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SPARC News - 2001, July weeks 1 - 2

SPARC History
Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
High availability enterprise SSDs
the Last Market Report on Sun Compatible OEMs?
Meet Ken and the enterprise SSD software event horizon
90% of the enterprise SSD companies which you know have no good reasons to survive
CCPU High Availability/High Density Compute Platform
High Availability SPARC systems
from Continuous Computing

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EDT Cards Now Work from a Laptop PC

July 12, 2001 - EDT, based in Beaverton, OR, has recently qualified their range of PCI image capture, digital camera and telemetry interfaces for operation with laptop PC's connected via MAGMA's Cardbus expansion port. EDT makes a range of products for SBus, PCI and PMC busses, which are supported on SPARC Solaris, and Intel architecture NT, and Windows 2000. ...EDT profile, ...MAGMA profile
Diary of a Workaholic Sun Partners Program Manager

(during the cost saving shutdown at Sun Microsystems)

reported by Zsolt Kerekes, editor SPARC Product Directory
Monday (day #1 of shutdown) - got into work 15 minutes late this morning. Can't understand it. Cars everywhere. Assume other drivers haven't heard about Sun shutdown. But when I get into office, it's empty.

Have decided this week to concentrate on outgoing activities with partners and potential allies in new marketing programs. Waste several hours emailing technical support, and eventually learn how to access incoming voicemail.

Get error message:- buffer full.

Spend rest of day dealing with email, as usual.

Tuesday (day #2 of shutdown) - get into work 15 minutes early to make up for yesterday. Check voicemail, no messages. Check email. Just one message from another Sun workaholic in Camberley office asking how he can add a UK company to the website for a marketing program we canned a few years ago. In the spirit of international co-operation, send him a reply saying I don't deal with Ireland, but I thought the application form is somewhere on the web site, and Happy Holiday tomorrow.

Unbelievably, no other emails today. Decide to plan ahead and email technical support to ask if it's possible to reset my email preferences so that it doesn't automatically delete incoming emails from outside Sun. Spend rest of day doing market research on Sun web site. Check shareprice. Still not a good time to sell options.

Do some in depth competitive market research. All the focus group reports say that Dell, and not HP or IBM, is most often cited as our competitor in the mid-range market.

Search for "Dell" on - get "198 Results Found".

Repeat the same search, using the term "Sun". Get "31,069 Results Found"

Decide that the focus group research must be flawed. I can't see how Dell can be real a threat to us when they're barely visible on the web. I also noticed that the market research report made no mention at all of DEC. That suggests to me:- either we've got the wrong company doing the research, or maybe we're getting the wrong people coming in to the focus groups. I make a note to raise this question next week, when things are back to normal.

Tomorrow, I'm going to plan our strategy for the new killer partner program, but I might just work a half day.

Wednesday (day #3 of shutdown) - 4th of July, so roads empty. Got into work 30 minutes early. Had to attract attention of security guard and persuade him it really was worth opening up the office, switching on all the lights etc. Big day today. I've been tasked with creating a new partner program to re-energise system sales. My plan is to get this done a week early, which is why I've been coming into office. Log-in and get down to making some notes...
  • Avoid negatively charged words like "dot-com"
  • Include positively charged words like "Sun" - but, and here's the tricky part, the legal people said that the new program name must consist of more than just one word. Although it can be two words which are concatenated, like:- StorageArray.
Check SUNW price. No change. Think first, that Java applet has failed. Then remember that stock market is closed today. Even CNBC is showing football games. Decide to review notes I made earlier about previous successful marketing programs.

Sun's oldest partner program was Catalyst. My research assistant looked into that, and it seems like it was a very successful program.. The best part was the numbers. Over 14,000 Sun compatible products. Unfortunately, thousands of Catalyst products never saw the light of day, and were only invented by other companies who wanted to get listed in the catalog. Nobody knows which ones are real or relevant today. My plan for the new program is to beat the numbers on Catalyst. That's a must-have. Also the web means we don't have to filter out products. Decide that 100,000 products or 10,000 companies is a good target to aim at.

Next, take a look at another historic program, called "SPARC-compatible." When I first saw it in the research notes, I looked up "SPARC" in a dictionary, but unlike "Catalyst", it wasn't there. Guessed it might be foreign, and tried a German online dictionary. No luck there either. Asked researcher. She told me it was a pre-Solaris, pre-Java, pre-Jiro legal term, like a copyright symbol, and never used in marketing communications in any font size larger than 6pt in print or 20 pixels high on the web. I looked at the program details and was horrified to find that it included a lot of our competitors in the Solaris Compatible and Sun Ready markets. As including direct competitors is one of the no-no's for the new program, decided not to read any more about it.

Spent rest of morning looking at web sites for current partner marketing programs. End up being completely confused and get headache. But persist because I think I'm starting to see a pattern. All the companies in the newer programs are companies which we like, and want to be associated with Sun. Otherwise there is no logical connection. I'm starting to feel hungry. The cafetteria is closed this week, so I've been bringing in sandwiches. They're a bit dry, because I haven't had time to pick up groceries.

Ping! My brain goes back to the vacation I had in Australia, just after doing my MBA, but before joing Sun. A loaf of soft springy, fresh tasting white bread. Much better than what I'm eating right now... Why am I thinking of it? The label! Yes. That's it. My friend said "Hey is that the new company you're going to work for?" - That was before Sun Microsystems became a household name.

I do a quick check on the whois part of the Network Solutions site... Not even the cybersquatters have thought of this one, and the domain is not in use, even though it's a registered trademark in a completely unrelated industry. I throw the rest of my sandwiches away. Mission accomplished, I'm going to eat Mexican for lunch, and take the rest of the day off.

After logging out of the system, I pause. What if the server crashes and they haven't backed it up? What if I get killed in an auto accident? My brilliant inspiration will be lost to the company. The shares I leave to my family may not recover so quickly. Just to be sure, I take out my gold nibbed Parker pen and write on the back of my business card, and then place it carefully on my researcher's desk where she can see it next week when she gets back. The name of the new program which will change all our lives in the months to come. Unfamiliar today, but soon to be universally recognised wherever computers are bought and sold... the SunBlest partner program.

Thursday (day #4 of shutdown) - didn't get a wink of sleep last night due to excitement and thinking about details for the new SunBlest partner program.. Got into work 2 hours early. Nasdaq has only been running a few hours, but it looks like SUNW is a whole dollar down since Friday. I don't run the spreadsheet which tells me my net worth in real-time, because I need to have a positive outlook. But after drinking coffee, I start to feel very tired and can't remember any of the ideas which were buzzing around my brain last night.

Check email. Got a reply from the Sun guy in Camberely saying thanks very much for the info. He tried the web site, and entered all his partners data, which was very extensive. But when he clicked enter, he got the following message:

"Sorry! We couldn't find your document. The file that you requested could not be found on this server. If you provided the URL, please check to ensure that it is correct or try a search above."

Did I have any other bright ideas?

Fired up with enthusiasm, I drafted a reply saying not to worry, because his partner company would almost certainly be eligible to join the new SunBlest program, which would be starting in the US September, and would roll out to Europe sometime around May 2002, and would have the different name of :- SunBlest (Europe).

I explained that the delay was due to language issues, because the Sun marketing people in Sweden and Germany wanted all new European programs delayed until they had been translated into local languages. (Actually the real reason for the delay was that most European marketers took the entire summer off for their vacations, and didn't start working again until about October. Then, in November, the skiing season started, and the long slowdown in the run up to Christmas.)

I didn't put that, in the email. I actually wrote - "I know that the translation won't take so long for you guys in Ireland. So you might be able to do a local launch on a non-disclosure basis, maybe as early as March, timed to coincide with St Patrick's Day."

That got me thinking again about the important elements of the new program. The key thing was to be as inclusive as possible, while excluding any companies which competed with Sun in any other element of their business.

Spent rest of day researching Came to the depressing conclusion, that even the best partners in our current programs develop products which work for the enemy:- Microsoft and Intel. We may have to rule out 99% of software companies, and 99% of hardware companies (especially if they had divisions which also sold storage). That would make it difficult to make the ambitious recruitment targets, because it narrowed the field to companies which were actually owned by Sun, and a handful of start-ups.

Then I had another brilliant idea!!!

What if we restricted the SunBlest partner program to just end-users?

Decide that will be the focus of my research tomorrow.

Friday (day #5 of shutdown) - Got into work 5 minutes later than usual. Depressed to see what looks like an expensive car convention in a tight bunch in the car park, and am therefore not surprised to see that dozens of other marketers have arrived in the office before me. I reply to everyone's friendly greetings and smile sweetly, but realise this doesn't look so good, as I am the last one into the office. Make a mental note to email everyone later, and copy my boss, just so they all know I was here on my own earlier in the week. See that emails from other Sun marketers have already started to fill up my in box.

At the coffee machine, find a way to mention my SunBlest idea to one of the younger marketers. She's only been with Sun less than a year, and doesn't have to worry about the stock price, because she hasn't got any. She was recruited to do partner programs with IHVARSP's. Don't know what that means, but think it may have something to do with Sun Integrators who sell to ASP's who run Jiro on Linux appliances which connect to Sun servers via iSCSI, but not wireless.. It's a hot new market, in which Sun has over 90% market share. She likes the name of my program which she says is very cool. But can see one slight snag. I ask what it is.

"I could be wrong" she says "but I thought Sun policy was not to publish lists which are in any way useful to our competitors. That's why we don't publish a Sun VAR list, except in Europe, where our policy is always to make sure it's out of date and as misleading as possible. I don't think the Big Mac" - which is how she refers to - "would let us publish a list of end-users. In fact I almost blew my chances at my interview by asking if I would be able to have access to our list of end-users. I was told that if I wanted to see a list of end-users I should apply for a job in the accounting department, and forget about a career in marketing."

I nod gravely, and make a mental note never to mention end-users if I ever have to apply for another marketing job.

"What happened?" I asked sympathetically.

"I said, that's how we did it at my last company... And my interviewer said, not to worry, I was still young and would learn how to do marketing properly at Sun. That's why we had partner programs, so we didn't need to get cluttered up with details. Anyway, tell me more about your new program. Can't wait to hear more about it."

I prevaricate, and say that I haven't got much beyond thinking about the name yet. She nods sympathetically and says that she knows case studies of companies which took years to think of a new name, so all in all, I've had a very productive week.

Go back to my desk and consider how lucky it was that I came into work today, and how close I had been to making an absolute fool of myself with the end-user idea. Better start with a clean sheet again next week. No time for thinking now. The inbox is filling up at a furious rate.

Check SUNW price. Set graph for maximum magnification and see signs of a definite upwards blip at the leading edge of the down curve. Am relieved to think that this whole week has been so worthwhile, and can't wait to get back to work properly next week.

Disclaimer:- this spoof article is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to marketing people living or dead is purely coincidental.
Ideal Hardware UK Disti Ideal Hardware Dedicates Resources to Fujitsu Siemens PrimePower

UK - July 12, 2001 - Ian Hill has recently joined UK distributor, Ideal Hardware's Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) as product development manager for the Fujitsu Siemens PrimePower Solaris-based server range and attached storage. The appointment is in line with Ideal's focused Enterprise strategy and underlines how seriously the major Fujitsu Siemens Enterprise opportunity is being taken by the Surrey-based distributor.

Mark Walker, enterprise solutions director at Ideal, says: "We have invested heavily in the development of our Enterprise Solutions Group, enhancing our portfolio and focusing our expertise on becoming the leading Enterprise distributor in the UK and Europe. As the biggest UK distributor for Fujitsu Siemens, we are keen to further develop our partnership and maximise their Enterprise opportunity. The PrimePower range is not well known in the UK channel but we aim to change that. I am confident that Ian has the expertise to help us get PrimePower the recognition it deserves as an exceptionally performant yet reasonably priced Solaris platform."

Ian comments on his appointment: "My focus is to manage and develop the Fujitsu Siemens Enterprise range, which also involves identifying a limited number of key resellers for the PrimePower range. In short, I can give them a truly competitive edge in the Solaris market."

Ian joins Ideal with a wealth of experience gained in his previous role as Compaq AlphaServer business manager at Genisys, a leading reseller. ...Ideal Hardware profile
EMC EMC Unveils Details Behind World's Most Open Networked Information Storage Infrastructure
To date, EMC has tested and qualified interoperability between its storage systems and nearly 400 server models, 40 operating systems, 81 storage software products, 145 networking elements and 1,200 devices ranging from HBAs and drivers to switches and tape subsystems.

EMC's investments give customers the assurance that multivendor interoperability can be sustained even in the face of new software revisions, hardware upgrades and operating system changes.
Hopkinton, Mass.- Wednesday, July 11, 2001 - In a move that documents the world's most comprehensive portfolio of open information storage solutions, EMC Corporation today announced it is making publicly available its Interoperability Support Matrices. These documents detail the thousands of combinations of multivendor products and technologies EMC has fully tested and qualified to be interoperable with EMC information storage products.

"EMC has invested some $2 billion in the equipment and expertise needed to achieve tested interoperability across a vast range of switches, servers, operating systems and other components, including non-EMC storage devices," said Chuck Hollis, EMC Vice President of Markets and Products. "It's difficult; it's expensive and there are no overnight solutions. The scale of EMC's commitment to open interoperability is what customers should expect from all their storage infrastructure suppliers." Hollis added, "EMC's best-in-class testing environment enables its customers to avoid what would become a hugely complex, time-consuming task if they were to undertake the testing themselves. EMC's commitment to interoperability testing enables end-users to focus their resources on deploying reliable, flexible networked storage solutions that maximize the value of their IT investments." ...EMC profile
Marathon "Custom" SPARCŪ Solutions
Marathon International Has Moved to a New Location

Editor's note - July 10 - 2001 - SPARC reseller and oem, Marathon International has moved to a new expanded facility. The company's new address and phone numbers are:-

1274 Anvilwood Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
tel:- +1 408-400-8600
fax:- +1 408-400-8601

...Marathon profile
Tadpole Compute Server 3300 Powered by New UltraSPARC III Processor Delivers Unprecedented Compute Density in a 3U Rack

Cambridge (UK) and Carlsbad (CA) - July 10, 2001 - Tadpole, the builder of specialised best-of-breed solutions for the Sun Microsystems computing environment, again demonstrated its engineering and business prowess today with the launch of its Tadpole Compute Server 3300 system, the only UltraSPARC III powered, high-density compute server available in a 3U, 19-inch form factor.
The only UltraSPARC III high-density compute server available in a 19-inch, 3U form factor, Tadpole's best-of-breed, space-conscious system can yield up to 25% greater rack density than other offerings; a standard, 72-inch rack populated with Tadpole's envelop-stretching system will house 28 upgradeable 750MHz UltraSPARC III processors, and provide up to 3,066GB disk storage.

Bernard Hulme, group chief executive of Tadpole, states: "The Tadpole Compute Server 3300 system raises the bar in high-density compute server technology and again demonstrates the skillset of this company to bring timely, innovative solutions to market leveraging the reliability, scalability, and performance of Sun's UltraSPARC and Solaris technologies."
click for more info - news image - Tadpole Compute Server 3300
The Tadpole Compute Server 3300 is a value-add enterprise system built specifically for mission critical applications in such compute intense markets as EDA, genomics, oil and gas, finance, ASPs, military, healthcare and telecommunications. Each Tadpole Compute Server 3300 is configurable with one or two upgradeable 750MHz UltraSPARC III processors with 8MB cache memory, three hot-swappable UltraSCSI disks with total capacity to 108GB, 10/100MB Ethernet, four full-length PCI slots, and two UPA graphics slots for high performance Sun Creator graphics. The compute server comes pre-installed with Sun's 64-bit Solaris 8 operating system.

The server's patented chassis design provides powerful front-to-back airflow to rapidly vent hot air via five fans and allow for such unprecedented densely packed rack configurations. The Tadpole Compute Server 3300 also has a system watchdog for monitoring of temperature, fan operation, and CPU voltage in the unlikely event of failure. A remote management feature allows system managers to start and shut down machines for maintenance or to scale network load at any time, and from anywhere. The Tadpole Compute Server 3300 is built for expansion through use of its powerful 750 watt supply, complies with UL, FCC class A and CE regulations, and weighs in at 55 lbs.

Pricing starts at under $16,000, excluding sales tax. Volume pricing - upon request. Availability: immediate. ...Tadpole-Cycle profile

Editor's comment:- looks like the gnomes at Tadpole's design department have once again done a Doctor Who like Tardis, and squeezed more into less volume. Usually mechanical and thermal problems restrict what you can squeeze into a small space, but remember... this is the company which has been manufacturing SPARC notebooks for nearly a decade. They know how to make it work.
Rave Computer
Rave Computer Association Integrates 500MHz NetraAX1105 into a 2U Rackmountable Chassis

Sterling Heights, Michigan – July 3, 2001 - Rave Computer, a leading Sun authorized Master Value-Added Integrator, has taken the original Sun NetraAX1105TM motherboard and integrated it into a 2U rackmount chassis to provide customers expanded PCI slot options, more storage capacity, and redundancy.
Rave Systems Redundant RackMount-2UAX1105 server features:-
  • Powered by 500MHz UltraSPARC-IIe processor
  • Three 33MHz/32-bit PCI slots
  • Four front accessible disk drives with maximum storage capacity of 292GB
  • 2 GB maximum memory
  • Dual USB Serial ports
  • Dual Integrated 10/100MB Ethernet
  • Dual 300-Watt power supply (optional single 300-Watt power supply is available)
  • A reliable operating environment of Solaris 8
Rave Computer Association, Inc., is the first to market to provide a redundant UltraSPARC-IIe solution for the telecommunications, multi-media, and service provider market.

The new Rave Systems Redundant Rackmount-2UAX1105 system features a full complement of connectivity choices. It provides for two serial interfaces, one parallel interface to support a wide variety of peripheral devices and an EIDE controller that supports up to four EIDE drives. As an option, with a third party SCSI controller card, the RMR-2UAX1105 can be configured with SCSI disk drives for those looking for faster data transfer rates and larger disk capacity. Also an optional audio video module is available for interactive applications.

The Rave Systems RMR-2UAX1105 will be ready for shipment in July. ...Rave Computer Association profile
IDC Says Worsening European Economy Could Wipe $150 Billion from IT Market

July 2, 2001 - Any further weakening in the European economy could have a major impact on the demand for IT products and services over the next three years, according to IDC. With new economic data pointing to the possibility of a more severe downturn in Western Europe, the likelihood of the U.S. technology slowdown spreading to Europe is increasing. This global slowdown could reduce worldwide IT spending between 2001 and 2003 by as much as $150 billion, based on a "worst-case scenario" projection, with $50 billion less demand from Europe.
IDC's new bulletin Europe Feels the Squeeze: How Bad Will it Get? (IDC #W24994) analyzes the possibility of a slowdown in IT spending in Western Europe and its impact on worldwide spending.

To purchase this bulletin, contact Cheryl Toffel at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4389 or at
Based partly on economic forecasts in the first half of 2001, IDC expected the European IT market to show double-digit growth throughout this year. A slight slowdown in economic growth across the region was not expected to have a significant impact on IT spending because of regional market dynamics. However, spending in some segments of the European IT hardware has clearly tempered, including weaker demand from service providers for networking equipment and a slowing growth rate for PC sales.

"Software and services are still expected to show strong growth this year," said Stephen Minton, manager of IDC's Global IT Economic Outlook research program and the European IT Markets Center. "Similar to the story in North America, we expect that any economic slowdown would have its most severe impact on hardware demand. Historically, hardware spending is highly vulnerable to swings in the overall economy."

Currently, IDC forecasts 11% growth for IT spending in Western Europe this year. At the bottom end of the economic predictions, a worst-case scenario for Europe would see total IT spending grow only 7.9%. Moreover, this slowdown would likely continue into 2002 and potentially into 2003 as the European economy struggles to maintain growth while controlling inflation. Most at-risk countries include Germany and Italy, with the United Kingdom expected to be more stable.

"For European suppliers, the importance of understanding the broad economic picture has never been more important. Events in the United States have dispelled the myth that technology spending is immune to an economic slowdown," Minton said. ...IDC profile

Editor's notes:- many US marketers who took an extended holiday this week will view this news with dismay when they see it on Monday. If you look deeply into the earnings reports for most US IT companies since about January this year, you'd see that their overall results would be a helluva lot worse if it wasn't for the buoyancy factor in their European operations. Remove that, and a lot of companies are going to start sinking. Even the seemingly bulletproof EMC is putting out more cautiously worded communications. In EMC's July 5 preliminary quarter press release, Bill Teuber, EMC Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said,

"Clearly, the economic slowdown that began in the U.S. has now spread to virtually all international geographies, which were further impacted by a strong U.S. dollar. As a result, sales cycles have continued to elongate. We expect gross margins for the second quarter will be in the mid-40 percent range, reflecting several factors: lower sales volume than anticipated, customer incentive programs, and our competitive pricing actions. We will present further analysis of the factors impacting gross margins in our July 18 conference call." ...EMC profile
Clarity Technology

Tarantella Signs Clarity Technology as UK Distributor

Santa Cruz, CA and Warrington, UK - July 2, 2001 - Tarantella, Inc. has announced that e-infrastructure channel services organisation Clarity Technology, based in Warrington, UK has been appointed as an authorised distributor for all Tarantella products. Clarity Technology will resell Tarantella web-enabling and Internet infrastructure software solutions, primarily through the Sun channel, to UK-based resellers.
Tarantella Enterprise 3 software, the first non-intrusive application and data centralisation solution, helps regain control of complex IT environments. Tarantella Enterprise 3 software leverages an organisation's existing infrastructure and architecture and -- without changing a single line of code -- simplifies management and reduces infrastructure costs, offering immediate gains in productivity and organic scalability.

Tarantella Enterprise 3 software speeds the deployment of Windows, Java, mainframe, AS/400, Linux and UNIX based systems and applications to client devices globally. The proven web-based solution effortlessly scales to accommodate rapid corporate change, technological advancement and expanding remote access needs. Tarantella has received the Sun Tone Certification and is a member of the iPlanet ISV Partner Program.
Clarity Technology works with leading e-infrastructure vendors, who have 'best of breed' products and solutions, and their reseller communities, helping to develop channels and routes to market. The company is a Sun Channel Development Partner with established channels for both Sun and iPlanet.

Clarity Technology intends to build on this platform by leveraging existing relationships and recruiting new VARs who have the potential to incrementally grow the Tarantella UK business.

"The Tarantella solution is highly complementary to Clarity Technology's existing Sun offering," said John Unsworth, Clarity Technology managing director. "We are delighted to be working with Tarantella, who we see as the market leader in its field. By forming this relationship, Tarantella is ideally placed to take advantage of our extensive experience in channel development and management, but also utilise our specialist demand creation and marketing facilities."

Steve Raby, Partner Sales Director, Sun Microsystems UK, commented: "Clarity has a deep understanding of the enterprise technology market, and I know they will use this knowledge to drive and develop the Tarantella channel in the UK. The relationship also brings benefits for Sun, giving our channel access to the Tarantella innovative technology and solutions." ...Clarity Technology profile, ...Tarantella

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