Monday Sep 28, 2009

My Last Product Release at Sun !

This week we will start shipping Comms Suite 7. 

While on the surface it may appear to be just another release or an upgrade, it really isn't – at least not to me.  It's probably my last product release after 25 years at Sun.

A number of years ago, Rich Green, my then boss and a person I admire a great deal, asked me "to see what I could do" with a group called the Comms team.  Most people at Sun didn't even know what these folks did!

The truth is that over the years Sun had assembled an outstanding collection of software and a team to build an amazing Suite of products that people could use to communicate with each other (Mail, Messaging, Calendar, Address book and Admin).  The other amazing fact was that the product supported 100's of millions of mailboxes and was the clear leader among ISPs globally!

As you take on any new team or product, the first thing you do is figure out where you are strong and where you are weak.  This one was pretty easy: the message server, message store and IM server rocked the planet! The team was the best in the WORLD!  On the other hand, due to forces outside the team's control, the client and calendar were hurting. (I'll just leave it at that.)

The next step was to hit the road and talk to the customers.  What I found was a loyal customer base begging for some product improvements.

After that Lee Camel, Micky Choudhary, Anil Srivastava, Neal Thomison and I sat down and started to brainstorm what was needed.  From those discussions, and after a number of cuts and a lot of pain (I will spare you), the Comms Suite 7 release is born! 

We knew we had to expand the message server but at the same time we needed to build a new Calendar server and a killer user experience for everyone on everything!  That is why we selected two really key technologies: Ajax and CalDAV/CarDAV!  Even today I still believe those where the right decisions and I know they are at the core of what makes this release so special!  The team then went to work to build the product that we start shipping this week.

If you take a serious look at Sun's Comms Suite 7 what you are going to find is a software package that delivers Scale, Security, Availability and Usability, like nothing else in this industry. 

The new UI works well on everything out of the box, including the iPhone, and is very, very fast!  Ajax is really great for speed and compatibility!  The new CalDAV server is just amazing, it is without a doubt the most scalable, and compatible server in the industry today.  I have been using it myself for close to a year. My admin made the switch in less than 30 minutes with no training and loves this calendar.  (For those of you who don't know, when you build a calendar product, it had better work for administrators! In my case, when Lynn is happy we ship!) 

Oh and BTW, it works with Apple's products out of the box!!  My iPhone loves it!!  I should mention that we put a new manager on this with a very small team. We took some risks that I have to say paid off big time (Asavari you did a GREAT job!!). 

Also, I have blogged about Convergence before (http://blogs.sun.com/jpblog/entry/comms_suite_6_ships) and that team has knocked the ball out of the park!  Ask any of our users!  I use it every day and love it!  Did I mention SCALABLE !!

Oh, Oh wait! I totally forgot to mention search and indexing!  In Comms Suite 7 you are going to see search and indexing that will blow you away!!  At the same time we were doing all the other stuff, we had a team (a really great team) headed by one of our best development managers (Liqun Wang) go off and see what they could do with indexing and search!  They killed it by building a horizontally scalable Java based search and indexing engine with which they then built interfaces to the message store.  This is one you have to see to believe. It is fast...very, very fast!  Also the beauty of the Convergence UI makes it work without you learning anything new!!

So I hope this little behind the scenes look into Comms Suite 7 helps you appreciate why I am so proud of the team, the technology and the product.  I am sad that this is my last release at Sun, but I am totally happy to give this one to our loyal customers.  Special thanks to an amazing team of engineers, managers, marketing people, and a few very special sales people that made this happen!!

COMMS SUITE 7 KICKS BUTT!!!

If I have to have a last release @ Sun, I am super proud that Comms Suite 7 is that release!!




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