Burning the Midnight Oil

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to a very important group of people working through the evenings and holidays – our employees, partners and customers. You know who you are.

For most of us, holidays are a great time to catch up with friends and family. They’re also a time of mad scrambles. As I’m sure isn’t unique to the American tradition, some among us postpone holiday shopping until the very last minute (today, even). Which leads to a late surge in infrastructure requirements from those businesses that continue to bet the world will ever get its shopping act in gear (I’ll take the other side of that bet, any day).

This leads to a late surge in purchase orders (for the record, we love that part, planned or otherwise), and then a late surge in shipment activities (not all datacenters are near airports, sadly), and then a late surge in installation activity – yielding a lot of travel for those responsible.

In a perfect world, we’d then be done, and home with friends and family.

But then it doesn’t end.

Christmas Day is a day of massively high load for Sun’s customers across the world. This year will undoubtedly set a pile of new records. Millions upon millions of network enabled gifts will be given in December, and a huge chunk will be unwrapped and turned on tomorrow. Digital still and video cameras will start pumping content to photo/video sharing services. Mobile phones will need to be provisioned, and will start downloading and sharing content (on a global basis, the network load from New Year’s Eve MMS messages goes beyond staggering). Set top boxes, networked picture frames, video game consoles, navigation devices, stuffed animals, sports equipment and automobiles – will all come on-line tomorrow. On the same day. And everyone will (and should) expect flawless service.

For some of our customers, it’s their single highest load day of the year – and single most valuable opportunity to shape their brands. For Sun and our partners, it’s a day we’re very focused on making successful. So to all of you working over the holidays – thank you. I and my team are aware and appreciative of your efforts, and you are making a big difference.

Please take the time to rest when the work is done. Remember, the difference between humans and computers is that our uptime is a function of our downtime.


Filed under General

41 responses to “Burning the Midnight Oil

  1. Amazingly true. I am spending XMas eve, setting up online accounts for my seven year daughter on YouTube, for that YouTube ready camera. I have also given to my wife given the gift of a paid Blog site, and I’m fine tuning her new profile settings, and testing to make sure can send post to her new blog site via email directly from her Blackberry on Xmas morning. I’m also integrating her new sites RSS Feed into her business real-estate site. The older kids stuffing stockers are online transactions to fill up their Subway cash cards, not transit, but the Subway sandwiches, kids away in school really appreciate subs paid for by Dad. Now, that is one online transaction that needs to be bullet proof. For myself, I bought an Ajax book while strolling at Borders for no other reason that it was there, and find myself multi-tasking on a few social networking sites, while I get Xmas sites setup for Xmas morning – so hence this post. Next year, I expect more automation, with less CPU cycles and power consumption, utilizing less floor space with easier to near zero administration. So no rest, just more invention, which is in-fact, for some of us, rest.

  2. Fred L.

    Hi Jonathan,
    Talking about photo editing I got a brand new Sony camera for Christmas. I was looking for some quick browser based photo editing solution like that new Photoshop Express I hear so much about.
    I was surprised that the best I found was written in Java although it is still some early technical preview it seems. Still I wasn’t convinced of Java for years but now I have hope: http://genflux.de/products_fx.html
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2008 for all out there.

  3. Dear Jonathan Schwartz,
    Merry Christmas
    (to you, your family and to all of you at Sun)

  4. Santa

    To The Sun Gang – Wish you a very happy and successful New Year!!

  5. Merry Christmas, I really appreciate that you were my first interview. Hey, wanna be first again on our new thing?

  6. Doug Smith

    Jonathan – what a great way to say thank you to the network and operations staffers who pulled duty over the Christmas holiday. I guess I contributed to the load by surfing before the grandkids come over for breakfast, and as an app dev guy, I’m feeling a slight amount of guilt.
    Have a great 2008. Myabe you will get to have a family dinner with Linus!

  7. Anantha

    Happy Holidays to the Sun family! Hopefully this coming year ya’ll will gift your investors with better top/bottom line numbers. I’m no longer a share holder (given the poor financial performance of the company I sadly am not an investor) but still continue to be a cheerleader for Sun. I held out as long as I could but my financials stared at me in the face and I had to recognize JAVA for what it is and move on. Good luck.

  8. Alex Howells

    Nobody seems to read your blog when it’s Christmas, almost 24 hours with no comments? I just thought I’d drop a quick message on to say congratulations with all the successes that Sun Microsystems has had in 2007, especially with the newest UltraSPARC T2 processors – looking forward to exciting things next year.
    Take care and remember to take some time off yourself!

  9. Dear Jonathan,
    Happy New Year and Merry Christmas from me and Indonesia. It is nice if the world is peace and full of happiness. Everyone can accept any differences for any kinds. Eventhough, I am still struggling for my business but I am still enjoy to see everyone in happy mood in celebrating christmas and new year.
    H. Achmad Sonny Suryanto
    Jakarta, Indonesia

  10. TSE - technical support elf

    I’m looking forward to my make up days next month!

  11. Technical Support Elf

    Thanks Jonathan. Working the holidays/vacation weeks is part of the job that you signed up for, but it’s still nice to be recognized.

  12. Bill_W

    "What Sun does have is a terrific sales force." i recently read this about Sun. If true we should have a great 2008!!! Happy New year to all at Sun!!

  13. Kirk Parcel

    Thank you for your comments Jonathan and your support for folks working over the holiday break. My role at Sun is "Global Cash Manager" for Global Invoice to Collect and I manage a team of three in Sydney, five in Broomfield, one in Markham and four in Amersfoort out of Sydney. My role is to manage all of the reciepts that hit Sun’s bank accounts globally and to offset receipts to invoices in our ERP system. This is a busy time for us in the lead up to quarter end and I have all 14 of my team working over the holiday break supporting the quarter end close, which is a great effort. So to Simon, Heather, Kazu, Rece, Mike, Christopher, Darrin, Gail, Christina, Reijer, Marco, Hayat, Gracie and Claire thank you for your support and dedication.

  14. William R. Walling

    "Happy and Healthy Holidays to ALL at SUN!"
    Surprising IT wares forthcoming …

  15. ..and don’t forget the IN wares. 🙂 Sun is IN. 🙂 Sun rocks! Rock on. 😉

  16. Ambivalent Customer

    The only reason we stay with Sun is the relationship with our experienced service people. The post sales support provided by our Field Engineers and SSE’s is absolutely top notch. Sun’s sales force is awful and our account managers were all laid off, so all we have left is the guys who come out to fix our equipment at 3AM. Always with a smile and always with the right solution. If they ever go away, we will too.

  17. RJS

    Seconding Anantha, except that I do still have my Sun shares, which have just slid back below my purchase price (actually, the worst part, for now, is that it’s all in funny money, i.e., dollars). Any chance of making back my loss on the conversion rate at least? For changing the label and doing a reverse split (in a double show, even!), it would be nice to at least give me that, otherwise what was it all good for (would it have been even worse otherwise?)…

  18. Sun is a committed company. As a customer, I am very happy with my products. I will continue to use Sun as long as they continue to provide great value. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope you get some time to spend with them too.

  19. Thanks for the thoughts for us covering the break Jonathan. While I had the last 2 weeks off, I get to pull all of this week including New years.
    At least I got Christmas with the kids this year 🙂
    Keep up the great work Jonathan, we’re all behind you.
    Alan Hargreaves
    Staff Engineer
    Systems TSC – Kernel/Performance/VOSJEC

  20. Kev

    Just thought I’d post that after many years of being a Sun fan, 2007 was the year that I ditched my home Solaris (x86) system, and went over to Linux. The company I (used to) work for only shipped on Sparc/Solaris 2.8, and I’m not expecting to have to work with it again – I did ask Sun where I could access some hardware for porting my open-source project, but only received pointers on where I could buy stuff (can’t see that being a good investment).
    I suspect 2008 will be my first Sparc/Solaris free year since ’87 unless I try to power up the Tadpole (I saved for curiosity).
    Sold the stock.

  21. "I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to a very important group of people working through the evenings and holidays – our employees, partners and customers. You know who you are."
    ==> Jon, under what category do you put your blog readers? We are neither employees, nor partners, nor customers 😉

  22. joe

    Most investors do not understand how does symbol changes & reverse split affect your bottomlines?

  23. Sun Geek

    I just came across these two articles and thought they were interesting. Infoworld ranked reemergence of Sun as the second most underreported tech story of 2007. Hmmmmm!! Hope 2008 will change that. http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/12/28/52FE-underreported-sun_1.html?source=rss&url=http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/12/28/52FE-underreported-sun_1.html
    Paul Murphy of ZDNet ranked your CMT technology as the No.1 tech story of the year!! Kudos to you guys!! http://blogs.zdnet.com/Murphy/?p=1034

  24. Jonathan,
    New year wishes to you, your family and all Sun associates worldwide.
    Founder & Chairman
    CREAGX Innovations

  25. I’m looking forward to my make up days next month!

  26. sun employee

    Once again: Why are we not selling laptops to our enterprise customers?

  27. Kevin Hutchinson

    I was wondering if you would consider starting 2008 by giving a clear definition of what Sun means and does – I guess a mission statement, and values statement. I think it would help all your audiences.

  28. Jonathan,
    Happy and Healthy Holidays to ALL at SUN!

  29. rocky

    Hey Jon,
    I hope you had a nice holiday with family and friends. It is also nice to hear that you complimented your associates and customers for working through the holidays.
    That being said, your job is to increase shareholder value and you have not done so to date. We will see if, under your stewardship, if Sun Micro can grow revenue and earnings in this quarter. Based on the stock price the market is discounting you, your management, your plan, your products, and your future.
    Who is right in this equation. Sun and it’s management or Wall Street. If things are really as bad as the "the street" is projecting why don’t you just slash jobs and sell the place?

  30. Here’s a New Year’s Resolution for 2008 – please resolve to put your energy behind the excellent Groovy programming language. See http://groovy.codehaus.org/ for details. In today’s Web 2.0 world of dynamic languages, Groovy really works well. You already put your energy behind the excellent JRuby – how about Groovy too?

  31. Steve Santini

    Jonathan –
    Who would have thought that Christmas was a red shift day. But alas, my two sons got a laptop each, and an ‘action cam’ that you wear and record with from a relative. They promptly set up web sites with videos from their skiing. And I loaded all my holiday pictures onto Smugmug so family could see while we were away.
    We used our share of bandwidth!

  32. To The Sun – Wish you a very successful 2008!

  33. walter

    The notion of paying a dividend crossed my mind this weekend. Management has indicated in the past that they will maintain current cash levels and use ongoing cashflow to buy back stock. Cashflow last quarter was about $500m. I think Sun spent about $1.2b on stock last quarter. If they used 50% of the 500m on a dividend they could pay out about $1.20 a year on the 828m shares outstanding. Thats a 7.3% yield at our current price of $16.31 per share. That would light a fire under this stock.

  34. Ronald

    Mr. Schwartz, Somebody somewhere is going to get heart attacks soon because of their long term loyal investment in the company. My question is: Is the company not turning around fast enough?

  35. Na Sun

    It’s such a wonderful communication platform! I happened to stop by here today, and read the articles from a prestigious company’s CEO. But I still have a little question for this format. How could you ensure that any technology or business secret would not be leaped out here?

  36. Gil

    Let me repeat it again, without a database customers have no reason to buy Sun/Oracle over competing products. Microsoft, IBM both have viable databases for customers and HP offers Printers/PC’s Sun has no value added products that customers couldn’t live without

  37. puzzled

    Where is the world is Jonathan?
    We’ve went for many weeks without an update on the blog??
    Hoping silence is not BAD news??

  38. daylight oil

    Can you please explain why you haven’t posted recently? I guess burning oil doesn’t apply to your blog anymore, maybe the fumes are getting to you. Might explain why your blog hasn’t been popular recently?

  39. Bill_W

    i heard that Sun bought oodles of shares today at 15.28 (3.80×4) Nice going!!! Us longs are really happy about it!!

  40. Ronald

    Can’t bear!!! You guys certainly will get options at this depressed price. But think about the mis-steps Sun made, and the suffer of the loyal shareholders base.

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