For those interested in Sun’s organization charts (which are, in effect, an expression of my priorities), what’s below is the message I sent to all of Sun earlier today. Keeping everyone up to speed on where we’re headed is a big part of my job (I’d argue, one of my biggest) – so if you’re interested in such things, read on. (And yes, I thought about simply posting this on my blog this morning – but I didn’t want folks inside Sun finding out about an organizational change via an external source – thus, the courtesy of an internal email first.)
To: All of Sun
From: Jonathan Schwartz
Subject: Announcing a new business, and a new leader (or two)
I announced a few organizational changes this morning, and I want to be sure everyone hears directly from me about my motivations and expectations.
As you know, we’ve opened a world of opportunity by ensuring Solaris is available on Dell, HP and IBM hardware. We can now talk to what were traditionally non-Sun customers. Similarly, our moves to build an x64 systems business, and bring Linux to the SPARC platform, have made us relevant to non-Solaris customers. As of today, I’m seeking to repeat that effect with our Microelectronics, or silicon investments. I’d like to see our chip business grow beyond Sun’s own systems, and more broadly in the marketplace.
So I’ve formed a Microelectronics group, which will be led by Dr. David Yen (yes, that David Yen). David and team will focus on building Sun’s Microelectronics business – embedded within, and beyond, Sun’s systems.
Because we have innovations (in platforms like Niagara, Rock and our Neptune project) that companies beyond Sun are interested in embedding in their devices. And I want to have a focused, independent team driving those opportunities and monetizing Sun’s innovation – from networking and cryptography, to the future of power management and high performance computing. Our Niagara platforms, on their way to delivering their first billion dollars to Sun, prove silicon investments deliver competetive advantage. This change puts more fuel in that engine.
What happens to the Storage business? Two things.
First, I’m elevating Jon Benson to my staff to run our Storage group. He’ll be responsible for all products and solutions purpose built for the Storage marketplace. These include our SAN, Tape, Archive and OEM products and partnerships. Having worked alongside Jon for the past year, I have every faith he’s got the energy and innovative insights to bring new value to all of Sun. So congratulations, Jon, and welcome to the Executive Leadership Team.
Now, looking to products like Thumper (aka, the x4500) and Solaris/ZFS, it’s clear the rise of general purpose systems running open source software open a new opportunity in the network attached storage (or NAS) market. NAS vendors who aren’t joined up with a Systems (read, Server) company are finding it difficult to differentiate in hardware – via power efficiency, systems management or packaging. Still other storage vendors, unable to leverage a volume open source operating system, are feeling the strain of using proprietary OS’s – which can’t attract developer communities.
So with this shift, I’m also transferring ownership and resources for our NAS hardware offerings to the Systems group. I expect the teams to collaborate, and compete based on different approaches. And I expect us to have the kinds of insights the market wants, as customers use our offerings and innovation to manage their own information lifecycle.
Although transferring the NAS hardware team to Systems is a very small move in terms of people, it’s a substantive one strategically, which I wanted to highlight. We’re doubling our focus on storage – by broadening the teams with a stake in our Storage success.
We continue to see our customers’s storage environments as loosely coupled, but highly aligned – those within a bank responsible for archiving teller surveillance videos have little in common with those running real-time trading systems. But they both buy and manage storage, they both worry about security and economics, and they both expect value from Sun. In recognizing the distinction and synergies, in every industry we serve, we’re hoping to build an even stronger world class storage business.
So in summary – I’m creating a new Microelectronics Group, headed by David Yen. I’m elevating Jon Benson to lead our Storage Group. And I’m asking John Fowler and the Systems team to drive our NAS roadmap, leveraging Solaris and our Systems expertise.
With that, here are some of my favorite internal questions:
When is this effective?
Immediately. There are still some small organizational issues to be resolved, but the substantive transitions are effective immediately – and we’re talking to new Microelectronics opportunities as I type this! Stay tuned for “interesting news.”
Does this mean you’re setting these businesses up to spin them out?
No, we’re not setting them up to spin them out. Let me say that again, just in case you’re asked – or a competitor suggests as much to our customers. No, we’re not setting them up to spin them out. We’re setting them up to focus their energy and attention.
By combining NAS Storage with your Systems team, aren’t you defocusing them?
No, we’re actually focusing them. Do customers want storage blades? NAS platforms built and managed via a common operating system and provisioning environment? A virtualization approach that spans data and apps (and the network)? The answer’s yes to all the questions – and we’re uniquely positioned to deliver all the answers.
Does this imply the decline of Tape or SAN storage? The dominance of NAS?
Quite the opposite – growth in storage won’t decline for as long as we’re on this earth. Our ability to innovate across primary and secondary storage, across SANs and NAS (and DAS), positions us to grow, not shrink. We run businesses to grow them.
Will there be any changes in Sun’s field organization – in Sales, Service or Support?
Nope. Changing how we build something has no bearing on how customers buy it.
I want everyone to know I take reorgs very seriously – I know they absorb time and energy, and run the risk of defocusing teams. I also know they’re necessary if we want to lead the market, vs. follow it. Now’s the time to lead, in Microelectronics, Systems, Storage, Software and Services.
In closing, there’s one message I’d like to convey to those involved in this shift: we are a business driven by innovation, and our ability to deliver it faster than the competition. A time to market advantage is among our most important – please work with your managers and their management to ensure we stay focused on the deliverables at hand. Your peers, our shareholders, and our customers depend upon it. Pace matters.