Neptune Away!

Just in case you missed it, our Microelectronics team is off to a good start – we just signed a deal with Marvell Technology to license them the core intellectual property in our Neptune ASIC. They’ll take it from here, add their own innovations, and turn the results into derivative products for the open market. Just the kind of partnership we love, and exactly how we want to build our business – bringing core innovations to the broadest markets possible, not just to other businesses within Sun.


For years we were called proprietary – a moniker that did more damage to Sun than any market downturn. And frankly, we’ve spent years recovering. But at this point, my hope is we’ve completely turned that slur on its head, that we’ve come to define open – more open than any other vendor, more open than open itself. From silicon to systems, software to storage and services.


Where open translates to “open to opportunity.”

14 Comments

Filed under General

14 responses to “Neptune Away!

  1. Thontesh Renukarya

    It is great to hear that our “Microelectronics” group is opening in a big way.

  2. Lee Hepler

    How about version 1.1 of Neptune supporting Fibre Channel? Maybe it could do 1Gb, 2Gb, 4Gb and 10Gb. You could end up with one ASIC that could do all of these along with ethernet and make it all the more usefull and popular. I’m sure LSI and QLogic would be very interested in licensing and producing NICs with all those capabilities in one card. Why would anyone buy anything else if the price is right?

  3. Sparqle

    Jonathan,
    As a Sun software user, I can tell you that there is no other company that even comes close to matching Sun’s software “giveaway”. Definitely not our friends at open source poster-childs such as IBM or Google. Sun is the only vendor that tries to support a broad range of operating systems – Windows/Linux/Mac/Solaris. Google Desktop on Linux anyone??
    Other companies such as Apple and Microsoft want to continue to make a living out of closed source and proprietary products.
    As a software user, I love Sun’s software and their product pricing (free!). As a Sun investor though, I am still to see the benefit of open-source!! I hope it works out!

  4. Yup, agreed with Sparqle…
    Ask IBM to opensource db2, OS/390, OS/400, etc. IBM does not want to opensource anything useful.

  5. D. Pierce

    Lee Hepler has it wrong, I think: Neptune marks the emergence of 10Gbe that is port-dense and cost effective. This is the beginning of the end for Fibre Channel, which has long suffered from poor interoperability, high cost, lack of standardization, proprietary lock-in, and many other woes. iSCSI and/or NFSv4 over 10Gbe both offer an open way out of this mess, and are already well supported both by Solaris and other operating systems. Adding Fibre Channel to Neptune would raise the cost in development, time-to-market, testing, interoperability, and more, and would then have to be passed on to the customer. Sun and/or Marvell would have to pass that cost on to you. Why pay more?

  6. very very nice informationns.thank you very much.very nice blog.i will read this blog all the time.

  7. I find it both amazing and fortunate that a small team of visionaries can still turn around a company’s fortune. Keep up the great work!

  8. Congratulations! You might want to add the new Microelectronics unit to your mission statement? (You include the 4 S’s already).

    I’m looking forward to you and Mike proving Toni Sacconaghi wrong on April 24th – it’s always fun to listen in on your earnings call.

    Finally, I think it’s fantastic that Ian Murdock is joining Sun to “close the usability gap with Linux”. I think usability could be a core value you could drive into Sun’s personality, along with the simplicity and transparency you’ve already introduced. It worked for Apple…

  9. s kumar

    I have always wondered if the negative comments by a financial analyst result in a vicious cycle impeding the ability of a company to attract business from future clients. Downgrading of sunmicrosytem stock twice to underperform without any upgrade inbetween seems clearly to be an attempt to manipulate the stock price. Can the future finacial performance be affected by an incorrect finacial analysis by a wall street analyst?

  10. Laxman

    Here’s the only thing I don’t get: Open sourcing processor designs like you’ve done with UltraSPARC T1. Why??

  11. You have done a great job in beginning the adjustment in perception about Sun. The innovation at Sun has a lot to offer the world of technology. I look forward to your earnings call!

  12. Grid

    Is Sun eating its own dog food? Is the Microelectronics unit using the Sun grid when it needs more CPU cycles?

  13. carina tester

    I agree. Open sourcing processor designs like you’ve done with UltraSPARC T1. Why??

  14. “derivative products”. A phrase which should send a shiver down the spine of anyone looking to buy a Marvell Neptune ASIC processor. This, I’m afraid, just shows that Sun hasn’t learnt its lesson: For years, Sun competed with all the other UNIX vendors to create “derivative” Unices complete with their own “innovations”, which served to do nothing but dilute the value of the UNIX trademark and create confusion among buyers as to which Unix would run what product. Only the release of Linux – a product which can’t be split down hundreds of incompatible, “derivative” alleys, stopped this trend.
    I’m all for Sun licencing its products on the open market, but they need to make sure that these “derivatives” aren’t going to be hobbled by incompatibility.

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