All the Wood Behind One Arrow

I’m radically increasing Sun’s focus on storage today.


Why? Because the market’s only going to grow, for as long as we’re on this earth, and I believe our talent and assets give us a big sustainable advantage – that we’re planning on exploiting. Aggressively.


How? First, I’m going to be combining our Storage and Server product teams to create a new converged group at Sun known simply as our “Systems” team. The Systems team will focus on the evolution and convergence of computing, storage and networking systems. Talk to any datacenter adminstrator, and that’s what they want to hear – they live in a world managing the (often idiosyncratic) interactions of that trinity (computing, storage and networking – and just wait until they’re virtualized). We want to be in a position to innovate on their behalf, at the system level, beyond the boxes – across blades, racks, disk and tape.


So we’ll still be strongly focused on being a multi-platform storage provider (just as our servers run multiple operating systems, and our operating system runs on every vendor’s servers), but we’re also going to start talking at a higher level to customers that see more standardization and integration in their future datacenters. That’s not everyone, but it’s definitely a trend we’re going to accelerate (and again, that’s what virtualization portends).


Now, why do I believe combining groups make sense? It’s a recipe that works for us. We combined our high volume x64 server group with our traditionally high scale SPARC server group over a year ago – leveraging the volume skills of the former with the scaling skills of the latter. What did that collaboration yield? The highest scale x64 systems in the market. And a refreshed lineup of volume systems powered, interchangeably, by SPARC, Intel and AMD. We also combined our networking expertise to build the best general purpose blade platform below (known internally as C10 or Constellation 10 – 10 blades, vs. “C48,” with 48), with integrated networking and seamless management. Can you tell where the server stops, and the storage starts? I can’t (and in a virtualized world, it’s not terribly important).




Secondly, as our servers clearly show, we’re heading to a general purpose world – in which open and general purpose platforms will be the dominant drivers of growth, for us and the market broadly. The first general purpose storage system from Sun was Thumper (our x4500) – powered by an open source operating system (Solaris), and file system (ZFS – soon to be parallelized by Lustre, a recent acquisition from Cluster File Systems). Thumper rocketed to a $100,000,000 annual runrate within its first two full quarters of shipment (on a $13 billion dollar revenue base, that’s hard to see, but we certainly took notice – at least one competitor did, too).


Combine these assets with some of our recent network innovations (like Magnum, the world’s largest Infiniband switch – which is not the smallest variant we’ll build, btw), the Crossbow community in Solaris – and it begins to look like we’ve got all the right ingredients to reinvent the datacenter.


So in this instance, I’m expecting our Systems team to be just as focused on standalone storage and networking – leveraging disk, tape (and all future removable media) – as they are on building great integrated systems (like the Constellation System, above, or our Thumper platform). I’m expecting to see more innovation, faster time to market, and a breadth of opportunities emerging from serving our current customers better than ever, while inviting new customers with a constant stream of high value innovation.



And before I end, I want to focus on one particular group, whose value only grows to Sun every day – our Tape and Archive business. From a market perspective, some data lasts forever – surveillance video, health and insurance records, trading histories, etc. In our view, the market for permanent data will only grow. Today, only tape can maintain the integrity of that data without electricity. And for the datacenters we serve, many are seeing the cost of electricity threatening to eclipse their hardware budgets (yes, I’m serious). For disk storage, over a decade, that’s easy to see – just look at the power bill to run a SAN, mulitply it by a decade.


So while we’ve been selling very large libraries to the largest companies in the world, in mainframe and open system shops, we’ve also begun meeting a variety of startups and web 2.0 companies (some household names, even). With the need for very, very large pools of archived storage (when you collect user generated high definition videos or satellite imagery for planetary social networks, it’s easy to find yourself with peta-scale archive problems).


Tape, with effective indexing and retrieval, represents the most economically responsible (that is, eco-responsible) archive platform for long term storage. Broadly speaking, tape (and in the future, other forms of removeable media) are a core part of Sun’s archive plans. We think there’s a ton of innovation we can bring to that market – now that we’ve done the basic integration (did you know a Solaris powered server is now embedded in our libraries – bringing new meaning to Free Inside!). As we converge high performance networking, virtualization and file system innovation – along with an overall Systems approach – our archive business will benefit just as much as our blades and rackmount systems. They are all, after all, members of the Systems family.


So like I said in the opening, I’m dramatically increasing Sun’s focus on storage today. By bringing to bear the talent and assets we have from across Sun to ensure our success. From where I sit, we have the right leaders and assets, and the right target in front of us.


Now’s a great time to put all the wood behind one arrowhead.

46 Comments

Filed under General

46 responses to “All the Wood Behind One Arrow

  1. Jonathan,
    It’s good to see you connect servers and storage this way (at least from where I stand). For the sake of Sun/Solaris mindshare, if nothing else, please offer a scaled-down Thumper to compete with devices like these: http://www.intel.com/design/servers/storage/ssr212mc2/
    cheers,
    Blake Irvin

  2. Great news Jonathan – our customers manage combined systems under one roof, so why shouldn’t we?
    A while ago I blogged on why someone would choose Sun for storage (http://blogs.sun.com/TA/entry/why_sun_for_storage) – the great thing is that the reasons to choose Sun for storage are the exact reasons to choose Sun for servers, or software for that matter…

  3. James

    While scaling up to the big end, have you considered scaling down as well? http://redmonk.com/sogrady/2007/09/30/a-laptop-proposal-for-sun-the-intellisun-metro/

  4. Nagesh

    Hi,
    Now Microsoft and Intel have some sort of agreement with Sun Microsystems, can we expect laptops of sun? (what about the following options:
    1. AMD/Intel processor + Windows/linux + sun motherboard
    2. Sun processor + Windows/linux + sun motherboard
    3. Sun processor + Solaris + sun motherboard (all sun)
    Every tech company has its line of laptops. ex:-HP, Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, Apple ..etc. None of them have the depth of sun in systems design. You won’t deny that. When can we see Sun laptops?
    Have not you tempted by apple’s iphone/ipod? When can we expect sun in cell phones? Java is already well placed there. Worried about backlash from MOTO?
    Nagesh.

  5. I have argued for years that the first-tier systems suppliers have under-achieved by not taking a systems approach to storage. Interestingly only, at the bottom of the market have Apple with X-Serve/X-Raid and Microsoft ever made progress with the opportunity. Restructuring an organization to make a zero-sum game of server and storage investment, saves overhead costs. The proof of seriousness will be an integrated "systems" architecture, which trashes the past two decades of arms-length server-storage relationship, with an enmeshed structure where neither has a singular existance, in exchange for extraordinary benefits from the whole. I have seen more than sufficient technical talent at SUN to conceive this. Now we can watch to see if administration, management and leadership truly puts the "wood" behind the technical "arrow". Go for it Jonathan.

  6. Sounds good! Best of luck, Jonathan, at al! The co-opportunity with web 2.0 sounds like a win-win proposition. While we innovate, and focus, I think it also might be fun if we keep thinking about a revolution in storage technology…it’s just over the next hill.🙂

  7. OK – You mention the trinity (computing, storage and networking) and you talk about ‘the network is the computer’, but you don’t even sell the networking part. You need to buy a company like NetGear (just down the road from you in Santa Clara). And you need to manufacture an affordable rugged mobile device with Wi-Fi and options for barcode scanning and camera (like Symbol’s MC50). Then you’re the only company that sells the whole package, if that’s what the customer wants – and many do.

  8. Tired Of Cliches

    Yeah, McNealy used to use that same old tired cliche…"all the wood behind one arrow". I swear he used it in every quarterly conference call one year. Must be ingrained in the Sun culture. Which of course, doesn’t mean it isn’t a tired old cliche.
    Look, storage is just not your strong suit. Get over it. Buying StorageTek was dumb. Admit it. Shifting the deck chairs is not going to change the ship’s direction. If your storage division was going gangbusters, you would be trumpeting it, not hiding it in some other group. Your rebadged storage offerings are about as impressive as HP’s rebadged storage offerings. Perhaps because they’re mostly the same stuff with different paint jobs.
    Not impressed…there’s more to being CEO than just plastering over the cracks with gloss, son.

  9. Dimitar

    Jonathan,
    I’ve been tempted to comment on your blogs a few times and never have but this one hits so close to home that I couldn’t help but.
    I have been arguing for the last three years that a new level of abstraction (Grid OS) needs to finally appear at a datacenter level on top of compute, storage and networking resources. If a traditional OS can abstract very similar fundamental resources – CPUs (compute), memory (storage) and buses (networks) inside a computer by providing well defined services (POSIX) to applications, there is no reason not to be able to do that on a larger scale – the grid. What is missing however is the POSIX of grid on one hand and the PCI and SCSI of grid on the other. What I’m trying to say is that the services and the standards of grid are not even defined yet. The reason? For a very long time now, the tier 1 vendors have been too busy to “differentiate” and not standardize in order to lock customers in.
    With that said, I hope that I read your blog right and it is not just my wishful thinking but this really is signalling the beginning of treating (at least by Sun) the datacenter in it’s entirety (compute, storage and pluming) as a SYSTEM as it deserves and a true Grid OS is in the works. Maybe it’s time to demote the computer from a system to a component, even though still a very important one.
    I also hope that you (Sun) will be working closely with your competitors and partners to define the services that a Grid OS should be providing as well as the standards it should be built on and then all of you will be competing hard to provide the best one out there.
    Looking forward to Solaris Grid OS v1.0!

  10. Mark

    I tend to agree to an extent with "Tired of Cliches". The system vendors who also sell storage (HP, IBM, and Sun) do not do well in storage. Meanwhile, the two main storage pure plays, EMC and NetApp, have done well over the last few years.
    However, I think the real difference between the systems vendors and the pure plays is in the face to the customer. With EMC and NetApp, a true storage expert, who only cares about and is compensated on storage, has an account management relationship with the customer. In the HP, IBM, and Sun model, there is a generic account manager, who may or may not have a high concern for storage, and a "Storage Specialist", who has no account management relationship with the customer, who cares about and is compensated on storage. Just as it is hard for the IBM account manager to care about IBM storage attach to an HP Superdome or Sun X4200, it is hard for an HP or Sun account manager to care about their storage attach to IBM mainframes or xSeries. But the EMC account manager cares dramatically.
    Personally, I think this was a move in the wrong direction. Instead of the StorageTek brand being buried into Sun’s server group (similar to both HP’s StorageWorks and IBM’s System Storage, both buried in their respective server groups), I think Sun would have been better served to make StorageTek operate as a subsidiary with a dedicated sales force with account management responsibilities.
    But perhaps there is more to it than I see from the outside. Perhaps this is about the ultimate merger of servers and arrays into a next-generation NAS architecture, enabled by 10Gb Ethernet.

  11. MakGeek

    Jonathan,
    I concur with Nagesh post about Sun laptops.
    How do you expect developers to develop and test multi-threaded code on Niagara II (up to 64 threads) if you can’t offer the appropriate system (laptop or PC I don’t care)? . I don’t think your partners (AMD/Intel) offer what is needed for the job on hand here. Please comment.

  12. While that’s a nice idea, it’s kind of useless to the platform that is creating gobs of HD video content: Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server. Unless Sun still thinks that the best, and only solution for someone working with petabytes of video and audio content is an overpriced NAS head?

  13. Anonymous

    Sun has gone green, it is now recycling its slogans. Remember this "In 1990, Sun pranksters brought to life one of President and CEO Scott McNealy’s favorite quotes: "All the wood behind one arrowhead." They constructed a 60-foot arrow extending through his administrator’s office, through his office, through his 5th floor window and 12 feet out over the front entrance of the building."

  14. Feedback

    Sun has an unique opportunity in storage space compared to other NAS vendors due to leading Solaris OS and Systems Design expertize. A few comments here says secondary storage is not important. I think, secondary storage is also important in the areas mentioned above like for hospital medical records (where you don’t want to lose any medical information related to family tree), BioTech firms (storing DNA information), Financial World (storing financial statements) etc. etc. to name a few where historical information is required for auditing purposes and for information retrieval. I wish, Sun can design a horizontally scalable storage device with distributed Thumper to serve the whole ‘world wide web’. Storage is a high growth area going forward and innovation in this space with a competitive advantage is a double plus for Sun. Converged systems will allow customers to plug and play hardware (sparc, intel, & amd) and operating systems (solaris, linux & windows). Thats called a true ‘Heterogenous System’ and this will save customers tons of $$$.

  15. Raúl

    I´m a java developer for around 5 years now, your blog has become one of the best i´ve ever read i like your style and i like what are you doing as Sun´s CEO
    +1 on laptops proposal, imagine a development laptop powered by Sun´s excellent hardware running the awesome OpenSolaris Developer Edition.
    Your hardware solutions are simply amazing, maybe you could use all that cuality to improve software development machines.
    And sun´s logo or duke is a must have in this laptop (like in filthy rich clients cover image)
    Best Regards, Raúl

  16. OSX User

    In reply to ‘John C. Welch’ – there is an article on BigAdmin that might help with that:
    How I Used Solaris OS and ZFS to Solve My Mac OS X Storage Problem
    http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/content/submitted/zfs_mac_os.x.jsp

  17. Mark

    This is what is wrong with American business today. Management says what they think Wall Street wants to hear, when in fact the reality in the field is entirely different.
    Sun has re-organized the storage group three times now since the STK acquistion. Sun has, intentionally, marginalized the storage Sales and SE forces by changing comp plans, re-alinging territories and accounts, and making the storage sales force an overlay to the ISO reps. All of these measures have driven large number of storage talent out of Sun and directly to our competitors. The proof is in the pudding and storage sales continue to drop quarter over quarter here at Sun.
    Now the worst part of this is that Management will now use this re-organization to layoff another large number of employees.
    This is really all about Management managing the bottom line (i.e., expenses) so that they can deliver the 8% growth they promised Wall Street.

  18. Alan complained, "but you don’t even sell the networking part." Eh? Sun sells the biggest computer network switch on the planet: the 3,456 port Project Magnum (previously blogged by Jonathan). Every system Sun has ever produced has had a network port — for 25 years and counting. Integrating 10 GbE onto the processor in Niagara 2 is a significant affirmation of the importance of networks in Sun’s designs. The revolutionary You can even purchase Sun’s 10 GbE NICs for your Red Hat, SuSE, or Windows box. Need to pump a bunch of video? The Sun Streaming System can pump out 320 Gbps of streaming throughput. While Sun doesn’t make $10 SoHo Ethernet switches or $30 WiFi access points, I’m sure you can see how the Network is the Computer is alive and well at Sun, and tightly integrated with all of the System Group’s products.

  19. Oops – looks like the link on my comment above is broken, here’s the correct one – http://blogs.sun.com/TA/entry/why_sun_for_storage

  20. Mark H

    Apparently there is more than one Mark posting comments. This comment:
    Posted by Mark on October 01, 2007 at 07:38 PM PDT
    http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/growing_in_storage#comment-1191292687000
    Is mine.
    This comment:
    Posted by Mark on October 02, 2007 at 06:53 AM PDT
    http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/growing_in_storage#comment-1191333207000
    Is not me.
    However, the second Mark does raise complaints which are very common in IT acquisitions. I know people who worked for both EMC and Data General, and both organizations felt the DG acquisition was integrated poorly. Another example were the complaints about how HP handled the former Compaq’s storage organization after the acquisition. And IBM has had many complaints regarding companies it acquired, such as ISS.

  21. Brent

    Too bad Sun is repeating IBM’s mistake by destroying StorageTek
    "So I asked my question: How did pathetic (back then) EMC kick mighty IBM’s butt during the 1990’s?
    They had the finest storage R&D in the world. They also have a pretty dysfunctional relationship between marketing and engineering, but hey, how hard was it to take Katz’s RAID paper and build one? Other people did who knew a lot less than IBM’s Almaden research group…
    … A tall, greying gentleman of, I surmised, the engineering persuasion, complimented me on my question, and asked me if I wanted the real story. Of course I did.
    With the contained passion and pain of long-festering wounds, he told me. His story was that many people inside Almaden were aware of EMC and the potential of large-scale RAID arrays. Alarms were raised, architectures debated, proposals made. And nothing was approved. The chief villain? Ellen Hancock, GM of IBM storage, who rejected these efforts in favor of the tried and true channel architecture that had served IBM so well for so long. Aided and abetted, of course, by the usual toadies and courtiers of the IBM imperial court…
    But on balance I think there was greater than normal cupidity at work. i.e. Ellen really was a dunce. EMC wasn’t targeting some small niche of over-served customers, as in the classic disruptive technology case. EMC was targeting, and winning, IBM’s largest and most important customers. EMC’s marketing messages (in the early years focused on performance), explicitly called out IBM as the competitor, and baldly claimed EMC superiority. EMC was not nibbling on crumbs from IBM’s table, but loudly crashing the party, grabbing the caviar, chugging the champaign and propositioning the wife. Subtle they were not.
    And IBM did not respond. For years. And when they finally did (with Shark) it was an under-baked too little, much too late. "
    from storagemojo

  22. Mike Whitton

    Sun’s target for storage is too focused on the mid-tier, which is a quite crowded market. Sun needs to take the lead by making an ’embedded’ version of Solaris (backend) with some fancy ‘web 2.0’ based ZFS management tools (frontend) to go in and take business away from NetApp/EMC. If Sun was to position itself correctly, it could offer a single, reliable environment that could scale from the smallest office to the largest corporate datacenter.

  23. Sun Fan

    Good work Sun ! Good luck and go win people…

  24. zoly

    I see a few people crave for sun laptops …
    Hmm, sun has already portable computers: project blackbox🙂
    On the serious side I think tadpole (now general dynamics) still has some sparc laptops for sale.

  25. ap

    +1 on the laptop idea. Imagine manufacturing and selling something like the intel laptops designed by ziba. Home users are going to buy these and see SUN and JAVA logo on their computers… everyday. Sun needs visibility among the masses and here we have it.

  26. Dear Jonathan:
    You talk a lot about energy conservation, Sun/AMD servers, ‘Boxcar’ computing, the environment…yet there is mention of, or any link to, CSR from Sun’s homepage http://www.sun.com.
    Thanks.
    What is this ‘HTML Syntax Not allowed’ nonsense?

  27. Baburao Ganpatrao Apte

    @Pamidi
    Hover your mouse over About Sun on the Home Page. You will see a link to CSR.
    HTML syntax is disabled to prevent spam.

  28. neelesh singh

    I think that this reorganization may work from the ‘cost’ prespective but it remains to be seen whether that will help Sun create Red Oceans.
    Moreover given the fact that High end storage is a non-sun from OEM perspective (HDS) only low and midrange storage can be played with assuming Sun retains its relationships with HDS. For the timebeing I am critical of this move.
    Though I see a huge oppurtunity for sun to more close to SMEs, individuals and small time users and sun has been largly non-existent there and there is a huge market coming up there. Laptop I think will be a good idea.

  29. Tom Hall

    and all future removable media
    I would hope you would use blue ray soon, the cost per disk will be driven low by consumer adoption (unlike tape). Seeing costs drop and drop would be a nice feature.

  30. 3rd Mark

    Having a laptop as a brand-awareness tool seems to be a possible gain, especially to future-proof the brand among younger consumers. Your 20yr old college student will be turning into your corporate client in another 5-10-15 years, and it can help spread the open-system mentality, going forward.

  31. Rather than calling it the "Systems team", why not save a little money by reusing old signage, t-shirts, letterhead, and so forth? Just call it SMCC….

  32. interesting

    How interesting. I posted a negative comment on this board yesterday and now it is gone. I guess Sun pulls what they do not like off the board…..

  33. CJ

    Sun never has understood storage. After this announcement I’m convinced you never will. You have to be believable in the storage market, EMC is; Sun is not. What a terrible waste of opportunity for a company that cannot afford to miss an opportunity.
    For all of the frat house, hip, cool, groovy, products that you build. Imagine a true division that actually believed that storage was a huge opportunity, cut loose to develop, sale and compete. Come to think of it, that sounds like an entire company, EMC.

  34. sunw+stk=??

    What customer problem does this solve? With this reorganization does Sun storage only focus on open systems storage? What happens to the mainframe customers?
    Why the customer cares how the product is built- you get it from Hitachi, LSI, FalconStor, etc. What customer cares is how it is sold and serviced. I would have thought the buying and servicing groups will be combines to make Sun easy to do business with. Instead focus is still on cost cutting.
    For now, this combining sound like a admission of defeat in storage business. I would love to see someone from IBM or EMC post comment on this Sun move.

  35. longtime

    Hmmm, "I’m expecting our Systems team to be just as focused on standalone storage and networking". Maybe that is the problem. Standalone systems running standalone software, like ZFS, in an increasingly Sharing and Participating world. Seems like your technology is not in stride with your marketing insight.

  36. Fredrik

    + 1 on the Laptop-idea. In order to both drive profit and Sparc-awareness:
    make one for the Intel-platform and one with Niagara II.
    Since Apple kinda have the white-laptop "Trademark", you would have to go
    with something different. Purple, green, yellow perhaps. Or why not all three?
    But, the most special part with them has to be the technical solution.
    Show the people, that Innovation _does_ matter.
    And there you might have the solution for Suns PR-problem. (think iPod/iBook/iPhone)

  37. Storage success is the key to a profitable Sun. There is a huge opportunity here and Sun has the right pieces.
    A couple of thoughts. First, the $100 million Thumper run rate in 2 quarters is marginal, not good – raise your standards. Second, Lustre has just as much potential to be a distraction as an aid – the direction needs to be managed towards the enterprise and less to the national labs – which means a lot of slogging through market requirements and use cases.
    Finally, Sun is aiming at an emerging market. Smart engineers can intuit a lot of it, and will, but you also need some visionary marketing to shake up old ideas and spot new ones.
    As the systems vendor least invested in the storage status quo Sun has a unique opportunity to drive disruptive change. But EMC is moving fast down the same path – expect announcements next year – so a strong sense of urgency is also needed.

  38. OS X User, I was aware of that tip, however, you can’t use ZFS as a SAN FS. If all I want are RAIDs and ZFS, I certainly don’t need Sun for that. NFS doesn’t compare well to AFP or SMB from a usability POV, and securing it is far more tedious than AFP or SMB.
    Sun’s solution also, at least according to our Sun reps, require Sun drives and Sun RAID units. That’s a bit silly considering that there are just as good, and *far* cheaper SAN fabrics, even outside of XSan, that do not force you to source all your components except for the switch from a single vendor. If i’m going to do that, why the heck would I use Sun? If I want to pay a lot to be locked into a single vendor, I can call up EMC, HP, IBM, etc.
    If I want to use NFS, there’s *no* advantage, from a SAN POV to using Sun hardware or software. By ignoring Mac OS X, Sun Storage is leaving a lot of money on the table. Considering Sun’s P&L performance over the last few years, that’s not such a great strategy.

  39. Hi Jonathan,
    I always cite your blog as the best example of a CEO blog. I’ll be speaking in Beijing and Shanghai this month on the topic of CEO blogging – to mark the publication of my book, The Corporate Blogging Book, in Mandarin Chinese. Would you do a quick Q & A with me by email on CEO blogging that I’ll post to my blog? Click on my name and you’ll see the one I did with Richard Edelman.

  40. Patrick

    I don’t know if restructuring is the right way, but it’s about time to unify Sun’s storage offerings. Up to now there’s a plenty of things that don’t match with each other. Thumper is successful, OK, but it’s not the storage platform I had hoped for. IMHO a perfect Thumper should have:
    1) the option of using 15K SAS disks
    2) offer zfs volumes as block devices (targets) via FC-SAN, IB-SRP, iSCSI
    3) kernel-supported CIFS server that fully supports ZFS (incl ACL maping)
    4) Solaris-based storage OS instead of full a blown distribution (via compact flash?)
    5) Web based interface to configure all storage options
    There’s a (userspace only) ZFS-enabled samba version since May, all other parts are still missing . The OpenSolaris guys are working on some of them, but Thumper is selling for about a year now.
    Your NAS systems still use a non-Solaris based OS that can’t even handle NFSv3 ACLs (a SUN extension), while Solaris raised the bar to NFSv4. The new NFSv4 ACLs match with ZFS but with no other file system Sun offers and migration is a pain. Just a few examples, maybe there’s still time to fix things. The competition is not sleeping, but in certain areas still behind (in others ahead). Don’t loose the opportunity, get your products aligned!

  41. And this announcement has implications for Oracle DBAs as I discuss
    on my blog at:
    http://kevinclosson.wordpress.com

  42. Sunil

    "We knew we wanted Solaris and our Systems business to grow beyond their own boundaries – we wanted customers to buy Systems from us, even if they weren’t running Solaris; and for them to buy Solaris, even if they weren’t running it on a Sun System. (If you think about both businesses as intersecting sets in a Venn diagram, the best way to grow the intersection isn’t to jam the businesses together, it’s to grow the sets.)" – Jonathan Schwartz, Sep 16, 2007

  43. Dear Jonathan Schwartz,
    Right focus at the right time.
    Not only the market for permanent storage will grow, the market for all storage will alarmingly grow.
    In the early 90s a fashionable topic for discussion was "paperless office". Computers were increasingly seen as common and electronic storage was becoming the norm, so the world imagined that paper will disappear. But the opposite of that happened with more and more paper produced and used in the form of computer stationery and ink jet photo paper in addition to the traditional treadle press, offset or writing paper.
    This "paperless office" syndrome will operate in the era of network computers and thin clients. Local storage is not going to go away with the increasing use of network storage. For instance, Google gives away three gigabytes of hard space free to anyone who signs up a mail account, and more than a few Google users pick up two or three accounts. In addition a bit of space from MSN and a bit of space from yahoo, some space in the corporate network, and all this theoretically adds to be more than ample, but like what happened to the concept of paperless office, this network storage era will bring about an increased need for local storage.
    I will buy another 100 GB of local storage to back up my google mail. And another 100 GB to back up my local storage.
    This arithmetic is uneducated, but I think is nearer to truth: For every gigabit of organized, central storage, three gigabits of local storage will be generated.
    There are other strange laws that will operate. When someone buys a camera with a 512 MB SDcard, or an MP3 player with as much storage, his need for storage at Youtube and Gmail will go up by 500 MB each and his local harddisk needs will go up by 5 Gigabits.
    If this is what happens in personal storage, what would happen in the corporate environment in terms of the need for local storage ? LANs will buy more and more terabits of magnetic storage, and an equal amount of tape storage and an equal amount of backup magnetic storage and an equal amount of colocated storage and an equal amount of colocated magnetic storage ……
    Thumper brought you a $ 100 million in its first two quarters ? Tip of the iceberg.

  44. Prince

    So, Jonathan you are a warrior . Yes, please continue to lead so.
    Your leadership is clearly reflected in Sun’s current posture. Best wishes.

  45. Peter

    Power to your Bow Jonathan!
    Considering the technological advantages Sun has with the Niagara II’s 10G Ethernet with full bandwith Encryption Capabilities along with zfs, arrays of SATA drives, Clustered file systems, Tape Archives…
    Sun has potential to dominate this market sector, especially considering the reliability and dependability that everyone has come to expect from Sun’s products.
    The next big challenge for Sun is to excel with Customer Service for customers of all sizes and infect your VAR’s with that philosophy also. Study and learn from the best in the Service industries outside of IT.

  46. Steve Santini

    Jonathan –
    This is very interesting. As we are building out a new high density data center, it becomes a challenge to implement it at full density. As we are finding, there are 2 dimensions to density, as it includes storage as well.
    Not only do we need to take older machines and virtualize them, but we need to take older storage densities and replace them with currently available capacities. At this point in time this will yield a 10x improvement in storage footprint for us.
    When it becomes interesting is when you merge the two increasing density spaces – considering a fully loaded constellation hosting hundreds/thousands of applications. How do you effectively put a storage solution behind it that isn’t limited by I/O as some virtual techniques are today?
    This also begins to address topics we have discussed before, about the one screen that manages a data center – with your change, it is one System.
    This will be interesting to watch

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