Thank You, Network Appliance


We held an investor and analyst conference today in New York City. All in all, a very positive day, lots of momentum and enthusiasm for where we’re headed (and apprecation for the progress we’ve made – new product launches, and all).


In one of my first investor calls after the event, a large shareholder surprised me though, with, “why do you think NetApps is trying to kill off ZFS?” Er… what? I was totally stunned – it was the first I’d heard that Network Appliance was suing Sun.


My first response was that NetApps probably needs to read this post carefully – talking about the futility of litigation as a mechanism for proprietary companies to stifle the rise of open source competition.


Now having had a chance to read some of the statements their CEO made, here are some updates.


First, Sun did not approach NetApps about licensing any of Sun’s patents and never filed complaints against NetApps or demanded anything. ]


NetApps first approached StorageTek behind the cover of a third party intermediary (yes, it sounds weird, doesn’t it?) seeking to purchase STK patents. After Sun acquired STK, we were not willing to sell the patents, We’ve always been willing to license them. But instead of engaging in licensing discussions, NetApp decided to file a suit to invalidate them. To be clear, we never filed a complaint or threatened to do so, nor did anyone, to the best of my knowledge, in the ZFS community.


We’re all focused on innovation and winning customers, not litigation.


Second, a word on patents – we use our patent portfolio to protect communities, and indemnify customers – you need only look back to our settlement with Kodak when they attacked the Java community. (That case was heard in Rochester, New York, Kodak’s home town, which is a tad different than the East Texas venue Net App appears to have chosen.)


Finally, and perhaps most importantly (again, read here for why), I’d like to thank our friends at NetApps for ensuring every single customer in their installed base is aware of the outstanding economics offered by ZFS as a file system and storage virtualization platform. Please feel free to (learn more here) and get a free trial Thumper storage device here. At $1.50 per gigabyte – open source storage is about a third the price of competitive offerings, with better performance.


And Sun indemnifies its customers, so I’d encourage all interested parties to compare the economics of ZFS and Thumper to what you’re currently forced to pay – the savings are absolutely shocking.


The rise of the open source community cannot be stifled by proprietary vendors. I guess not everyone’s learned that lesson.

59 Comments

Filed under General

59 responses to “Thank You, Network Appliance

  1. DP

    "learn more here" link is malformed.

  2. Pablo Ruiz

    NetApps needs a make over like EMC did back in the early 2000’s. With storage hardware becoming a commodity and storage software increasingly going open source, NetApps is realizing that it has few products/IPs left to charge customers for a leg and an arm. They are choosing litigation rather than innovation or acquisition (EMC’s way) to calm investors worrying about profit and market share. But the worst thing is that they are doing it in such a sneaky and cowardly way. Shame on you NetApp!!!

  3. Jonathan, your post should be part of Advertising 101 in university marketing courses – publicity like the NetApp suit is pure gold.

  4. Ben Rockwood has a good take on this:
    http://www.cuddletech.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=846
    Why can’t you and Dave Hitz just sit down across a table with a couple of beers (and/or lawyers) and hash this out? Sniping at each other via your blogs isn’t going to impress any customers.

  5. William R. Walling

    Jonathan,
    Authoritative, prompt and well stated!
    This latest legal skirmish, ‘open’ versus ‘proprietary’ wares, illustrates another example of America’s dated, while ingrained, INDUSTRIAL mindset.
    (Hint: WINNING may ‘carry the day’, SUCCESS forecasts an even brighter tomorrow!)
    Worthwhile INNOVATION(s) guarantee GLOBAL business or personal success!

  6. Good post, Jonathan. NetApp have a lot of challenges to face, not least of all unhappy customers. Already people have starting comparing them to SCO – possibly the worst image one could ever have in today’s market of Open Standards and Open Source.

  7. Steve Smith

    Rockin!
    Jonathan, I was really looking forward to a blog post on this litigation. It seemed frivolous, especially given the court circuit in which the suit was filed, but not everyone has time to dig into the facts themselves.
    Again, thanks for being so open, and letting us know where Sun stands wrt the newly filed suit.
    Keep on rollin big Sun!

  8. John S

    I guess I just don’t understand your open source business model.
    You have effectively capitulated on the hardware front with your recent ticker change to JAVA. You are clearly a software company now as your SPARC based hardware gets it ass soundly beaten even by the laggards produced by HP. Yet you seem focused on open source software and selling machines comparable to Dell’s. This pretty much leaves you with the STK tapes drives as the only differentiating piece of hardware you sell.
    How are you going to make money selling software, if you try to open source all of it?

  9. Daniel McDonald

    Jonathan,
    Thank you for sharing the background of the NetApps lawsuit. Your explanation reassures me about your commitment to an open source strategy.
    Dan

  10. Anonymous

    obviously Netapp has nothing solid against Sun. All they aiming at is
    – delay upcoming Sun opensource storage products
    – get a piece of the upcoming cakes
    good luck

  11. Robert Mullenax

    As a native East Texan, I am HIGHLY offended by the comment below.
    "Second, a word on patents – we use our patent portfolio to protect communities, and indemnify customers – you need only look back to our settlement with Kodak when they attacked the Java community. (That case was heard in Rochester, New York, Kodak’s home town, which is a tad different than the East Texas venue Net App appears to have chosen.)"
    I demand that you apologize for that comment. While it may be acceptable in this country to make fun of Southerners unfairly, especialy rural Southerners, it is absolutely unacceptable for the CEO of a major corporation to do that. Once only needs to go back to the Columbia disaster to see how the good folks of East Texas responded to that tragedy. I could go to East Texas right now and find plenty of uneducated people, that have more native intelligence than 20 of your top execs put together.

  12. Excellent Post Jonathan and Great Job Sun !! I must say you are brave and unwavering…Just give-in to NetAp whatever, to show them the result of trying to stifle creativity. We’d wait to see the final verdict ruled out against them…

  13. This is hot stuff, lawyers are discussing source code,
    which they cannot even read. Sun is succesful,
    ZFS like any other file system is an inherent part of the operating system,
    Now some stupid sp*mmers will sue Sun and take ZFS away from the community.
    kill -9

  14. There seems to be a lot of contradiction, between the two accounts, although, it "feels" like Jonathan’s might be closer to the truth. I sure hope so. Personally, I grok the open source movement, although, using it as a marketing cudgel is kind of dumb. To reiterate, open is dumb. The whole openness movement kind of sprang out of the MDMA(a drug) movement, which is also dumb, imho. I guess that’s why it never caught on with me. Addictive, but dumb. To me that’s open source. I’m ready for the hate mail, I know. Instead of investing in the dumb, over and over, how about something INTELLIGENT?

  15. max

    Jonathan,
    I find your comments contradictory.
    "First, Sun did not approach NetApps about licensing any of Sun’s patents and never filed complaints against NetApps or demanded anything." on the one hand, and "… we were not willing to sell the patents, We’ve always been willing to license them."
    Can you please address the contradiction between "never demanded" and "always willing to license", Since "Willing to license" is usually simply a code word for "demanding payment for licensing."
    If Sun’s position that NTAP does not in fact violate the patents in question, and Sun does not violate NTAP’s patents, why can’t Sun affirmatively state that instead of leaving the issue unresolved?
    Warmest Regards,
    Max

  16. Nice post Jonathan. You definitely aren’t shy when delving into a hot topic.

  17. Matt Riedel

    Robert Mullenax,
    I don’t think you understand what Jonathon was saying when he mentioned East Texas. The circuit court of East Texas is notoriously pro-patent holders, and any company that sues another company over patent claims nearly always files the claim in East Texas, because the odds of them winning are so much higher. It has nothing to do with the people of East Texas, only the courts system that puts defendants in an uneven situation.

  18. A proprietary software company is fast losing its relevance, seeing its stock price plummet and is surviving only by locking in its vendors. What does it do? Turns a patent troll. Simple. This move proves more anything else that NetApp sees ZFS/Thumper as a real threat. Please accept the compliment from them, Jonathan!๐Ÿ™‚
    On a serious note, please do not waste time talking to a devious company or individual that used a third party intermediary to even talk to storagetek. Let the law take its course. They asked for it. Sun never went about suing them, you see. Good luck Sun. I hope East Texas is a more just place than Rochester.

  19. Mark

    To Robert Mullenax:
    You clearly do not understand Jonathan’s comment on East Texas, and for some reason are interpreting it as an insult to the south.
    The reference is to the United States District Court for the Eastern Division of Texas, Lufkin Division.
    This court has been a popular venue for "patent trolls" to fine suit.
    Note Kodak sued Sun in the court district where Kodak is headquartered.
    Both Network Appliance and Sun Microsystems are headquartered in Santa Clara County California. Why is NetApp filing suit in Lufkin, instead of California?

  20. Joe Buck

    To Robert Mullenax: be offended if you want, but it is well known by patent attorneys that the best place to bring a patent infringement suit is East Texas. Judges there routinely allow the exclusion of any educated people from the jury, and the folks that remain readily respond to claims that the defendants are a bunch of thieves.
    There’s no logical reason for a company based in Silicon Valley, suing another company based in Silicon Valley, to pick a Texas venue, other than that the courts there are slanted. Forum-shopping of this kind should not be allowed.

  21. Jonathan,
    In the spirit of openness…
    You cannot expect anyone to believe that, in your position, you were unaware of NetApp’s suit until a shareholder pointed it out during questioning at today’s analyst event. I find that extremely difficult to believe. And, if it is true, it doesn’t speak well for communication within Sun. I’d hate to think you’d play us all for fools.
    As I wrote on Dave’s blog, I perceive this suit as NetApp retaliation, and, at least in part, an [attempt to] stifle ZFS adoption. While NetApp is obligated to protect its patents – just as it must protect its trademarks – I simply do not buy that its actions are purely about demonstrable patent infringement. I do believe customers have had enough. Following the SCO debacle and outcome, I doubt NetApp’s actions will slow ZFS adoption, nor will their suit prevail. Millions more will flow into the pockets of my least favorite charity – the injustice system.
    I’ll leave the opensource debate for another time.

  22. I won´t comment about the patents or my opion about the subject of lawsuit itself, but i can´t resist to write a little bit about a point, that looks interesting to me. I am no lawyer, so comment from me to internals of lawsuit from my side would be like technical comments of a lawyer to the inner workings of the UltraSPARC T2.
    It´s a point that lies outside of the specific lawsuit. Did NetApp really knew what they did, when the filed the law suit? Well, at the end it´s a "win all/loose all" situation for NetApp. When the judges decide in NetApps favour, they should be able to keep competitors at bay with their patents, when they loose, they loose some of their core IP and have at least one 500 pound gorilla in their market.
    I´ve speculated about this in http://www.c0t0d0s0.org/archives/2986-The-gorilla-problem.html some months ago: What happens to a single-trick company, when everybody can do trick almost as good? In essence you have to keep them away from doing the trick, thus patents. What would happen to NetApp when high performance CIFS/NFS is a commodity, what would happens to a VMware when Intel or AMD decide "We implement our own hypervisor in the BIOS"? I think the answer to this question gives a nice explanation for the situation.
    Well, perhaps they had to fill this lawsuit based on this prospects … because, even when Sun would be unable to monetize ZFS, the history showed, that someone else will be able to monetize it. At the end, such a situation was the start of NetAPP.

  23. Sunil Amitkumar Janki

    These are excellent times for Sun, since competitors take heed but feel they cannot compete on technical merit anymore. You’re driving adoption of Solaris, SPARC development is accelerating again, Java is being open sourced and OpenOffice.org is becoming *the* cross-platform standard for office productivity.
    I already posted this to Paul Murphy’s blog on UltraSPARC T2 and he suggested to me to make a post on your blog. There is not a better time to release a Sun branded mass-market workstation based on your latest processor or create an ecosystem of third party hardware manufacturers and vendors around it. It will of course run Solaris but also Linux and the BSDs, which are all pretty mature nowadays.
    In the light of your previous blog post I would like to bring to your attention again that IT departments will not be your primary customers in the future, instead the wider public will be.
    I have a Linux OS ready not only for SPARC, but also for MIPS derivatives such as Loongson and Octeon and x86. A Power version is also in the pipeline. You could miss an enormous opportunity here if you don’t act proactively. SPARC is stronger now than ever with multiple OS’s ready to run, but if you decide not to do this, we have enough opportunities to support other competitive hardware, such as systems based on 16-core Loongson 3 processors and Cell.

  24. Kevin Mack

    Can NetApp’s patents be invalidated because of prior art?
    For example, Daniel Phillips points to work he did in 1989 in this Linux kernel mailing list posting:
    http://uwsg.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/0010.0/0343.html

  25. Mac Davies

    Jonathon, ZFS isn’t production grade – numerous command-line bugs, no enterprise management tools at all (just a commandline and a very basic GUI wrapper), no SNMP monitoring, horrible performance pathologies with NFS, incomplete provisioning functionality, no FibreChannel target at all, and an iSCSI target daemon with known but unfixed crashbugs. Oh, and backup of ZFS? Forget it – not implemented. Ditto HA clustering.
    NetApp really don’t need to be afraid yet.

  26. Anonymous

    We hear directly from Sun’s CEO, recounting the history between Sun and Network Appliance (in a form that’s presumably admissable in court). But somehow Net App’s CEO is silent – and some lower level flunky is speaking – why isn’t Net App’s CEO speaking up? Does he have something to hide?

  27. Lee Hepler

    It sure would be nice to take full advantage of this opportunity to look at all the NetApp source code. I remember when NetApp first came out and one of the venders at a SANS conference let slip that they were rewriting LINUX and Free Software Foundation software to make the originals work. Maybe there is enough residule source code left in there to prove that this is a fork off of open source GPL software that should have been open sourced all along. Do you think Richard Stallman would be interested in using SUN’s legal muscle to force the release of NetApp software under the GPL? I am pretty sure that they started on GPL code and have forked it into what they have now. Please consider doing this and make my day.

  28. From small beginning come great things.

  29. Zoram

    To Mac Davies – HA ZFS *is* available on Sun Cluster 3.2. See, for example, http://blogs.sun.com/SC/entry/why_sunw_nfs_is_required

  30. Jonathan, please update the entry to acknowledge that the company name is NetApp, not "netapps". it looks silly as written.

  31. Haren Visavadia

    I guess the OpenSolaris Community would need to start authoring a new filesystem as a backup plan should things look unfavourable for ZFS.

  32. John Daugherty

    Jonathan
    Off topic,
    I have been reading about Sun’s progress for the past several months and accumulating shares in your company. I have been impressed by your deliberate and steady efforts to reduce costs, introduce new products and to move public perception of your company towards a positive perspective.
    I was disappointed to learn of your plans for a reverse split. It adds a new element of risk to an investment in Sun, and for no apparent purpose other than to cross an artificial threshold for institutional investors. Why not let your continued margin improvements and a natural increase in your share price do the same thing?
    The movement you are leading is capturing the imagination of many small investors, like me. Now, it appears that you are cowtowing to the institutional crowd. I think it would be great if you would stick with the substantive improvements,and forget about this kind of manipulation.
    Thanks for considering this.

  33. Harold

    Mac Davies: Isn’t it interesting how despite its relative immaturity ZFS is wildly successful?
    What’s driving the reported success of "Thumper" ("for sale for two quarters, and is at a $100 million run rate, delivering 60 percent gross margins")?
    For all the rough edges, people are TODAY using ZFS to get real work done without e.g. paying $$$ for quality NVRAM array controllers….

  34. fsguy

    Daniel Phillips planned to create Tux2 Filesystem but had to abandon due to wafl patents. This is what he had to say when someone initially pointed to him about WAFL patents.
    http://lwn.net/2000/1005/a/tux2-patents.php3
    And this is what happened later on to Tux2.
    http://lists.oxlug.org/pipermail/oxlug-announce/2003/000198.html
    Daniel says he had come up with copy-on-write
    , phase tree techniques and implemented a database in 1989 (4yrs prior to WAFL patent).
    But wondering what had come up later on that forced him to abandon tux2 project?.

  35. Senecca Miller

    Robert Mullenax, Now that you have been educated on the true reason on Netapp filed in East Texas I would encourage you to look at all the oth companies that are not based in Texas who continue to take their patent disputes to east Texas. You will be amazed to see that this has merely been a tactic of the patent trolls. If you want to be offended you should be offended on how those companies interpret the intelligence of east Texas residents,
    You should maybe also being a East-Texas native should look into patent reform in your community. I am from Texas and I am more so offended that we are viewed as a place where companies can manipulate the system and essentially buy victories with a little filling money!

  36. Johan S

    John S,
    I don’t see how it’s true that by changing a stock ticker to JAVA means Sun has "capitulated on the hardware front". It’s only a stock ticker change, not a policy or focus change announcement. There are other ways besides a four letter stock symbol to market hardware. Let’s not forget that hardware is needed to run Java, and of course Sun is betting that folks would choose the best systems in the world for that.

  37. Charles Soto

    As a born and bred Texan, I can assure you, East Texas is EXACTLY as you think it๐Ÿ˜‰ I also think the comment was referring to the fact that Kodak was on home territory, yet the outcome was good, whereas NetApp filed in Patenttrollopolis (though I hear it’s not such an easy ride these days).
    I’ll agree 100% with Pablo Ruiz. EMC did exactly what they needed to – innovate their way out of a commodity business (even through acquisition). NetApp’s products are interesting, but overpriced and haven’t really changed all that much in years. It’s now quite possible to approximate the features of their systems using quite less expensive open systems. So sloth deserves patent protection? Don’t think so…

  38. Jonathan Rocks! Yesterday my friend had mailed me about this suit asking for my call on this but I am really thrilled by your frank public response to this and let your blog answer him.
    Great going Jonathan!

  39. Anonymous

    Questions for Schwartz:
    Why do you think NetApp is stifling innovation? If they were less innovative than Sun, wouldn’t NetApp be performing worse than Sun?
    Shouldn’t Sun patent ZFS technology, just so NetApp cannot use patents against the community that you are trying to protect? When will you apply for the patents?

  40. Robert Mullenax

    Johnathan was kind enough to clarify what he meant via e-mail. I understand now and also did some reading. I must say however, that I don’t think the average technical person or sys admin is up on the world of patent litigation..and I think the comment could have been worded better instead of assuming everyone knew what he was talking about…that aside..
    I agree it’s a silly claim. Glad to see Sun is not backing down.

  41. J V Newman

    @ 69.15.83.18:
    ZFS <b>does<b> have patents – about 56 of them (http://blogs.sun.com/bonwick/entry/zfs_the_last_word_in)

  42. J V Newman

    Schwartz, I don’t believe all of what you say. But I can understand that you cannot reveal all your cards in public and fight an IP lawsuit.
    I am confident that Sun and open-source will come out the victor in this battle. All the best for the rough times ahead. You are truly great leader (and blogger)

  43. If what you are saying is true, I plan to sell my NTAP holdings and purchase more SUNW with that money.
    In any case, you are doing a great job communicating with the community. 2-5 years from now, your blog will probably be taught at Harvard/Yale MBA (and Law??) as how to communicate in the 2.0 era.
    Anshu

  44. Ohad

    Jonathan,
    If commitment to Open Source is so valued for you,
    why don’t you release ZFS under the GPLv2 license ?
    Be sure that the community will embrace you for such a move !
    Ohad.

  45. Anonymous

    Hmmm…
    "The rise of the open source community cannot be stifled by proprietary vendors."
    Or better:
    "The rise of the proleteriat cannot be stifled by the bourgeois."
    It seems that Marxism has not gone out of style. And I thought that was so 18th century…

  46. Richard

    Jonathan,
    I think that Dave is more afraid of margin-related implications when ZFS-enabled systems become widely available on commodity hardware, i.e. not too different from the existing NetApp controllers.
    You should move FS to GPL and make this an OSS case,which can not be won on the basis of prior knowledge. Sun has little to worry as it is very good with hardware and free to depart GPL with future innovations in ZFS.

  47. TinkerTim

    The word "patents" essentially means that some big brother is near or behind the scenes.
    That brings me to an OFF-TOPIC but VERY important point: broad-basing sun software (which i can *almost* equate to "free software" – gplv2+choice/3+choice for cddl) and hardware adoption:
    Instead of making IT honchos drive OpenSolaris adoption in emerging markets, you are much better off doing something more *grassroots*.
    Assume that I am a university student doing my BS/BE/BTech/MSc/Mtech in university. I have no place other than my lab to try new things.
    But the lab is infested with non-free software, often pirated.
    Where do I go to learn *nix, Solaris, or Networking skills?
    To training institutes.
    No prizes for guessing what these commercial institutes teach more of.
    Now, assume I am a brick-and-mortar coder.
    I want to become a better coder. I want a fatter resume.
    Like the 90’s I want to learn Java to go places and earn in multiple currencies.
    But unlike the 90’s the big jobs in future are in Parallel Processing, Distributed computing, and opensource technologies, not on dekstop Java.
    So, I want to take a J2EE course or a Solaris Certification or such.
    But I have no time left for training or learning after my short-sighted, mean-minded, exploitation-expert boss makes me work 12-16 hours a day without weekends or compensatory off-days.
    And I cannot afford to buy a T2-powered server. What do I do?
    Now, assume I want to become a sysadmin or I want to assmble Beowulf clusters or make mini-supercomputers like lucky students in top US universities.
    How the hell is that going to happen?
    If you want T2’s everywhere in emerging markets, you need T2 experts and T2 training. Ditto for Opensolaris, Indiana, and most others.
    In short, I want a lab that is cheap, open 24x7x52, and I am allowed to play with the hardware for a time-rent and not for a device-rent.
    It should not need me to be a member of an elitist fellowship like IEE(E).
    ——————————-
    I just want to comoditize my learning process.
    ——————————-
    I want to walk in one evening and get all the basics about assembling a cluster or handling a rack server or similar other things into my brain.
    I want paying to be as easy as a railway or bus pass or Prepaid cards or Postpaid billing like cellphone subscriptions.
    If I get 100 points I get to build a Beowulf cluster.
    If I get 50 points I get to build a basic parallel processing setup.
    If I get N points I get to do XYZ cool tech thing.
    All comoditized – no lengthy registration, no waiting weeks on end for existing batches of students to complete their work.
    ——————————-
    Much like your certification exam is handled, but this time, I am going to construct something beautiful rather than answer the SCJP/SCJD/SCBCD/SCWCD exam.
    Same place, same setup, different hardware, different activity.
    ——————————-
    Actually, this too will stifle adoption. To get *real* mass adoption, I want a super cheap or free, "OpenSolaris GeekLab" open to all, 24x7x52.
    And I want it somewhere centrally in the town where I can go at any hour, safely.
    ——————————-
    Now, I can walk in at any time, tell the guy sitting there that I want N1 T2 boards and N2 1GB memory cards, N3 cables, N4 steel racks and N5 harddisks and N6 hours time.
    I am always happy to share the session (and coordinate in advance with co-students, to ensure that all goes smoothly on the meeting)
    That is for the hardware and high-end computing training.
    For software, I want something like Innoopract uses for Yoxos Eclipse.
    ——————————-
    A city-wide SUN WAN for Open source Learning. Guess what, City-wide WANs for gaming and media are in place. But none for opensource learning.
    ——————————-
    I know there is SUN Grid, but not many others here know it.
    I want a "Geek Lab" helping me learn all the cool stuff without any productivity restrictions.
    And your offices here, well, they know *NOTHING* of marketing.
    It is the same sad story of all Open source companies. Even Redhat.
    ——————————-
    The closed source guys have hundreds of regional distributors, thousands of resellers, tens of thousands of PC assemblers and hundreds of thousands of technicians, delivery boys, helpdesk staff, all doing the last mile ground work FOR FREE to support the grand monopoly.
    ——————————-
    And your guys (as also Redhat, Novell, Ubuntu, as well) sit in plush offices waiting for people to come and purchase your new stuff.
    ——————————-
    How do you plan to beat a marketing and sales department that has 100,000 people willing to slog it out in sun, rain and wind, albeit unofficial and unorganized?
    ——————————-
    See those numbers before you talk of "mass-adoption", "broad basing", "emerging markets", "next billion" and other hip-hop Wall Street jargon.
    A Geek Lab is the BAREST MINIMUMEST THING you can do and it still isn’t there.
    So, when do I get my weekly free 10 points so that I can actually get my hands on this T2 thing?
    ——————————-
    Jon, you are competing with a sales and marketing team of 100,000 at the very least. At least one Open Source Geek Lab for EVERY Tier 1 city here, please.
    ——————————-
    Did I mention I am cash-strapped as well?
    So, I can’t buy your T2 box today and your giving *me* (just me) a T2 box for free is not going to help anybody more than me. That is just 1. o n e.
    ——————————-
    I am your market, You are selling *me* to Wall Street.
    And I demand that I want a free/cheap 24×7 Geek Lab.
    ——————————-
    Free for college kids.
    Cheap for coders.
    OK-ish for team leaders.
    And EXPENSIVE for IT companies.
    Waiting for the lab.
    TinkerTim
    PS: Sorry for the tone, just for emphasis.

  48. There is a fake blogger out there doing you better than you!

  49. kai

    Your single project has not much to do with the "entire open
    source community". More than this is CDDL (GPL incompatible
    and so incompatible with most of the open source projects).
    If that’s not enough, ZFS also has patents
    ( http://blogs.sun.com/bonwick/entry/zfs_the_last_word_in ).

  50. Joel N. Weber II

    That link says that a Thumper starts somewhere around $24k. A fully loaded NetApp StoreVault is somewhat less than that, so a small business that’s paying attention to pricing may well find the StoreVault more attractive if its storage needs are relatively modest. Admittedly, the StoreVault only has 12 drives bays, the Thumper 48; but if 12 drives will meet a business’s needs, the economics pretty compellingly favor the NetApp solution.
    I’ve also talked to multiple people who’ve worked at different places who’ve used NetApp fileservers who all seem to think they work well. I can’t think of anyone I’ve met who’s used ZFS on a Thumper as the main fileserver at a company with a mix of Windows, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, AIX, and HPUX. Or even anyone I’ve met who’s simply used ZFS or a Thumper.
    Does ZFS support Unicode Windows filenames and all the Windows permissions? You need those things if you want people who are using Windows desktops and who are used to using fileservers running Microsoft operating systems to be happy switching to ZFS. (And NetApp has these features.)
    If you move up a bit from the StoreVault line, NetApp also offers a clustered storage controller option, which may add some peace of mind if you’re not so concerned about the price tag, and are concerned about the potential for downtime on the business’s one file server if there are any single points of failure.

  51. JS

    JS,
    Network Appliance thinks they have something on ZFS, not good news. To change the subject I see where Sun thinks it’s losing business because it’s stock is at $5, I don’t think this is the case. Sun is losing business to IBM, HPQ and Dell because they offer discounts on Printers, PC’s and IBM’s database to win large Server/Mainframe contracts. Sun doesn’t have anything extra to offer. Sure Sun could offer Solaris 10 or StarOffice buy they can already get it free. Now if Sun was to buy Sybase, MySQL, EnterpriseDB and GreenPlum the rules would change. Not sure why Sun doesn’t see this? It’s not the Stock price it’s the value added service that your competitors provide that wins contracts, changing the stock on a 1 for 4 split will just upset investors I hope it’s voted down. Gil

  52. Dear Jonathan Schwartz,
    Law and Justice are far removed from each other, sometimes. Law is what is defined and provable. Justice is about what is fair. Accusations are sometimes unfounded and harmful but nevertheless legitimate, because, Law is architectured around what is defined, arguable and provable.
    Sun has opened up most of its intellectual properties for the rest of the world to make use of. The proprietary world is intolerant on that and tries in vain to superimpose a picture that does not belong to Sun.
    Similar attempts to stifle the growth of the open source community with accusations of patent infringement lawsuits indicate that that the open source is more and more noticed and even feared by the very same skeptics from the other ideological extreme who dismissed open source as utopian not so long ago. Open Source is here, it has arrived and it is formidable. It is not self proclaimed. They have said it. Tacitly.
    I would stop here a while to look at these developments as a call to introspect within open source and examine what is missing as open source is growing. Proprietary world is organized into corporate boards, conglomerates and industry associations. Open Source is participative, has a unified heart, several minds but where is the Head? How are other Open Source groups organized? How many open source groups are out there? What unites them and what divides them? How are these groups governed? What is the organization structure? Do you meet around a single table? Who sits at the head of the table? If you have to advertise open source who signs the cheque?
    Community loves the spirit of freedom. The idea of Governance would be viewed as contrary to the spirit of a participative community, but it requires one person or a few synchronized minds to think together on issues of larger importance.
    There is a system of community leaders in the open source system, but this is not enough. Enough to unobtrusively steer the group into constructive participation, but not enough to effectively orchestrate itself with all its might. To do that Open Source groups need to have its own Board of Directors by any other name (and its own bank accounts, so to speak).
    Formalized and unified, open souce would be in a better position to more easily brush aside corporatized, well funded attempts to intimidate and suppress the growth of the open source movement. The recent and no so recent developments are Godsent opportunities to create an opportunity for open source groups to come together.
    The purpose should not be as short sighted as that of handling the present adversities, but it could be larger. Plenty of talent converge in various open source forums. How would you channelize all this valuable talent optimally into creative output? Often it happens that two or more groups work on the same problem only to come up with two different solutions and now the compatibility between these two solutions becomes a new problem to be resolved.
    If Open Source groups get together formally, Open Source would become the largest (non-profit) entity in the world.
    The Open Source could then scale up its purpose from that of evolving better code onto issues of universal importance such as Internet Governance to ensure a secure Internet architecture, free of malice and fraud.

  53. Jimbo

    The best thing about Netapp appliances? The front grill๐Ÿ™‚
    The rest is just a low powered PC running BSD.

  54. On another front, instead of offering star office as the office "alternative", why not brand it "the better office" and to download "try it, you’ll see, we’re sure you’ll agree"? Maybe? Oh, well, worth a try.๐Ÿ™‚

  55. Mac Davies

    Zoram: that’s a HA-NFS page you’ve sent me to, not clustered ZFS.
    Harold: yep, ZFS /is/ the next best filesystem and like you I’ve also invested substantially in ZFS-based storage – away from WAFL, having seen the promise ZFS has on paper.
    But I still won’t put it into full production, not with all these rough edges that make it look like a technology preview. I’ll be harping on at Sun to finish cutting and polishing their diamond until it’s really ready to show.

  56. GD

    To RamaRao Ayyagari who would like to see Sun sell distros of Solaris 10: Solaris Express Developer software is already free. If you’re unable to download it, you can order it on DVD:
    http://developers.sun.com/sxde/download.jsp
    Click on "Free DVD Kit."

  57. GD

    To RamaRao Ayyagari who would like to see Sun sell distros of Solaris 10: Solaris Express Developer software is already free. If you’re unable to download it, you can order it on DVD at no cost:
    http://developers.sun.com/sxde/download.jsp
    Click on "Free DVD Kit."

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