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SPARC History - 2002, December weeks 2 - 4

the Top #10 SPARC Systems Companies
Chewing over ths storage market in 2002
Everyone's bashing Sun. So will SPARC survive?

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Sun vs Microsoft Windows Must Include Java - Rules Judge in Antitrust Ruling

Editor:- December 24, 2002 - just when you thought that nothing would be happening in the run up to the holidays, an important ruling has been made in the Sun versus Microsoft legal saga which has been widely reported in the brodcast media today. Although there was no mention of this news on Sun's or Microsoft's web sites this morning. A report in USA TODAY gives more details. If upheld, this could provide a back door for Sun to load applications into every PC desktop.
Windows Must Include Java - Rules Judge in Antitrust Ruling

Sun Embraces InfiniBand for Next-Generation Data Center

NTI's Catalog Features First USB Matrix KVM Switch!

Sun to Help DoD Develop High Productivity Computing Systems

Winfessor brings .NET Instant Messaging Tools to Solaris

Top 10 Storage Software Companies 2002/3

SPARC based PRIMEPOWER is fastest 8 way Oracle server

Novell Nabs 1,500 Sun ONE Customers in Just Over a Month

Sun and Computerworld Launch Awards Program

earlier news - archive
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Megabyte found that SCSI was a safe and reliable way to connect between storage systems.
Nibble: Is the External Disk Market Heading for a Crash?

wo recent market research reports got me questioning the validity of my own assumptions about the long term prospects for the that part of the storage industry which supplies disk based storage such as RAID, NAS, SAN etc. And I'm starting to feel a cold chill which has nothing to do with the seasonal weather.

First it was the December 6 news from IDC saying that worldwide disk storage systems factory revenue in the third quarter of 2002 was down 3% compared with the second quarter. "The failure to gain revenue momentum in Q3 is yet another indication that a rebound in the disk storage systems market is not imminent," said Charlotte Rancourt, research director of IDC's Disk Storage Systems program. "The third quarter is consistent with an emerging trend whereby growth in gigabyte per unit does not offset the unrelenting decline in dollar per gigabyte."

Then there was the December 10 report from Peripheral Research Corp saying that the demand for critical components for rigid disk drives hit a five-year low in 2002. "The industry has been on a 60-100% per year increase in areal densities, which by nature reduces the number of Magnetic Heads and Disks in each drive... The demand for Rigid Disk Drives has flattened out to about 195 million units per year for the past three years." This report went onto say that growth in demand for disk drives in consumer products would eventually lead to growth in overall disk shipments, but that doesn't affect the computer market which we're discussing here.

Let's recap on the two main reasons that so many computer companies flocked into the storage market in 2000 and 2001 during the recession in the PC and server market.

The first, was a widely held belief supported by direct experience, and codified in a widely publicised EMC sponsored research study saying that the demand for storage capacity would double every year. The second factor was the growth and profitability of EMC back in 2000. Both factors, taken together suggested to many oems, that here was a market which was ripe and growing, and in which there plenty of opportunity for efficient low cost producers to make higher profits than in the PC market by undercutting the fat dumb and happy market leaders. News travels fast in this wired world. So hundreds of companies had exactly the same idea.

But what if these assumptions are wrong? Or don't give the whole picture? What if an annual doubling in demand for disk storage doesn't actually lead to any increase in storage revenue? And what if an overcrowded market of EMC wannabes leads to the same fierce competition and pricing models seen in the PC market? That's good for users but spells ruin for many storage oems.

In the semiconductor world Moore's Law has reliably predicted the shrinking geometry of chip and the growing density of memory for 3 decades. There isn't an equivalent in the disk storage world. But looking back at the last 10 years, disk drive capacity has increased by a factor of 1,000, which means that on average it's doubled every year. So even if demand for storage is doubling, there's no compelling reason for the market to increase in value. In fact, if you take into account the new wave of intelligent archiving software from companies like Pegasus Disk Technologies there are optimistic grounds for believing that users will be able to keep a lid on runaway storage growth by using more compression and faster intelligent archiving based on data usage patterns.

If disk storage technology keeps improving, users could end up paying less for their storage networks in the long term, instead of more. Now there's an interesting thing to think about as we ponder what the new year may bring.

See also:- ...EMC profile, ...IDC profile, Market research, ...Peripheral Research profile
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Editor:- December 23, 2002 - I'd like to wish all our readers a Happy Holiday and a Prosperous New Year. We'll be back as usual in the first week of January, starting our 12th year as a publisher in the SPARC systems market, and our 7th year online on this web site.

Although the SPARC systems market has taken many hits in 2002, and faces strong competition from Linux and Wintel, it appears that new applications are emerging which, for now, no other platform does better. As ever, we'll be tracking these new changes, new products and new companies in these pages, and I very much hope that you'll be able to join us in the SPARC Product Directory. We'll also be continuing our monthly feature:- "Déjà viewing SPARC History" in which I try to relate past market events to what happened after. As the famous quote from George Santayana says - "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Thanks to all of you for using and recommending this publication. Without you readers, I wouldn't have this interesting job. I hope I can keep you interested and maybe sometimes entertained for another year and as long as there's a market for SPARC systems.

See you again soon. ...publisher profile
Sun Microsystems Sun Embraces InfiniBand Technology for Next-Generation Data Center

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - December 19, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced its intention to leverage InfiniBand technology in the build out of next-generation data center infrastructure. The company will incorporate the open interface standard into future server, software and storage products. Customers can benefit from the new high-speed technology's ability to integrate easily with their existing environments while providing improved application performance, scalability, resource utilization and management capabilities.

Sun plans to leverage InfiniBand technology in future server platforms, application environments, switches and storage. Future InfiniBand-based platforms are expected to include Sun's next-generation horizontally scalable blade servers expected in 2004 and future vertically scalable enterprise servers. Sun expects applications (such as databases, directories, applicaton servers, J2EE environments, ERP and CRM) running on these systems to show significantly improved performance. Sun also plans to integrate InfiniBand into storage virtualization and aggregation products and controllers. ...Sun Microsystems profile

See also:- article:- Centralizing Server I/O Infrastructure with InfiniBand, InfiniBand software & systems directory
Network Technologies NTI's 2002 Catalog Features First USB Matrix KVM Switch!

AURORA, OH - December 18, 2002 - Network Technologies Inc today announced availability of its new 2002 Product Catalog, featuring an extensive range of KVM (Keyboard-Video-Mouse) switches, splitters, and cabling for PC, PS/2, Sun, Macintosh, and Silicon Graphics systems. The NTI 2002 Catalog introduces several new product releases, and NTI's new family of brand names. It provides color photographs and clear, color-coded configuration & cable illustrations in eight color-coded sections.

Among the many products included of interest to Sun users are the new UNIMUX™ USB KVM Switch introduces multiple-user switchingfor USB-enabled PC, Sun and Mac computers! Up to eight users control up to 32 USB computers. Both this switch and the single-user UNIMUX USB KVM Switch feature NTI's patented USB autoboot technology, which allows users to boot all attached USB-enabled computers in one operation (other USB KVM switches require individual, sequential boot-up). Both switches provide flawless Sun compatibility (verified by Sun's independent test labs). ...Network Technologies profile
Sun Microsystems Sun to Help DoD Assess and Develop High Productivity Computing Systems

SANTA CLARA, CA - December 17, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc., today announced Sun has been awarded a 12-month contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the High Productivity Computing Systems (HPCS) program to assess and develop technology solutions to address future Department of Defense (DoD) high-performance requirements.

The goal of the HPCS program is to provide the next generation of high productivity computing systems, both hardware and software, to address future DoD high-performance requirements in a number of critical areas, including: weather and ocean forecasting; analysis of circulation patterns and the dispersal of airborne vectors; cryptanalysis; weapons, survivability and stealth design; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; virtual manufacturing and failure analysis; emerging biotechnology. ...Sun Microsystems profile

See also:- military SPARC systems, Military STORAGE
Winfessor Winfessor's SDK for XMPP and Jabber bring .NET Instant Messaging Tools to Linux, Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows CE, and Windows Pocket PC 2002

Sacramento, CA - December 16, 2002 - Winfessor, a software development firm specializing in universal collaboration tools, broadens their instant messaging offering with XMPP compliance and full cross platform interoperability by announcing their .NET Jabber SDK for Mono. Now .NET developers can build cross platform instant messaging applications that target Linux, Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, Windows CE, and Windows Pocket PC 2002. Winfessor's SDK also provides full support for creating applications using multiple languages including German, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Italian, and Chinese.

Winfessor's .NET Jabber SDK frees the developer from the detailed inner workings of the Jabber protocol by providing an additional layer that improves communication with Jabber. Developers new to the Jabber protocol can rapidly create robust instant messaging applications for both desktop and mobile environments. Mono support greatly increases the range of devices that can be targeted for instant messaging development using .NET. Winfessor's SDK provides interoperability with third party instant messaging applications from Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Microsoft MSN Messenger, and ICQ. The IETF is currently reviewing the Jabber protocol for standard approval. ...Winfessor
Storage Software Top 10 Storage Software Companies 2002/3

December 12, 2002 - today published the new edition of the "Top 10 Storage Software Companies" list and reference article. There are four new companies on the list, which is ranked by reader pageviews during the last 6 months.

"This is the definitive list of which storage software companies our 0.5 million readers are most interested in" said Zsolt Kerekes, editor of STORAGEsearch. "After our venture capital readers have digested this article, I expect a number of companies not mentioned in this list, to be put on the block for sale. The hardening of the top slots in two successive years shows that many well funded storage startups are not going to break through the glass ceiling and that the market is maturing at the same time as adapting to important new technology trends." ...article:- the Top 10 Storage Software Companies
. "We are seeing better Oracle performance since moving the workload to the PRIMEPOWER servers, and are extremely pleased with both the midrange and enterprise class servers," said Evan Jafa, chief technology officer for First American Real Estate Solutions, the nation's largest real estate information provider. "While First American Real Estate Solutions continues to expand its core business, line of products and growing data center, Fujitsu continues to deliver extremely reliable and scalable solutions."
SPARC based PRIMEPOWER is fastest 8 way Oracle server

Sunnyvale, CA - December 10, 2002 – Fujitsu Technology Solutions Inc. today announced best-in-class results in industry-leading benchmarks on its PRIMEPOWER™ 850 SPARC® compliant, Solaris™ compatible servers.

PRIMEPOWER 850 is now the top performing 8-way server running Oracle® applications that is currently shipping. The PRIMEPOWER 850 recently took first place in the latest Oracle Applications benchmark for 8-way servers with a superior average response time of 1.07 seconds and a top user count of 6272. The user count measures the number of concurrent Oracle applications users that the system can sustain while response times are kept under a pre-defined maximum value. This was the first ERP benchmark in an advanced real-world business environment using Direct Access Files System protocol.

This midrange server offers users higher system performance at a lower cost than comparably featured machines. Because the PRIMEPOWER 850 can be scaled up to 16 CPUs, customers can realize significant application growth and attain an outstanding price/performance ratio. This produces a lower total cost of ownership for users.

The PRIMEPOWER 850 is priced at $135,400 for an 8-way with 16GB of memory, and $194,600 for a 12-way with 24 GB of memory. ...Fujitsu Technology Solutions profile, ...Oracle profile
. "In our initial estimates, we expected to attract 40 to 50 customers over the life of this promotion," said Chris Stone, Novell vice chairman - Office of the CEO. "Instead, we've seen this phenomenal uptake - demonstrating that the industry at large recognizes Novell eDirectory and the secure identity management solutions it supports have no peer in the market."

"What's particularly interesting is that while we've had hundreds of Sun ONE customers take advantage of the offer, we've also had hundreds of Microsoft Active Directory customers sign up - without even explicitly targeting them," Stone said. "Clearly, customers are tired of being locked into ineffective, proprietary technology. Novell's cross-platform approach - allowing businesses to leverage Windows, NetWare®, Linux, AIX and Solaris systems - has definitely struck a chord."
Novell Nabs 1,500 Sun ONE Customers in Just Over a Month of New Marketing Program

PROVO, Utah - December 09, 2002 - Novell has scored a big win with an aggressive promotion around its market-leading directory software. Coinciding with the recent release of Novell® eDirectory™ 8.7, the company began offering Sun ONE/iPlanet Directory Server customers free licenses of eDirectory, to help them migrate to Novell's more stable and scalable directory service. For Novell, the uptake has exceeded all expectations: In just over one month, more than 1,500 competitive directory customers have signed up to take advantage of the offer.

Directory services, which simplify the management of user identities and access rights, are rapidly becoming an essential part of today's complex networks. By deploying eDirectory, companies lay the foundation for Novell Nsure™ secure identity management solutions. These solutions, which are available from Novell and many of its partners, help organizations cost-effectively deliver real-time, role-based resources to a distributed workforce, partners and customers from any location, while keeping their systems secure.

Sun ONE/iPlanet Directory Server customers who want to take advantage of the benefits of eDirectory should click here. ...Novell profile

Editor's comments:- at one time in the early 1990's Novell was the undisputed leader in the network operating system market. Then after a series of unfortunate changes in strategic direction the company almost became extinct. They've improved their marketing recently, although the link to the eDirectory benefits page given in the text of their original release didn't work... but I looked it up.
Sun Microsystems
. "Sun partner activities revolve around three goals: profitability for our iForce partners, simplification of Sun's business processes, and recognition for those business partners who invest in and grow their business with Sun," said Michael Walsh, director of marketing for Sun's U.S. partner management and sales organization. "The iForce Partner Excellence Awards give our partners yet another opportunity to tell their customers and prospects, 'We're the best, and here's proof.'"
Sun and Computerworld Launch Awards Program to Honor U.S Resellers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - December 9, 2002 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. will host the iForce Partner Excellence Awards, a new awards program co-sponsored by Computerworld to honor U.S. iForce partners who have excelled in providing quality products, innovative solutions and superior services to customers. The awards program is part of Sun's commitment to increase channel partner recognition, as well as help increase profitability. Partners and customers may submit entries online until January 31, 2003.

Winners will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 9, 2003, at the iForce Partner Summit in Orlando, Fla. ...Sun Microsystems profile

Editor's comments:- during the last year or so Sun has been learning a painful lesson from more successful mainframe competitors like IBM.

The lesson:- Services are a way to maintain revenue and profit even when hardware shipments slow down.

Unfortunately Sun is a lightweight in the services market and doesn't have the headcount to grow this business organically. So instead, Sun has publicly announced its strategy will be to leverage its VAR relationships to plug this gap, while at the same time developing productivity tools to increase the effectiveness of Sun sys admins. The iForce awards program can be viewed as an attempt by Sun to improve relations with its surviving battered channel partners, at a time when many of them must be wondering whether the Sun game is still worth the candle.

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