Friday Oct 22, 2010

End of File

In 1997, I decided to come join the kernel team at Sun Microsystems because I was eager to work on Solaris-- the best operating system on the planet. I was very privileged to work on some incredible technology over many years with some of the most talented engineers in the industry. Our work culminated in Solaris 10, the most innovative release of Solaris ever to that point, and what I think will be remembered for all time as a huge leap in operating system technology and the idea of what an OS can do.

In 2005, five years ago this week, I decided with a few friends that it was time to take the core technology in Solaris and take it in a decidedly different direction, into storage. For nearly three years, with our team of engineers and new ideas, we worked to create what became the ZFS Storage product line for Sun and now Oracle. After its launch, this core team and a growing organization took ZFS Storage from infancy to maturity, culminating in an announcement at Oracle Open World 2010 of our second-generation product line.

What began as a mere $2.1M incremental engineering investment for 2.8 years has now shipped more than 100 petabytes, more than 6000 systems, and 100X in revenue. And we redefined the Unified Storage category: first with enterprise flash, first with a Flash Hybrid Storage Pool, first with Analytics, first with triple-parity RAID, first with IB, FC, and 10GbE simultaneously, first with 6Gb SAS end-to-end, first with 5T of read cache, first with a 32-core controller. With the team working to enhance the product even further, it will be an incredible part of a growing storage portfolio at Oracle, combined with leading software to manage data, and uniquely interoperate with Solaris 11 and new OS innovations.

For me, the past five years has been an amazing experience, leading me to many places I never imagined. (Example: after being in my first management role at Sun for about 3 weeks, I was told to report to a small team of senior people at IBM to explain much of Sun to them since they were pondering buying the company.) I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

But my heart is still in engineering, and in being a new dad to my beautiful daughter, and so for me my two-year career as VP of Storage and Solaris is at an end. I am resigning because my effort on behalf of my team to bring ZFS Storage to maturity and to success and a strong position at its new company in a real storage org is now done: we made it. From outside, as a fan, I will be waiting eagerly to see what the team will accomplish next.

For all of my friends, colleagues, and mentors at Sun and Oracle, of whom there are simply too many amazing people to name, thank you. And for everyone who worked for me these last two years, thank you for your support, your dedication, and your patience.

My cell phone hasn’t changed, but my e-mail has: mike dot w dot shapiro at gmail dot com. So keep in touch. The inbox will be decidedly smaller so I’ll probably respond faster too.

-Mike


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