Interviews, Updates, etc.

I got to speak with David Brancaccio a few days ago – whose public television show NOW is definitely worth watching. If you’re a long time listener of the US’s National Public Radio, you’ll recognize David’s voice. To me, he’ll always be the voice of the bubble – the business journalist who reported on the economy as the stock market went through the roof in the late 90’s. Just hearing him speak puts me in a (cautiously) good mood…

The interview aired last night. For those interested in my views on the business motivations behind bridging the digital divide (and Vinod Khosla’s views on a potential remedy to the global oil crisis), you can watch or listen here.

While you’re there, please take the time to visit this page.

Last week was full of real news, too – we broadened our flagship Java developer tool, NetBeans, to better support web developers with its simplified Visual Development Pack. And although it’s not earth shattering, the rumors are true: we’re now shipping a power meter with our Try and Buy Niagara systems – folks didn’t believe the power savings (even with PG&E standing behind us), so we thought we’d simplify the analysis for potential customers.

The Postgres community also pushed a new version of their open source database out the door. I’m starting to see a major uptick in the commercial adoption of open source databases. Greenplum‘s a great example – a business intelligence/data warehousing solution based on Postgres, and general purpose infrastructure (Thumper and Solaris 10). See page 14 of this document for an interesting comparison of how those two products perform together against their peers.

I finally had a positive meeting with an investor related to our open source strategy (developers get it, investors have had a harder time). The key? I had the perfect picture with me – actually a mashup. Stay tuned, I’ll show it here next week.

In the interim, I just saw this yesterday – great to see the OpenSolaris community making headlines (and congratulations, Anil!): (Click here if you can’t see the video below.)

Finally, given the flood of emails my last post generated, along the lines of “did you read the comments about how hard it is to do business with Sun as a small company?” let me just say this: I and portions of my staff spent a good amount of time talking about those comments last week. And minimally, if you take a look at the new site, you’ll see we are committed to improving the experience – for startups and titans, alike. We know we have work to do beyond the web site, and we will do so. (And to address one issue – given US export laws, and widely varying non-US commercial restrictions, there’s unfortunately no way we can coordinate the availability of programs like Startup Essentials globally – we do try…)

So thank you for the comments. I do read them all.


Filed under General

26 responses to “Interviews, Updates, etc.

  1. Switzerland

    Jonathan, a strategy based on “choosing the right customers” is bound to misinterpretations and will upset the majority of potential customers. I you don’t choose me as customer, then I will dislike Sun and will snob it as long as I can. Stop choosing your customers…let them choose Sun

  2. Jonathan,
    “Fine PBS interview.”

  3. Kevin Hutchinson

    Wow, I want an OpenSolaris pen drive – that is SO COOL! It could be a really easy way to introduce people to Solaris.

  4. L. Ruday

    Please deliver this message to Jonathan Schwartz:
    I saw you on NOW with David Brancaccio, and was unbeliveably impressed with your attitude and views on the many things that were discussed. I want to send you a message directly, but was unable to find an email address to contact you directly, and I believe this actual email goes through channel’s before it get’s to you, so rather than go into details here (when I am not sure “who” actually receives these), if you would be so kind as to contact me at my email address, I have some detailed questions I would like to discuss and some pictures for you.
    You are a very impressive intelligent person, and your visions are directly in line with someone I would like you to meet.
    L. Ruday

  5. The media folks created an identity crisis in the video above. The person they showed talking at the end with the name “Moinak Ghosh” is actually the Director of RPE (Solaris Sustaining) in India K. Nageswara Rao!
    I have been shown in between using the laptop and have been referred to as Mayank!

  6. Alex Lam

    I am back in time to Hong Kong for the ITU show
    As Thumper could prove to be useful to one of the company’s project, I looked for Sun Microsystem’s booth for 30 minutes inside the exhibition centre.
    End Result 1: I found it at the odd corner of the pretty dull tempo-office-looking maze (which I don’t think is much of a problem since Intel and BEA are around as well).
    End Result 2: I am blocked from even entering the door by a sufficient bulky chinese figure which keeps staring through me and does not even look as if he is interested in talking with me at all.
    As for comparison, I had much better (enabled) experiences with all other booths, relevant businesses included. Am I supposed to stick a cheque on my forehead in order to start any conversations with any Sun representatives (in HK)?

  7. small typo thing, your href on greenplum missing .com

  8. HC

    Could you please post a transcript of the video?

  9. mj

    Type in and see what comes up. ORCL has crushed their website and re-directed it to They had an impressive site with lists of all their Fortune 100 customers, it’s now trashed in the DB closet. Oracle will be SUNW’s biggest threat in the software service sector in my opinion just ask RHAT. EnterpriseDB is your ace in the hole to keep Oracle in check and have an advantage over HP,IBM,MSFT and Dell.
    Good Luck, mj

  10. Ravi Boddapati

    Response to the request by HC for a transcript of the video.
    Indian Press article on “Carry OS on a Pen Drive” – see:

  11. SomeJavaEEguy

    Hi Jonathan! You said “sunlight is the best desinfectant”. So I’d like to ask why your sales guys market the T2000 so poorly? I (freelancer) tested one, put in my current clients test racks (a big retailer) and got contacted bye one of your sales guys. I told him that SUN got thrown out of this shop because of the Cobalt disaster. And they have a performance problem with Mercator/EAI (now bought by IBM). The licencing terms COULD allow to use a 32 threads machine with one single licence. Do you think that sales guy ever took the time to find out if the licence would permit that? Do you think he tried to contact that customer? Do you think he took advantage of the situation that a test machine was already installed?
    How open must a door be before your sales force steps through it?

  12. Bill

    i have been waiting over a year to hear what Sun and Google are going to do together!!

  13. Bill Walker

    About a year ago, we gave a stack of the P3 Kill-A-Watt’s out with loaner T1000/T2000 and Galaxy servers. Seeing is really believing. In fact, the eight KaW’s that I personally purchased were immediately snatched up and floated around to numerous customers within Sun Fed never to be seen again. In the grand scheme of things, 30 USD is not alot to spend to prove/disprove the performance and energy savings. Great idea. Great results. Simple proof.

  14. Why don’t Sun put that version of OpenSolaris and allow us (students, engineers) to download and put to our Pen drive. We wil test it out and let others know if it works.

  15. Hello Jonathan,
    I am very curious to know whether Sun will jump into Laptop market in the future.Sun Laptops with default installed OS as Solaris or a pendrive containing Solaris , will also increase the number of Solaris users on the planet apart from giving access to a large market for laptops.
    Thanks a lot,

  16. It’s a big day for Java, thank you so much to everyone at SUN for all of the efforts towards this release.
    With Java 6 and OpenJDK, is everything you’ve envisioned going the way you had believed to?

  17. Arjun Rathore

    Most of the web hosting companies either provide windows or linux (PHP) hosting plans. Hopefully one of the intents of open sourcing sun software is to provide an alternative to these environments. Sun can not afford to be lagging in this area. PHP has become so popular because of its simplicity.
    Java in all its greatness has not become the web engine. Does Sun have a plan to aggressively make inroads in this lucrative market?
    And if you can not beat them why can’t you buy them?

  18. dean

    Jonathan — I thought y’all might appreciate how Alcatel-Lucent will enter IPTV (instead of aligning with MS) via Java. Refer to article below. Thanks —Dean
    (IDG) Alcatel spurns Microsoft, goes its own way with Internet TV
    — John Blau
    December 11, 2006 (IDG News Service) — There could be some competition in the market for Internet-based television technology after all.
    The hope of Microsoft Corp. to establish its software as the de facto standard for the emerging IPTV (Internet Protocol television) market has dwindled after one of its major allies, the former Alcatel SA, decided to push its own technology — again — and as other industry giants, including Cisco Systems Inc., enter the fray.
    Alcatel, which made the first U-turn in its IPTV strategy in May 2005 when the French manufacturer decided to align with Microsoft, is now in the process of making yet another.
    In November, Alcatel filed lawsuits against Microsoft for several alleged patent infringements, including three related to IPTV. Since then, the company has merged with Lucent Technologies Inc., another player in the IPTV market. And now the newly merged Alcatel-Lucent SA is talking about its own technology again.
    Why? Maybe because the French-U.S. telecommunications giant believes it now has enough technology — and clout — to carve out its own chunk of what could be a huge market for IPTV systems and services.
    “Today, video accounts for only around 5% of the traffic on IP networks,” John Giere, chief marketing officer at Alcatel-Lucent, said in an interview at last week’s Telecom World conference and exhibition in Hong Kong. “But according to research conducted by our own Bell Labs, that figure could reach 40% by 2010.”
    Alcatel-Lucent delivers not only core IP technology to manage video but also software to enable video services, such as IPTV, video mail and videoconferencing. The company says it focuses on open standards, which it sees as a key differentiator from Microsoft. “Our technology is open with open interfaces,” Giere said. “Many operators don’t want to be overly dependent on Microsoft, which offers a proprietary system.”
    Alcatel-Lucent is developing open application protocol interfaces, Giere said. “The idea is to have Java-based client software that you can enable across multiple devices.”
    It has also developed personalization features, allowing users, for instance, to upload their own videos to the network and create their own personal TV channels.
    Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to improve its IPTV software system and sign up carriers for field trials and, increasingly, commercial services. And, at least for now, the company isn’t calling Alcatel-Lucent a competitor.
    Last week, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) became the sixteenth company to agree to use Microsoft TV IPTV Edition software through a deal orchestrated by Alcatel-Lucent.
    “When we came to the IPTV market, we decided to take a slightly different approach,” said Ed Graczyk, director of marketing in the Microsoft TV unit. “Our platform was developed with direct input from carriers that had joined our early adopter program. Some of the features in our platform resulted from the unique requirements of these carriers.”
    If the first wave of technology developed in the Microsoft IPTV platform aimed at creating “a better user experience for viewing TV,” the second wave will focus on adding enhancements, such as rapid search functionality for both TV and video-on-demand content and personalization, according to Graczyk. “User-generated content is a big issue,” he said.
    A big development along the way has been the move by chip makers to embed simultaneous multistream, multicodec video decoding functionality into a chip, a functionality that was previously handled by software, according to Graczyk. “This system-on-chip approach will help substantially reduce costs,” he said.
    Not only that, but system-on-chip technology could help Microsoft embed its IPTV software into all types of devices, including PCs and gaming devices, so that consumers wouldn’t necessarily have to buy a set-top box, according to Graczyk. “Carriers choose us because they know that we will be able to connect all types of devices running on our operating systems,” he said.
    And what if the carrier is a big fan of the open-source Linux operating system? “I don’t think you’ll see our IPTV software running on Linux systems,” he said. “But you’ll see IPTV software running on other systems.”
    A growing number of competitors hope to achieve just that. In addition to Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, IBM and Siemens AG are a few of the big names seeking to carve out a slice of the budding market for IPTV services.

  19. just curious

    Your comments on EnterpriseDB, and Sun’s strategy with the same, esp. from the angle of how attractive a “developed in Islamabad, Pakistan” tag that the product has, will be for prospects

  20. Andrew

    I type this because of your comments about small businesses above.
    I am someone who follows the tech industry out of personal interest mostly. I love Sun for the products (Java, Solaris, Netbeans, Niagra, Thumper, etc) but mostly for the integrity of the company.
    Right now I work for a small company in South Africa with 30 users and 15 more at other offices. We are moving offices, away from our parent company. I would love to use Solaris etc, but finding solution providers who are actually solution providers is difficult. The ones listed seem to be primarily Microsoft with some kind of vague affiliation to Sun. I would love it if I could call Sun up or a partner, tell them our needs, and have them craft an infrastructure plan and support plan for us.
    That does not seem possible right now.
    Some ideas.
    – Make it easy for someone from a small business to go to your website and get the information they need without having to “know” Sun.
    – Take the intimidation factor out of things. If people have heard of Sun, they are thinking about large Data centers, banks, etc. They are also thinking EXPENSIVE.
    – Make it easy for someone to speak to a sales / account rep who can translate and educate that person around what the options are, how it will work, fit in etc.
    – Show how Sun has a better solution than competitors at an equal or lower cost.
    – Instead of speaking “technical” describe solutions firstly in terms of what the end user sees. i.e. a file server, a backup solution, a messaging server, offsite access, internet access control. Things like that. What am saying is that a small business is likely going to come to your website because they have a problem, they may not have a good idea of how to solve that problem. So list the typical problem and the general solution and then how to get it.

  21. As one of those small companies who wants to do business with Sun, I can’t see a connection between your filesystem strategy and your storage hardware – why on earth, if ZFS with RAID-Z is so much better than H/W RAID, don’t you sell an inexpensive JBOD array? I think you’re losing a ton of potential storage business here… the form factor of a 6140 with SAS JBOD instead of FC RAID would be an amazing thing for SMBs. Take a peek at what Adaptec is doing with SAS – I think they’re on to something.

  22. Scott Feamster

    Dear Jonathan,
    As anticipated Scott gave another engaging and educational presentation at the December 13 Stanford Breakfast Briefing. His seven company and five people success factors were insightful and practical.
    Scott also praised your CEO performance as well as your earlier efforts to restore Sun quality. Thank you for your work at Sun.
    Please send me Scott’s email address. He didn’t have a card and the address I thought I heard was rejected.
    Merry Christmas!

  23. I second Kemp Watson. StorageTek family needs a 12 array SAS JBOD replacing 3320, which can be used with ZFS either as mirrrored or RAID-Z conf.
    Feedback about Thumper. Its great for I/O throughput but how about designing for a bit more CPU (4-8 sockets i.e 2218/8218)? If you use it for a database, you should be able to use more RAM. So 8-16 GB addressable RAM per socket would then make real good sense, giving a total of 32-128 GB RAM.
    A Opteron database server with 32GB+ RAM and huge number of spindles takes care of everything: CPU, I/O, and memory caching. Just putting memcached in front and you could drive a lot of things with just One General Purpose Machine.

  24. AC

    What’s the impact on Sun by the closer alliance between HP and Microsoft (

  25. Make the tools easy to access and easy to use. Google are masters of this. Everything you want to find, is simple to navigate towards.

  26. mick

    WRT the previous posting.
    For small customers/startups, sales people will never be bothered dealing with them, since the commission simply won’t be worth their while. Until users *worldwide* have the ability to browse/configure and have delivered, the hw of their choice, this talk of engaging new smaller customers etc. is just that. Talk.
    btw – I looked at the new cart app a few days ago.
    My Sun online account has an address set to somewhere outside the US.
    It was only at the end of the entire hw choice & config process, that the app informed me that it couldn’t actually deliever to me….

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