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Sun, SPARC, Solaris news - 2002, May weeks 3 - 4

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Sun Microsystems Sun Maintains Number One Position in Worldwide UNIX Marketshare

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - May 30, 2002 - Sun Microsystems has bolstered its total market position and extended its lead in the UNIX® market where it remains number one while the competition has remained flat or seen a decrease in server marketshare sequentially from 4Q01, according to the 1Q02 Gartner Dataquest Worldwide server quarterly statistics database.

Gartner Dataquest reports that Sun maintains the lead in UNIX marketshare worldwide in terms of both shipments and revenue for 1Q02. With 56% marketshare in shipments, Sun gained 6.2 marketshare percentage points year-over-year and 5.5 points sequentially, while its top three competitors posted declines. In the US, Sun shipped more UNIX systems than all of its competitors combined.

Editor's comments:- This is old news for many of our readers, because we first ran this story 4 weeks ago, from the original Gartner press release. I said at the time I was surprised that Sun didn't make more of a song and dance about its 6.7% year on year growth in US server shipments.

If you're wondering why your SUNW shares haven't shot up recently on this news, it's because the "Unix market share" results are completely meaningless in the real world. All Sun's Unix market share numbers look great, until you look at the underlying numbers and see that Sun's worldwide server shipments actually dropped 1%. Unix is a small part of the total server market nowadays.
Sun Maintains Number One Position in Worldwide UNIX Marketshare

Themis Computer Selects Tracan Electronics to Sell Themis' Ruggedized COTS Servers and Single-Board Computer Solutions throughout Canada

Adtron Packs 120 GBytes into a Single 6U cPCI Slot

Dot Hill Signs Agreement with Sun Microsystems

New Article by M-Systems Explains the Differences in Various Solid State Disk Technologies Used for Rugged Applications

Sun Contributes to SNIA's Project 'Bluefin'

Sun Microsystems Announces Solaris 9 Operating Environment

Inside the Bunker: Red Herring Interviews Sun's CEO Scott McNealy

VA Software Reports Improved Results For Third Fiscal Quarter, 2002

XIOtech Launches NAS

Sun Microsystems Still Gunning for IBM Mainframe Users

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Sometimes research can help you avoid going down a dead end, mused Megabyte. Luckily his niece Killerbyte came to the rescue with a quick getaway plan.

View from the Hill

Should Sun Rename All its Products in Line with the New Reorganization Thinking?

May 2002 - Sun Microsystems has recently come out of deep-thought mode and made sweeping changes to a whole bunch of things. In case you've missed them, here's a quick summary:

  • Sun is going to do Linux, like all those other computer companies which use those "Intel Inside" chips.
  • Sun has renamed most of its forgetable software products. So all those applications you couldn't remember before are now called "Sun" plus "something". Remembering half the name is better than remembering none. But wait a minute! Solaris, which was previously called SunOS, is still called Solaris. Now there's a flaw in the naming convention which no one else seems to have spotted yet.
  • Sun is making changes at the the top of the organization to bring in vitally needed new blood. So when Ed Zander retires, Scott McNealy will step in as President. Meanwhile Carly Fiorina, who is suspected of working for Sun as a double agent, will, for the time being, stay under cover in her job at HP.
  • Sun Microsystems has started up a marketing organization. Most start-ups have one in place before they do their IPO, but this is a sign of maturity in the 20 year old Sun, that it can learn from benchmarking the best practise of other organizations. I think some management consultants may have been involved here, possibly the clever ones which split off from Anderson and became called something with an accent which I can't reproduce on this keyboard, long before the Enron fiasco made it an even better idea.

Now, I know that many influential people in Sun, read the SPARC Product Directory, and look for new business ideas in these columns. So here are a few free suggestions guys and gals for the next few steps to take, while Dell is still drooling about taking over Compaq's PC and server business, and while HP does a deja vu in acquisition a la HP acquiring Apollo, and Compaq acquiring DEC. (There's a lot of foreign words in there, but I'm sure you take my point, and we do have some European readers who we want to feel comfortable here.) The strategic ideas below are not in any particular order, and are freely contributed in the spirit of open source/ open systems to be used whenever the circumstances seem appropriate / desperate.

  • Good idea #1 - rename all the "SPARC chips" to "Sun chips". So the "UltraSPARC 4" would become the "SunCPU 1". That will make it easier for all your younger customers whose memories don't stretch back far enough into all that exciting SPARC stuff in the 1980's. It will also be compatible with all the new "Sun" plus "something else" naming conventions.

    Now I realise there is a small problem here, because other companies, most notably Fujitsu also make SPARC chips, and they may cry "foul". But let's be honest, they also do a lot of that "Intel Inside" stuff. So they aren't as totally committed to the Sun success idea as Sun. But I've thought of a way around this problem as well. In the spirit of complete and utter equality, you can agree to let them call their chips, the "FujitsuCPU" family. No one could object to that, could they? And it will be a lot clearer for all end-users... Now there is a slight flaw with this plan if we look at Sun's other idea of expanding into the Intel Server market. I forgot to mention that one above, but it is true. I didn't make it up. The grit in the ointment here is that I don't think Intel will agree to Sun renaming its Pentium processors, just because they happen to be operating inside a Sun server. But that's where "thinking outside the box" becomes important.

    Sun could market the new Intel based servers as "Sun Outside."

    Eureka! I don't claim any royalty fees for that idea either.
  • Good idea #2 - concerns another software product which again seems to have missed the first round of software renaming, and we all know I'm talking about that coffee stuff. Now I've never been a great fan of Java, partly because the hype in the early days seemed to go a little bit too far when Sun's dumb terminal was named the JavaStation. Let's just admit that I was wrong, a lot of people do actually use Java, but actually on PCs. The dumb terminal idea was just, well, dumb... The problem with Java is that Sun doesn't get enough credit for the idea. So let's just rename "Java" to "Sun C" or Sun/PL (Sun Programming Language) and start all over.
  • Good idea #3 - a long time ago Sun used to feature a dog in its ads. That made the company seem a lot more friendly and approachable. So think about introducing a new animal into all Sun's ads. But not a mouse... Mice have already been done. Otherwise people may mistakenly think that Sun is a storage company.
Azzurri is Europe's fastest growing technical disti
Azzurri Technology Systems Integration Division is a provider of specialist systems integration solutions to high technology customers and is a Sun Microsystems Authorized Value Added Integrator, specializing in systems solutions utilizing Sun's UltraSPARC technology.

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Themis Computer
. "Themis Computer's highly successful UltraSPARC-based servers and single-board computers are excellent solutions for our customer's demanding applications", stated Eric Loit, Chief Operating Officer of Tracan Electronics. "Their single-board computers and servers provide high performance and reliability, under conditions where others quit. We look forward to bringing Themis innovative solutions to our telecommunications and high technology customers".

"I am pleased that Tracan Electronics has elected to join our family of system integration and service providers," stated William E. Kehret, president of Themis Computer. "Our Packet-Switched-Bus compliant USPIIe-cPCI single-board computer provides Tracan customers new networking flexibility, along with Sun Microsystems hardware and software compatibility."
Themis Computer Selects Tracan Electronics to Sell Themis' Ruggedized COTS Servers and Single-Board Computer Solutions throughout Canada

FREMONT, California - May 29, 2002 - Themis Computer announced the selection of Tracan Electronics to sell its UltraSPARC-based Ruggedized Enterprise Servers and VMEbus single board computers to telecom, communications and industrial customers in Canada. Established in 1974, Tracan is headquartered in Toronto, and has sales offices in Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary. Tracan also has a wholly owned subsidiary Tramark Electronics, which services British Columbia.

Since its inception, Tracan has supplied system solutions for a wide variety of applications, including the Canadian space program and diverse high technology industries such as communications, Telecommunications medical, aerospace, and automotive.

Primarily a solutions partner for diverse technology-based companies, Tracan provides its customers high technical value-add - consulting, training and custom design services. These essential competencies enable Tracan to deliver cost effective COTS solutions from system design and specification through hardware and software integration. ...Themis Computer profile, ...Tracan Electronics

See also:- Azzurri Technology, the UK VAR for Themis products
. "Adtron developed the SC6H specifically to meet the capacity requirements and cost sensitivity of commercial cPCI applications. This model combines two low cost standard IDE hard disk drives into one SCSI logical unit to deliver high capacity and to take advantage of the SCSI storage support built into real-time operating systems. This approach makes it very easy to install, update and maintain a cPCI-based storage subsystem," says Alan Fitzgerald, President of Adtron.
Adtron Packs 120 GBytes into a Single 6U cPCI Slot

PHOENIX, AZ. - May 28, 2002 - Adtron Corporation introduces the highest capacity hard disk storage subsystem available on a single slot cPCI 6U plug-in card. The card provides direct attached storage for real-time applications, including factory automation, test and measurement, and control system computing platforms operating in environments that permit the use of hard disk drives. Product model SC6H integrates a SCSI controller with boot BIOS ROM and up to 120 GBytes of hard disk storage on a single cPCI card.

The SC6H SCSI-based subsystem may be configured for operation either through the cPCI bus using the onboard SCSI controller with boot BIOS ROM, or through the system SCSI host via J5 as an ultra-wide LVD or SE SCSI peripheral. Simple installation and single slot size eliminates external drive mounting brackets and cabling, thereby increasing overall system integrity. OEM pricing for an 80 GByte system is $1,200. Lead time is stock to eight weeks ARO. ...Adtron profile
Dot Hill

Sun Microsystems
. "This is an extremely important opportunity for Dot Hill and we are obviously very pleased to have been selected by Sun," said Jim Lambert, Dot Hill's chief executive officer. "While the contract does not guarantee any minimum purchase amounts and we cannot say when customer shipments will begin, we expect it to have a positive impact on our business and financial results."
Dot Hill Signs Agreement with Sun Microsystems

CARLSBAD, Calif.- May 28, 2002 - Dot Hill Systems Corp. today announced it has entered into a multi-year product purchase agreement with Sun Microsystems, Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Dot Hill will produce and private label certain products for Sun. As part of the relationship, Dot Hill will issue warrants to Sun, providing Sun with the opportunity to own roughly 5% of the outstanding common shares of Dot Hill. ...Dot Hill profile

Editor's comments:- Jim Lambert's associations with Sun and the Sun market go back more than 10 years, in fact to before Dot Hill was formed in 1999, through the merger of the SBus manufacturer Artecon, Inc. (which he founded in 1984 ) and the tape storage company Box Hill Systems Corp.

Artecon used to manufacturer a range of SBus products including the SMARTbox SBus slot expansion systems. The formal alignment with Sun in today's announcement is a natural progression. The Sun market has always been an important factor for the company.
M-Systems New Article by M-Systems Explains the Differences in Various Solid State Disk Technologies Used for Rugged Applications

May 28, 2002 - a new article by M-Systems was published today on, called "Rugged & Reliable Data Storage: Solid-State Flash Disks (F-SSD) overview".

All solid state disks are not created equal and it's important to understand the wear out and stress factors which may limit the operational life of these products when used in military environments. However, when used correctly they may typically outlast a winchester drive by a factor of about 3 times. In smaller storage capacities the SSD takes up less space, is lighter, uses less power, runs faster and quieter.... and may in fact cost less than the alternatives. ...M-Systems profile

Megabyte's Storage Glossary
Sometimes Megabyte wasn't sure if he understood the true meaning of all the words he was reading.
Sun Contributes to SNIA's Project 'Bluefin'

Mountain View, CA - May 22, 2002 - The Storage Networking Industry Association is pleased to announce today that it has received an offer of a substantial new contribution of technology aimed at advancing standards-based SAN Management by a group of storage industry vendors.

The contributors have developed a draft specification that applies CIM/WBEM object technology to create the basis of a complete management solution for interoperable, multi-vendor SANs. The specification, code-named 'Bluefin', employs technology from the Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) initiative that uses the Managed Object Format (MOF) to describe system resources based on a Common Information Model (CIM). Bluefin introduces new technology for security, locking, and discovery for SAN management.

By contributing the specification the contributors seek to leverage the technical workgroup and marketing resources of the SNIA to complete and extend the Bluefin work.

The contributing companies are: BMC Software, Brocade Communications Systems, Computer Associates, Dell Computer, EMC, Emulex, Gadzoox Networks, HP, Hitachi, IBM, JNI, Prisa Networks, QLogic, StorageTek, Sun Microsystems, and VERITAS Software. ...SNIA profile
Sun Microsystems
. "Solaris 9 OE is out in front and pulling away," said Scott McNealy, chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems. "The industry's premiere Operating Environment for the enterprise just got better, giving developers the richest industrial strength platform for application delivery. Solaris 9 OE provides users with the most reliable, scalable, secure, and manageable operating environment today, and now we're converging it with critical areas of Java[tm] technology and XML middleware to extend the platform for even faster deployment. All still done in an open, standards-based world. As the UNIX market evolves and continues to expand through Solaris, Linux and the Mac OS X, we see a massive uptake in demand for the kind of operating environment partners can build on with confidence. Solaris 9 OE just helped extend that confidence even further."
Sun Microsystems Announces Solaris 9 Operating Environment

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - May 22, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced the shipping of the Solaris 9 Operating Environment.

Solaris 9 OE changes the market for operating environments by raising the bar on what it means to be a modern network services platform - building services based on Web technologies. Solaris 9 OE also helps customers reduce costs and risks by making applications easier to deploy and manage. The Solaris OE is the foundation for Sun Open Net Environment (Sun ONE), the integration of Sun's award winning portfolio of software products.

Editor's comments:- there's a huge amount of stuff about this on Sun's web site. Here's a quick executive summary.
  • it's better...
  • it's guaranteed to run all your old Solaris applications.
Red Herring

Sun Microsystems
Inside the Bunker: Red Herring Interviews Sun's CEO Scott McNealy

May 22, 2002 - An interview with Scott McNealy, published in the June edition of Red Herring magazine provides a clear insight into the isolationist bunker mentality that has been guiding the company. (Unfortunately the magazine doesn't have this article on their web site yet, so you'll have to find a print copy.)

The interviewers, Justin Hibbard and Blaise Zerega inadvertantly (or very cleverly) managed to get Sun's CEO to reveal his dark side in an article which was both shocking and entertaining. Although the interview took place in March, you come away with the impression that light from the outside rarely intrudes this sanctum.

On the negative side, we get direct confirmation, of what we've presumed for years: that Sun is still in denial about the whole Wintel paradigm. But I was shocked to learn McNealy's view that any company which does not design its own processor chips and write its own operating systems isn't a real computer company. Dell is written off as a "reseller" for Intel and Microsoft, and therefore doesn't figure in Sun's view of the competitive universe.

On the Linux issue, that's dismissed by McNealy, because Sun already has a Unix, i.e. Solaris, which is better. (Not mentioned in the interview is that in January Sun scared a lot of users by taking away its Solaris 86 ball, and saying it wasn't going to come out and play any more. There's nothing to stop the same thing happening to Solaris on SPARC, if for example Sun folds or gets acquired. No one wants to be in hock to a single company if they can avoid it, and that's why it's inevitable that Linux will replace Solaris, unless Sun releases the code into the open source community.)

On the plus side, Sun is investing more into product development, and is looking for customers outside the depressed telco, financial services and dotcom markets, which previously represented 60% of its business. Another positive in the interview, is that Sun apparently still thinks that its reseller channel is important. That's cited as a reason that Sun needs to maintain high margins.

McNealy's thinking revealed in this interview is redolent of Ken Olsen (the founder of DEC). Although Unix was first developed on DEC hardware, the company couldn't really see why anyone would want that in preference to the VMS operating system. In an interview with Mr. Olsen in 1988 on the role of PC's he said "But we still believe that most people in an organization want terminals." -That's a quote which would not look out of place (14 years later) sitting in a Sun press release of today. Let's hope history does not repeat itself.
VA Software VA Software Reports Improved Results For Third Fiscal Quarter, 2002

FREMONT, CA - May 21, 2002 - VA Software Corporation (Nasdaq: LNUX), provider of the SourceForge™ collaborative software development platform, today announced results for its third fiscal quarter of 2002, beating analyst expectations for revenue, net loss and cash usage.

Third quarter revenue totaled $5.1 million, compared to third quarter fiscal 2001 total revenue of $20.3 million. Total revenue for the nine months ended April 27, 2002 was $15.8 million, compared to $118.9 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2001.

On a total reported basis, the third quarter loss was $7.7 million, or $0.15 per share, showing significant improvement compared to last year's third quarter total reported loss of $109.7 million, or $2.21 per share. For the nine months ended April 27, 2002, total reported results were a net loss of $72.3 million, or $1.37 per share compared to the first nine months of fiscal 2001 net loss of $235.2 million, or $4.93 per share. ...VA Software profile

Editor's comments:- This was the company which a few years ago was going to take on Sun, EMC etc. The tone of this press release reminds me of the scene at the end of the Monty Python film, Life of Brian, where they all start singing "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". If you're whistling this tune to yourself, you may want to download the audio from the previous link.
XIOtech XIOtech Launches NAS

Eden Prairie, Minn.- May 20, 2002 - XIOtech Corporation, a SAN pioneer, today announced its NAS offering. XIOtech's MAGNITUDE hardware platform can now be deployed as a storage foundation for both NAS and SAN environments, delivering unsurpassed flexibility and simplicity to end-uses. Using an integrated model for a complete storage foundation provides greater benefits than simply being locked into one approach. Whatever storage model companies choose, SAN, NAS, IP storage, XIOtech's virtualized architecture provides an effective networked storage foundation for the future, allowing organizations the necessary flexibility to adjust to business conditions, regardless of the network plumbing attached to it.

XIOtech has already announced a solution connecting the MAGNITUDE hardware platform to an Ethernet network to serve as a NAS device, using VERITAS ServPoint™ NAS for Solaris 8. Later this quarter it will also announce a NAS solution with Novell. ...Xiotech profile
Sun Microsystems Sun Microsystems Still Gunning for IBM Mainframe Users

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - May 16, 2002 - in a press release today Sun reaffirmed that it is now targeting IBM's midrange capacity mainframe customers. The mid-market mainframe represents a potential $1 billion opportunity that Sun intends to lead with its Sun Fire Midframe server family.

"Last quarter, Sun shipped over four times more MIPS than IBM." said Shahin Khan, chief competitive officer, Sun Microsystems. "Since IBM is the only vendor of mainframes, they have been raising prices on captive mainframe customers and paying less attention to customers with small or mid-size mainframes. Through this 'Blue Away' initiative, Sun is offering a tried, tested and more cost-effective solution."

Editor's comments:- with a new marketing organization and memories of last year's technical problems fading, Sun seems more confident about going back to its happy hunting grounds. Sun's "Blue Away" initiative, which can be worth 10% on a trade-in, would not have worked so well a year ago, when IBM mainframe customers might have asked "Where's the cache?"

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