Wednesday Apr 04, 2007

Спасибо ЛУКОЙЛ-ИНФОРМ!

I was in Russia this week visiting a few of our customers and meeting with the team in Moscow. As with many of my visits, I once again found a Sun team that was energized and excited about their growing business. Thanks to Victor and Chris for hosting me!

One of the customers I met with this week was ЛУКОЙЛ-ИНФОРМ (Lucoil-Inform). Lucoil is one of the largest oil companies in Russia and they held a press conference announcing their success in putting their new ERP system into production. They invited Sun to attend the press conference and talk to the press about our technology, products and how we worked with Lucoil and SAP to deliver their solution. I included a picture from the event. There was a lot of discussion about the implementation, architecture and operation of Lucoil's data center. There was a great piece of video produced from the event showing the press conference and some video of Lucoil's data centers. Thanks to Mr. Alexander Pruzhinin and Lucoil for your business, a successful partnership and a great press conference.

If you can read Russian and want to know more, follow these links:

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Wednesday Feb 07, 2007

On the road again...

Yesterday I was in Frankfurt attending the German Systems Engineering kick off meeting. Klaus Hank (our German GSE Director) kicked off the meeting in which he said... Well I am not sure what he said as it was in German, but I am sure it was good. I followed Klaus and talked to the group about our success in the first half of the year and the plans for the second half, including early indications of our goals and intentions for FY08. I believe the chat was well received. At least the mood was good with the group and there seemed to be a general excitement about our future.

Germany was the first stop on a two city trip this week. Now I am in London for a few days of FY08 growth and strategy meetings. This is the start of a four week period in which I will be hitting 14 cities. For those playing along at home, the order is; Frankfurt, London, Denver, Paris, Madrid, Edinburgh, London, Amsterdam, Munich, Milan, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and Dubai. The good news is that on my stop in Denver for a few AIM, CEC and Customer Engineering meetings, I will be taking a week off to do some skiing in Vail.

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Peter Reiser also turned me on to a pretty cool new web 2.0 widget. The company is Plazes and it is a simple web widget that allows you to share your physical location and locate others. It is pretty cool and has all kinds of potential for future mashups. You can see it on the right side of my blog. It tracks your, or in this case, my current location around the world. So if you are really, and I mean really, board you can follow my 14 city tour over the coming weeks.

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Tuesday Jan 02, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth is trully an inconvenience...

Happy new year every one! I just got back from a great holiday break. I spent most of the break in Kitzbühel, Austria for a family holiday. Kitzbühel is a great little town and is a great place to ski. Well, normally it is a great place to ski. This year it has been far too warm for it to be good skiing.

If you have not seen An Inconvenient Truth yet, you should. The documentary stars former US Vice-President Al Gore and focuses on the impact of global warming. I consider myself a rather scientific person which usually means that I like to see as much evidence and data as possible before I form an opinion. I do realize that facts and data can be twisted to present whatever perception the author intends, much like the book State of Fear from Michael Crichton. However, I don't think anyone can really argue with reality. The reality is that the Alps is having its warmest year in over 1300 years, which of course means a total lack of snow.

Yes it was an inconvenience for my skiing trip, but that is nothing to what it could mean for everyone in the not too distant future. I am not trying wave my arms and say we are all doomed, but the debate over the years about global warming is becoming less of a debate and more of a simple reality.

As a fan of winter sports I would really hate to see places like Kitzbühel be turned into the next Flint, Michigan. The only difference would seem that Flint was ruined by a single industry vs. potentially ruining a planet by an entire species. Argue what you want, but I don't think that less pollution would be a bad thing, would it?

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Tuesday Dec 05, 2006

Ciao, Sun Ray!

Yesterday I flew into Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport to meet with our Italian team of Systems Engineers and Giacomo Tufano, the Italian SE manager. The flight was fine, no issues. I did however get a surprise when I had to pass through customs. No this is not another story about how travel went bad, rather when I handed my passport to the customs officer, I noticed something familiar.

That is right, they are using Sun Ray Virtual Display Clients! What better way for a security focused organization to be more secure. And at the same time they don't need to deal with the desk clutter, heat and noise that a PC would generate. Perfect!

So hats off to Polaria (Italian Airport Police Division). Glad to see that once again the Italians lead in what is fashionable, sleek and fast!

...and for those that thought I had enough guts to take a picture in the customs area, well you are wrong. When I made it to the office I asked Giacomo about the Sun Ray solution we provided and asked if they had any pictures...

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Wednesday Nov 22, 2006

10 Cities, 6 Weeks until Skiing...

I am in Madrid today. I am in the middle of a push to visit all of our EMEA markets by the end of the calendar year. In most cases I am meeting with the local teams, reviewing the business and understanding where we need to invest from a technical skills perspective. Do we have the right technical skills? Are we serving our customers is the best way possible? Are we balancing our capabilities between the technology and products of today vs. driving adoption for the technologies that will power the future? These are the questions that keep me up at night. Well that and I usually read my email late at night.

Here is my schedule:

  • Week of Nov. 13th in California for leadership meeting and Colorado for Customer Engineering Meeting
  • Week of Nov. 20th in Birmingham, England for EMEA Operations reviews, in Madrid for Iberia Systems Engineering review
  • Week of Nov. 27th in Paris for France Systems Engineering review and my staff meeting
  • Week of Dec. 4th in Rome for Italy Systems Engineering review
  • Week of Dec. 11th in Stockholm for Central and Northern Europe Systems Engineering review and then to California for a Customer Engineering Programs review and Team CTO meeting
  • Week of Dec. 18th in Munich for Germany Systems Engineering Review and Peter Ryan's staff meeting

So in a few weeks time and ten cities, I will be on my way to Austria for a needed holiday break. Some skiing, family time and rest.

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Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

Leadership and Dirtbikes

This week I attended our SMI leadership meeting in California. Now I could go on about all the positive things going on in Sun and how we are growing, have great technology and great customers, but I'm not going to. Rather I though what I would talk about briefly is what followed our leadership meeting. After my time in California, I got to take a mini-vacation and spend some time with my buddies doing what I love, riding dirt bikes.

Yes I got to spend a couple of days in and around Moab in Utah. The picture is me, really. I am riding along the slick rock trail in Moab. The other is Tom Berghoff and I at the head of the Hell's Revenge trail. The weather was great and it was not crowded at all. Great fun!

It was great to get away, relax, ride and then moan at night and the next mornings about the aches and pains.

Ohh and in case there are any riding fanatics out there, I ride a '04 KTM 300 EXC. Got to love the Austrians!




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Thursday Nov 09, 2006

Are you an immigrant?

I got to spend a few days in Cannes this week at the most famous event held each year in this great city. Well, OK, maybe it is not the most famous event held here, but it should be at least in the top 10. ...or 100. I attended the annual Gartner Symposium/ITExpo.

I had the chance to sit down and chat with a number of Gartner analysts to chat about Sun, technology and our industry. It is great to hear so many different perspectives, some that are in line with my thinking, some that needed a bit more convincing and some that needed have their "reset" button pushed. ;-) Two long days of interviews, meetings with customers and attending sessions and keynotes.

One of the keynotes that I enjoyed quite a bit was delivered by Peter Sondergaard. Peter is the SVP in charge of Research at Gartner. Peter talked about consumer driven IT and the "consumerization of IT". His main point was that more and more end users are influencing IT direction and playing a bigger part of deciding what is important. This is a fundamental shift that Peter sees, and I believe it to be 100% inline with some of the discussions I have had in the past year with CIOs and our customers.

Fundamentally users want more. More bandwidth, faster processing, more storage, etc. This is not so much different then the past, but the demand seems to be growing. Do you plan to store any less photos? Listen to any less music? The difference I believe is that users are becoming more and more aware of technology and its implications on their day to day lives. Ask any teenager. You will find that most teens have already integrated technology into their lives, from their mobile phones, to their community groups, blogs and instant messaging accounts. Proof is in one of the data points that Peter mentioned: 89% of teens use search as their first source of information. Mark Prensky (I believe the first to claim the term) called these people "Digital Natives". The opposite of this is the Digital Immigrants. I am a Digital Immigrant. Most likely you are as well, unless you are some teenager up at 3AM with nothing better to read then an immigrants blog. ;-)

I found many similarities between Peter's talk, Prensky's ideas and Sun's mission to create the technologies and fuel the communities that power the Participation Age. I am glad to see that others have caught on the these ideas as well. We are all playing our part in a much larger global stage, where by participation we all begin to close the huge gap in the global digital divide.

So all you Digital Immigrants, get out there and get to know the Natives and let's see if we can continue to drive the direction of our technology future.

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Wednesday Oct 18, 2006

A Shining Star close to Sun...

This week I found myself in London again presenting at a users conference. I like user gatherings. It is always a great chance to talk with people who are real users of technology and since they took time out of their schedule to attend a conference, they are usually pretty passionate about their jobs and the tools they use. This was not a Sun conference, rather one of our partners. It was the Proxima Technology's user conference. Proxima has a great product called Centauri which is essentially a piece of software that has the capability to turn data into information. We all know that there is too much data in the world and not enough information. Meaning that it is often hard to answer real questions with existing data.

If you could wake up and have a dashboard that gave you real insight into your world/buiness, what would be on it? That seems to be the first question the folks at Proxima ask. The point being, we should be able to measure real business processes and value in ways that business folks can understand, by using data sources, telemetry, etc that already exist.

I was speaking on the subject of "IT as a Service". The trends and activities taking place in our industry that are moving in the direction of expressing almost everything as a service. Be it software, computing capability, storage, etc - all moving in the direction of a service.

The names Proxima have chosen for their company and their product are rather interesting. If you don't know, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the sun. Which is interesting as Proxima is a great partner of Sun. Coincidence? You decide...

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