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McNealy Gives Up the CEO Hot Seat at Sun

Editor:- April 25, 2006 - according to industry reports Scott McNealy has indeed, finally resigned his post as CEO of Sun Microsystems.

The new CEO will be Jonathan Schwartz.

Sun says that McNealy will focus his efforts on Sun's government and academic relationships globally, as well as expand his role with key strategic partner relationships. McNealy will also assume the role of chairman of Sun Federal Inc., which focuses exclusively on U.S. government business.

Although McNealy's stubbornness and single minded determination to focus on SPARC were significant assets to Sun in the period 1987 to 1998 - when the company was establishing itself as a supremo server company, those qualities meant that the company was slow in reacting to changes in the market, and in particular the growing power of Intel Architecture processors, and threats and opportunities posed by alternative operating systems. McNealy's clouded market views and poor judgement were masked by the windfall of the dotcom boom era which benefited Sun until its own revenue crashed in 2001.

There is little cause for most Sun VARs or OEMs to mourn McNealy's overdue exit from the CEO slot which the SPARC Product Directory first advocated 5 years ago. In an article published last year I chronicled the main culls of SPARC Compatible OEMs and their causes from 1997 onwards.

As we've reported in these pages, Sun shareholders too, have had many reasons to question why after the IT recession of 2001 to 2003, Sun's rivals managed to return to double digit server revenue growth while Sun's own server business maintained a steady decline.

But unlike Ken Olsen (DEC's founder) who stayed at the wheel far too long, steering his company on the wrong course - there are still realistic prospects that McNealy's departure, while overdue, is not terminally late for Sun. There is still time for Sun to grow its server revenue. I outlined these prospects in an article 2 years ago in which I described the unique opportunities posed by the merging of server architectures with high speed storage accelerators.

If Sun's new CEO fails to recognize these exciting new market challenges and opportunities - we'll have someone new to blame.

Other commentators have suggested that the timing of McNealy's downshift is related to Sun's quarterly results announced yesterday. Sun reported that its "revenue had increased by 21%" compared to the same quarter last year. But if you take into account the contribution from acquired StorageTek's revenue - then the revenue growth for the sum of the parts is nearly exactly zero per cent according to my reckoning. That's not too bad for acquisitions as a whole. Less good, however, was the $217 million loss.

Benchmarked against other leading storage companies and against other leading server companies Sun currently looks like a loser. But looks can be deceptive. Another interpretation is that the company is at a pivotal point where it can benefit from its new storage footprint and new SPARC chips, and that it has the potential to outperform the rest of the rat pack. Which way the coin falls will depend on whether its new CEO can take the bold steps necessary to capitalize on its SPARC / Solaris/ storage assets.

See also:- a good article which includes a graphical representation of Sun's many screwball business plans, nutty marketing strategies, turnarounds and restarts on Ars Technica

More Rumors Re McNealy's Future

Editor:- April 21, 2006 - an article in The Mercury News today is one of many published this week speculatig that Scott McNealy may relinquish the CEO slot at Sun.

This kind of speculation is not new. I published an article Time for changes at the top in Sun? in May 2001 suggesting he should go.

I don't think it will make much difference now to the company either way. Its future is looking brighter as a born again storage company - although Sun will still have to work through several more bad quarters.

Sun Announces Progress on UltraSPARC T2

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - April 12, 2006 - Sun Microsystems Inc. today announced the tape-out completion of its next generation UltraSPARC T2 processor.

Sun says the UltraSPARC T2 processor is on-track to be delivered in new systems in the second half of 2007 and will deliver twice the performance of current UltraSPARC T1 processor-based systems. ...Sun profile

Editor's comments:- in the mid 1990s Sun's SPARC Technology Business which sold its SPARC chips and motherboards promised that SPARC would always be about twice as fast as competing Intel Architecture processors. Sun failed to deliver on that pledge which is one of the reasons it lost server market share in the early 2000s. With today's announcement Sun is signaling to customers and potential oem partners that it is working on a next generation SPARC chip and not just coasting along with the T1. But it will take deeds not just rhetoric to convince doubters that Sun is really back in this race.

Dataram Releases First-to-Market 8GB Upgrade for Sun Ultra 40

Princeton, NJ - April 11, 2006 - Dataram Corp today announced the release of a first-to-market 8GB memory upgrade for Sun Microsystems Ultra 40 Workstation.

Dataram also released cost effective 2 and 4GB memory upgrades for the Ultra 40 Workstation. Dataram's new DRSU40/8GB, DRSU40/4GB and DRSU40/2GB are immediately available. The Ultra 40 has 4 DIMM slots per processor and with Dataram's unique DRSU40/8GB provides 32GB of memory, twice the amount available with the use of Suns current memory options. ...Dataram profile, Sun Compatible Memory

Sun Shaves Headcount in Server Business

Editor:- April 7, 2006 - a report today on says Sun is laying off 7% of its high-end server group.

Sun Launches New Telco SPARC Blade

CTIA Wireless Conference, Las Vegas, Nev - April 5, 2006 - Sun Microsystems, Inc. today introduced its new carrier-grade blade server family for use in the telecoms market .

New products include:
  • the Netra CT900 blade server (a highly-reliable, 12U/14 slot ATCA blade server)
  • the Netra CP3010 blade (a dual UltraSPARC IIIi processor-based ATCA blade) and
  • the Netra CP3020 blade (claimed to be the industry's first Dual-Core Opteron based ATCA blade).
Sun's Netra ATCA blade server will offer a choice of carrier grade operating systems - Solaris 10 and MontaVista Linux Carrier Grade Edition. ...Sun profile, compact PCI SPARC SBCs

Editor's comments:- the telecoms market is Sun's largest single vertical market segment. In case you're wondering why Sun doesn't call its CP3010 a SPARCblade - the answer is that's a trademark of Continuous Computing.

Dell Says No to Solaris x86 Inside its Servers

Editor:- April 4, 2006 - an article on says Dell has no plans to support Solaris x86 on its servers.

Like other major Intel Architecture oems it appears that Dell is skeptical about whether the miniscule amount of incremental revenue from Solaris would be worthwhile. See also:- Surviving the Solaris x86 Wars
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McNealy Gives Up the CEO Hot Seat at Sun

More Rumors Re McNealy's Future

Sun Announces Progress on UltraSPARC T2

Dataram Releases 8GB Upgrade for Sun Ultra 40

Sun Shaves Headcount in Server Business

Sun Launches New Telco SPARC Blade

Dell Says No to Solaris x86 Inside its Servers

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Texas Memory Systems
SSD Industry Articles and Bookmarks - #4 of 100 - March 16, 2009

suggested by - Woody Hutsell, President Texas Memory Systems
Here's an article written by or about Texas Memory Systems

Flash SSD Reliability (pdf)

Woody Hutsell says he chose this article because Flash reliability is a topic of great interest right now, and this paper approaches the subject in a unique and very readable manner, starting at the chip level and working up through the board level all the way to the enterprise architecture perspective.

Other SSD article suggestions...

Woody Hutsell says - "As you know, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) started a new group last summer, called the Solid State Storage Initiative (SSSI). This new organization has the ambitious goal of becoming a major advocacy group for solid state storage. SSSI is starting to publish research papers on solid state storage topics. The first one, Solid State Storage 101 (pdf), is interesting for the fact that it is the outcome of a collaboration between many companies who, in most other settings, would be serious competitors."

Other SSD bookmark suggestions...

StatspackAnalyzer - is a website where IT professionals can paste their Oracle statspacks or AWR reports and get analyses and recommendations for storage performance improvements. (It's free to use but registration is required.)

Woody Hutsell says he recommends this bookmark because - "A key ingredient to greater SSD adoption is a better understanding within the user communities of just how important storage performance is to mission success. isn't a large website, but it does have some information, a forum, and even the entire Analyzer rules list available for comment and improvement."

Editor:- thanks Woody for sharing your SSD links.

see also:- Texas Memory Systems - editor mentions on
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