Monday Apr 13, 2009

Saving Over Oracle with GlassFish ESB -- A real case study

I just spent some time reviewing what Pretium Telecom did with GlassFish ESB and their business results. Pretium Telecom is a large provider of fixed telephony in the Netherlands. The company’s 130 employees provide traditional, low-cost services to over 200,000 customers.

So what were their business benefits of using GlassFish over Oracle?

  • Accelerated development cycles by 40%–50%
  • Cut the total cost of ownership by approximately 50%
  • Gained the ability to launch a new VoIP offering three months earlier than projected
These are amazing results, but I can't say we were too shocked. Our TCO calculator might give you some insight into what you can save. On a 20 socket machine supporting 5,000 employees Oracle cost about $8M, whereas GlassFish ESB comes in at $2M.

Perhaps you are in the same place as Pertium and want to save millions, but are not sure about whether Open Source and GlassFish ESB is ready for prime time. I recommend you download GlassFish ESB and give it a try and hopefully you can be our next success story. I think Ruud de Greef, Chief Information Officer, at Pretium Telecom, says it the best:
“ In the past, we were suspicious of open source for business deployments, but there has been a big change in open-source technologies over the last couple of years. Products like GlassFish ESB and GlassFish Enterprise Server deliver a professional and reliable environment to base your business processes on. ”

Read more on Pretium Telecom here.

Sunday Apr 05, 2009

The problem with Proprietary Middleware Stacks

There is a great saying that it took a long time to invent the wheel, but replicating it is easy! I think the main challenge with proprietary stacks is exactly this -- paying for a business model on a wheel that in its day was revolutionary, but today is old and not effective. Does your car still drive on a granite wheel -- didn't think so! The open source "wheel" has taken the best designs from the proprietary world and enhanced them, and in doing so created some great new solutions at lower costs.

What I am not suggesting is rip-and-replace! But I am suggesting you look at your whole application needs and see when open source alternatives like GlassFish will work.We have seen some really interesting cost savings by using GlassFish over the proprietary alternatives -- savings of up to $3M in some instances.

 Now before you think that open source is just for those hot web 2.0 garage startups.. consider that T-Mobile is using GlassFish with some great results.

"High availability allows us to meet our stringent uptime requirements and the Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server enables us to cost-effectively deploy new services while meeting our performance and availability requirements," said Erez Yarkoni, vice president, T-Mobile, USA.

The other issue to consider with proprietary vendors is lock-in. Basically for the proprietary vendor lock-in is key to success. With lock-in they become a sole source vendor for your needs and they can charge what they like -- and may have!

The combination of high-cost, proprietary products and vendor lock-in frequently constrains businesses from embarking on new software initiatives -- something that customers I speak to can't afford to have happen.

Additionally, the capital expenditures and associated financial risk required to deploy proprietary products can either delay the profitability gains of new software initiatives or simply prevent enterprises from attempting innovative ideas to drive new revenue streams.

For example, proprietary products from BEA Systems/Oracle are far more expensive to acquire than open-source alternatives and don't offer enterprise developers the flexibility to customize to fit the business' changing needs. Although developers can submit feedback, the cycle of development is long and, with a limited number of engineers working on the software, new features and updates are delivered much more slowly than in open source.

To ensure that problems can be addressed as quickly as possible and to reduce operational costs, enterprises can chose a comprehensive open-source platform backed by an established commercial entity that provides support and understands the interdependencies not only of that platform but of other third-party products that are already in the enterprise's IT infrastructure.

 I invite you to share your story, or read other stories from real users:

Friday Apr 03, 2009

Open Source and the Enterprise

I keep hearing from customers that I visit that cost is becoming (or has become) THE issue to deal with in 2009. More and more of these customers (and they are the large enterprises) are opening the dialog with "How do we save by using Open Source?" It is amazing that just 3-6 months ago open source was a hit and miss topic, but now it seems to be firmly in the mainstream. 

Most enterprises that are considering open-source software typically want the best product from the different categories to make up a complete Web application platform: a Web server (like Apache), an application server (like GlassFish or JBoss), scripting (like PHP and Ruby), an Enterprise Service Bus (like OpenESB or MuleSource) and a portal (like LifeRay). Adopting this approach has some significant benefits but also presents its own challenges:

  • Cost/time to integrate the disparate projects together
  • Ability to effectively patch and maintain the disparate projects
  • Support of the product if/when problems arise and who can provide a fix for the product to address business critical issues

I would love to year how you are trying to handle these challenges. I know my colleges working with the proprietary vendors have decided to declare open source more expensive than proprietary, but I find that argument nonsensical. 

I promise to publish any results here as well as how we are trying to solve this at Sun. Our approach might surprise you.. more to come...

Wednesday Aug 20, 2008

Oracle Fusion Increase Prices 40% for SOA -- Does that make sense?

Many customers and prospects I speak to today have a similar problem.. how to get the best ROI of 20% of IT spend. After all the other 80% goes to maintenance of existing systems.

The challenge is huge since the business is looking to IT to drive strategic business value and increase revenue to the company by either creating offerings that increase revenue per use (ARPU) or drive the business into new areas that result in more subscribers.

Now some proprietary software vendors have put the added squeeze on customers by arbitrarily increasing software license costs (Oracle just increased their Fusion costs  by over 40%) with no additional value add. This is absolutely amazing since there is ZERO new value just a huge increase in cost. For those customers looking for other options I recommend you try our TCO calculator at to see what Sun can save you by just changing your software vendor. In addition we promise no stupid software audits and if you decide to change you hardware topology go ahead.. again no additional costs!

Here at Sun we are about providing real business return for you by only charging you for the value we add. So if you are wanting to save over $6M on your software costs for SOA register for our SOA offering and see how much return you can create for your business.


Wednesday Jul 23, 2008

OpenSSO Huge Customer Demand

Enterprise software customers are increasingly choosing open source software because it gives them greater flexibility, access to cutting-edge technology and faster time to market. Over the past year and a half, we've seen tremendous interest and participation in the OpenSSO community from hundreds of companies around the world.

Based on customer feedback from Medavie Blue Cross, Alcatel-Lucent, and others we have been feverishly working to create OpenSSO Express, basically a completely supported and indemnified product from Sun from the OpenSSO base. Give it a try and let me know how well it meets your needs.

What is LAMP?

We have been having a lot of interesting internal debates about what to call our new offering in the LAMP space -- see release: Sun Microsystems Unveils Enterprise AMP Stack.

As we all know LAMP started off as being (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) but if I use Ruby am I suddenly not a LAMP developer am I a LAMR developer? Or if I use Apache, MySQL and PHP on Windows, am I a WAMP developer? And what do I call it if I use Progress, or Python, or ?

Internally we often call our Solaris stack SAMP, but again it just seems strange that for each variant we have another 4 letter acronym.

So what should we have called our offering?  Basically we are supporting Apache, MySQL and PHP on Linux, Solaris and Windows.


Friday Jun 27, 2008

How to save $2.76 Million USD

We have been working really hard at creating a compelling offering for customers that want to be freed from proprietary database and application server vendors that are arbitrarily raising their prices. We have just announced a New GlassFish and MySQL Offering that gives unlimited usage based on the number of employees in an organization. If you have not heard the news listen to a recap here, or read the full press release here.

For a typical customer with under 1,000 employees running application servers on 20 dual-CPU, dual-core x86 servers and running database servers on 10 dual-CPU, dual-core x86 servers, the three year total cost of ownership (TCO) for proprietary software will exceed $3 million USD. The three year TCO for GlassFish and MySQL Unlimited for this same configuration is just $240,000 USD – a savings of over $2.76 million USD. For details on the comparison see

At last a solution that doesn't require you call your software vendor if you decide to add database instances, or deploy on more machines, or change hardware configuration, or ...

Check out the site and let me know how much your company will save.

Monday May 12, 2008

Are you an Identity Hero?

Do you have what it takes? Do you really think that you can beat the Sarbox monster? We know that the real world is ripe with real identity thieves and villians, but we also know that you will enjoy the game online before deploying a real identity solution to your enterprise.

Enjoy, and let us know how you do! 

Thursday Apr 24, 2008

Latest news on the Fedlet

Thursday Apr 10, 2008

CIO Priorities 2008

I was reading Larry Dignan's blog on ZDNet this morning and the found the discussion on what Business are expecting from their IT really interesting.

This really mirrors what I have been hearing from our customers around cutting costs, but at the same time attracting and retaining customers. Quite a tough act to follow since fixing business processes, and attracting and retaining customers probably are on the "increase cost" side of the equation. So then how do these CIO's reduce cost?

Speaking to our customers they are looking at Sun to create disruptive technologies that allow them to reduce costs while providing increased functionality -- one tough requirement to follow. We continually innovate to make this requirement a reality. Consider Java Enterprise System -- where we take a complete pre-integrated middleware stack and price it on a per-employee basis -- yes, no machines to count, sockets to count, etc. -- Disruption of pricing models. Or consider our GlassFish Application Server -- where we provide a complete Java EE application server that is freely deployable.

So if you like the CIO's cited in Gartner's study are trying to reduce costs but gain and retain new customers, I recommend you consider Sun's portfolio.

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

Congratulations -- New OpenOffice Website...

Office BannerI have been meaning to blog about this for a while, but if you have not been to the new website, you really need to go there and see the complete redesign of the page. It is absolutely amazing!

Gone is all the clutter and tons of words, replaced by a simple page that really draws the audience in.

I wish more web pages were build upon this simple premise that home pages are gateways that need to draw the audience in and provide simple navigation to the pertinent information.

Congratulations again to the community redesigned 

Monday Mar 10, 2008


I have just returned after spending 3 fantastic days at our Customer Advisory Council, in Florida. Let me start by saying how humbled I was that very senior executives would take 3 days out of their excruciating schedule to be away from family and their jobs to meet with us. Thanks just doesn't do justice to the gratitude and respect we at Sun have for these invaluable customers.

We covered a lot in these 3 days, from product roadmaps and tactical plans to strategic directions and portfolio gaps. We had some really frank discussions that cannot be captured in this blog, but I thought it might be interesting to discuss the trends I saw at this meeting...

  • Open Source -- Every customer is committed to open source, not because of any religious zeal, but rather that this is the way that adoption occurs. They see, like Sun does, that open source is a means to an end. By open sourcing products it increases their adoption by users, partners and perhaps more significantly for this audience by service providers that will be doing more and more coding. It really is about building a robust and thriving community that will increase adoption and knowledge of the product. For the customer this is key to them finding resources that know and can use the product.
  • Paying for Open Source -- every customer at the CAC without exception wanted to pay for the open source offering for support. Not for simple "brake-fix" support, but for patch support and indemnification. They saw Sun standing behind the product and being there 24x7 to help them with any problem they had as a huge value add.   This was additional proof that the open source strategy that we at Sun have embarked upon is the winning strategy. Those vendors who ignore the open source trend will be left behind polishing that proverbial proprietary apple till it is rotten inside.
  • Offshore Development -- another interested trend. Most of the customers used offshore development for coding. They either used Sun's, another service provider or their own skilled resources as architects for their product, but they used or wanted to use "cheaper" resources for coding.
  • Information Risk Management -- every customer had either already deployed or where in the process of deploying an identity solution. The acquisition that we just did of Vaau was particularly interesting on how that bolsters Sun's leadership position in the Governance Risk and Compliance Arena.
  • Consolidation -- most of the customers were in the process of consolidating data centers to simplify operations and reduce costs. Sun's new xVM strategy was very interesting since it allows not just consolidation but increased utilization.
  • Service Oriented Architecture -- All customers had embarked down a SOA route, but few viewed this as a technology issue. They really viewed it as a new way of development (or perhaps a new discipline that created reusable services) The hype of SOA had not influenced their development, indeed some of them had not even implemented an Enterprise Service Bus (like OpenESB) but were ensuring that point to point SOA integration occurred. Others had gone further down the SOA route, but only when there was distinct business benefit.
  • Buying Stacks not Point Products -- Another interesting trend that again validates Sun's strategy is that most of these customers were sold on Sun's products to fix a particular problem, be it Single Sign-on, Identity Management, Single Customer View and the like, but they bought into Sun's application infrastructure they purchased Java Enterprise System (JES). The JES model and philosophy of simple pricing, the sum is greater than the parts, and complete stack is what made the deal.
  • Vendor Assessment=Replacement! -- Some vendors go into their customers and make them spend endless hours and resources documenting where software is being used and how many licenses they are bough. They are really like vultures hoping that they can extract a few more dollars from their customer base. Luckily at Sun we don't do this, and it was this exact practice that inspired the JES model of simple subscription pricing. What was enlightening is that as soon as a vendor starts this assessment the customer looks for ways to replace them. Why waste time with a "vulture vendor"

There was much more that we learned from this invaluable event, but unfortunately a lot of it cannot be shared on a public blog, but rest assured that the advice and direction given will find it into our products and our strategy... Thanks again to our customers for giving us the opportunity to listen.

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Apple joining Sun, Google, IBM, ....

I am eagerly awaiting Apple's next version of their OS, codenamed Leopard. I am not sure I will use all the new features, like spaces and time machine, but I will give it a try! The one feature that I wasn't expecting (and didn't even know about until I read Erwin's blog) was that Apple is joining nearly the whole industry in supporting Open Document Format ODF.

This is quite amazing. Your documents now can be stored in one format that can be edited and modified by a variety of vendor products, across a variety of platforms. Goodbye to those old proprietary formats that forced you to pay a tax (they call it a licensing fee) to open and modify YOUR document. It is now possible to create a document in Google Docs, edit if off-line with StarOffice (part of Google Pack) and send it to one set of colleagues to work on on the Mac. Then take it to work and use Lotus Symphony to make some edits before distributing it to your Linux friends using Now for those of you still in Microsoft Office, we have a great ODF plug-in that allows you to work on this same document in Microsoft Office, or how about downloading and taking it for a spin?

Welcome Apple to the fold..


Wednesday Oct 10, 2007

Saving $10K for college

I am amazed with all the savings plans for college that more parents aren't getting OpenOffice for their kids, it way beats any other savings program I have found!

If you do some pretty simple math, using the spreadsheet functionality inside of OpenOffice the results are amazing. For the purpose of the analysis, lets assume that instead of buying Microsoft Office (about $400 on not including shipping and handling) you took that money and invested it at a rate of 10% per annum. In addition instead of upgrading every 3 years to the next release you took that money and put it into the same savings account. After 20 years what would that money have grown to? You are not going to believe this... Yes just shy of $10K!! Check out the math...

Upgrade Cost
Savings Account
0 400
3 400 $932.40
6 400 $1,641.02
9 400 $2,584.20
12 400 $3,839.57
15 400 $5,510.47
18 400 $7,734.44


Now this doesn't take into account inflation where the cost for upgrades will continue to go up! So do the math... FREE beats proprietary and closed any day! If you are already a student download OpenOffice and save your parents some serious money!


Thursday Oct 04, 2007

Why would you market anything but OpenOffice?

I have been sitting on the sidelines too long now and wondering how and when to start blogging. OK, so I procrastinated for ever! So here we go...

I am a marketing guy so perhaps my views differ from the deep technologists out there, but there are basically two options when it comes to office productivity --  Pay for it, and have little or no control, or get it free and have the ability to influence the community on where the product goes. The choice seems simple to me -- OpenOffice it is!

I personally think that this product is the gold standard for a consumer friendly product that has grown up under the FOSS mantra. Now don't get me wrong, there are things I don't like about the product, but overall this product is just wonderful. It makes perfect sense to me why IBM joined, they can now be associated with the movement away from proprietary technology to open standards (ODF) based offerings. Similarly when Google started bundling StarOffice (Basically OpenOffice) into the Google Pack it just seemed -- DUH naturally they would do it! What else would come close? I am sure it didn't take the marketing groups at Google or IBM long to decide:
   "Hmmm should we go with OpenOffice,  errr um... urrr.."

So please tell me why Novell is going about trying to discredit OpenOffice.. I just don't get it. Simon has an excellent blog on this, and Jim too goes to great lengths to tell the world what Sun is doing. But, to me the fundamental question is really a marketing one. Does a company want to go it alone (bad idea!) or be part of a bigger movement? You marketing guys at Novell.. can you at least explain to Mr Meeks that this doesn't help Novell?




Musings from Mark Herring at Sun...


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