreuen?
viele grosse Firmen in Europe werden in Kürze auf Staroffice/Openoffice wechseln, da der Umstieg auf Office 2007 zu teuer und zu aufwendig ist. Ich selbst hatte Termine mit Seniormgmt bei den grössten der Branche und das Thema kam nicht von mir, sondern vom Kunden.
Daher: stay tuned.
Das letzte Mal wie OO "hipp" war, hieß es, dass es an den vielen, vielen firmenspezifischen Excel Plugins scheitern würde.
Gibts da jetzt was Neues ?
Wahrscheinlich hat man bei den anstehenden Kosten auf Office 2007 mal darauf geguckt, ob das wirklich so wichtig und wirklich so schwierig zu migireren ist. Mal ernsthaft: Und Leidensdruck ist ein bewegliches Ziel. Was ohne Migrationsdruck noch unwirtschaftlich wirkt, kann bei Betrachtung unter anderen Umstaenden durchaus sinnvoll sein.
Stimmt auch wieder. Wahrscheinlich ist das kurzfristige Beschäftigen eines Plugin "Programmierers" billiger als die ganzen Umschulungskurse für die gesamte Belegschaft ^^
Nice articel but i guess that the products himself cant help to safe the future of sun. GM also have great products, but there is nobody who will buy the products.
Well ... i don´t really think that muscle cars and Pick Ups are good products. Those cars have enough cylinder capacity to hold the fuel for 100 kilometres for a modern car.
no sure if it makes sense to compare Sun-Technologie to GM? Sun is like the german car-companies, number one in the world, best on street. Unfortunally the market has not understood that yet. The current crisis will bring Sun back to the top, as Sun is the only company that had answers to current questions in the IT-market.
Are you sure that SUN have the time to wait for the market? SUN is a big nervus bubble of some good ideas, but it have no answers because there is no clear and straight structure of that what sun like to be. If there is one with good idea for the customer, he came back to his manager and what dows he do ? "Can we do this? Im not sure (because i like my you and wont the next in the cut). Lets sleeo 3 or 5 weeks about this". Thats the problem of sun (one of them)
"Can we do this? Im not sure (because i like my job and wont be the next in the cut). Lets sleep 3 or 5 weeks about this". Thats the problem of sun (one of them).
I tend to agree - suns problem mainly 2 things imho: lack of good corporate pr including clear roadmaps and wall street. besides all the loss sun posted - they still raked in $12 billion last year while wall street values them at 3 billion...
open source soft- and (!) hardware is the way to go. once we really start to see e-government to take off there will be a even bigger push towards opening everything.
also: sun could very well become the apple of corporate space - if they would be able to take a holistic approach on their products, simplify them and have a unique and clear branding strategy.
from the desktop to the server - sun has everything in its portfolio - it just doesn't feel like that everything is part of something that is bigger than its sum (...sun).
Fishworks is the way to get (Open-)Solaris into companies where Solaris is not strategic (e.g. also Windows-only shops)...
Waiting for more appliances based on Fishworks from Sun...
I see this as the best way to spread the use of Sun products in the SME market. Assuming Sun's Marketing&Sales doesn't fsck up...
IMHO, Sun's Storage 7000 will be a good indicator how the future of Sun will look like...
Yes the Storage 7000 series is nice but...
If Sun want to survive, and flourish, during the coming economic downturn they need to look at their pricing a bit and offer some cheaper options.
Take the low end 7000 - why not kit it out with SATA drives instead of SAS and push the capacity by a factor of 3 whilst costing the same or less? True the performance will reduce but people buying a system that small aren't always going for maximum performance.
Sun needs to get its head out of the Enterprise cloud and sell a few more machines for ordinary businesses.
No, I don't want to leave all CPU development to the x86 architecture (except for some high end/console stuff that IBM does with Power and Cell). Hell, the people at intel didn't want to leave CPU development on that platform either but they learned after their IA64 experience that (even if they'd implemented it better) the market would choose compatibility over engineering elegance (IA64 was imperfect but a lot better than x86) so long as they continued to receive faster and more powerful chips.
Ultimately then I think the success of intel can be seen as a monument to the triumph of economics and process over computer architecture. So sure I agree that Sun's rock processor is pretty damn cool and a way better design for certain market segments than anything intel or IBM can offer but that doesn't mean much. I mean this is the same reason that fixed function hardware isn't used to implement scientific computations, serve webpages or run video games. Sure architecturally it might give better performance for a fixed process but economically it simply doesn't work out, largely because of the huge overhead of chip fabrication and chip design.
I'm not saying that Sun is in danger or won't be profitable, just that the sort of considerations you give aren't really very telling. In a large number of their products sun faces the same problem: they make better stuff than the competitors but their smaller market share means they must amortize the development over fewer users. To figure out what lies ahead for Sun would really require looking at the actual numbers.
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