Solaris News, Views, and Real-World Experiences from the Field

CEC Day 1

Scott Dickson
Enterprise Systems Architect
Each day at the CEC start with general session, presentations from the leaders and executives at Sun. This gives all of us the opportunity to hear what is the execs are saying to customers and what they are up to. This morning, we started out with our hosts, Dr. Jim Baty, CTO of the Client Solutions organization, and Hal Stern, CTO of Client Network Services.
Next up, Bob MacRitchie, Executive VP of Global Sales, and Marissa Peterson, EVP for Client Network Services, gave us an update on the state of the union from their vantage point.
The highlight of the morning was a very open and candid question and answer session with Jonathan Schwartz. Someone wrote in a blog not to long ago, and I aplogize for forgetting the author, that one of the really great things about being at Sun is the freedom to speak your mind and ask the tough questions up and down the line. The group of folks here at the CEC are the engineers who are with customers every day, who see the ultimate effects of decisions made at the top levels of the company. And this group is anything but shy. Jonathan gave us a very brief talk about where he sees Sun, what the company's priorities are, and where we are going. Then, in a move not many company presidents would do, he opened the floor to an hour of honest question and answer in a room filled with 3000 opinionated engineers.
Jonathan met every question head on. He didn't dodge or discount anyone's opinion. In fact, he often amplified the feelings expresses, saying that he had hear that same issue from other people, from other customers. And he validated people's feelings, letting us know that he has had many of the same frustrations as we in the field face. He talked honestly about what has gone into many difficult decisions over the last few years. He talked honestly about where we and our produces have been and where we are going.
I've been at Sun for a long time, and it's things like this that keep me here and keep me excited and optimistic about being at Sun. I'm as opinionated as the next guy, and I have my own ideas about what's good and bad at Sun, but when our top executives talk to us honestly, it really makes me glad to be here.
Break Out Sessions
The big problem at the CEC is the fact that there are so many sessions that look like they will be really good and so little time. You have to pick and choose carefully. You have to move quickly and be aggressive to get into the most exciting talks. I tried to get into the talk on Sun's new Update Manager, the new mechanism for delivering patches and system updates. But every seat, every spot along the wall was filled and another dozen people were crowded around the door trying to hear the talk. I guess I have to get the slides for that on.
I got to hear Claire Giordano talk about Open Solaris and all that we are doing there. This is a talk I have heard before, but I find it valuable to hear the conversation around Open Solaris. After all in the open source world, it often is as much about the conversation as it is about the source. As soon as Claire's talk was over, the doors burst open and hundreds of folks rushed in to try to get seats. Turns out the next presentation in that room was Andy Bechtolsheim, Sun badge number 1. Everyone wants to hear what he is up to.
Next up was Grand Holland and Ed Turner, a couple of local Atlanta guys, talking about a project they have been working on called Service Configuration and Deployment Engine. This is a pretty cool effort to glue together packages and processes in the deployment and management of services and servers. I mostly wanted to see this since I've loaned a rack of gear in the Atlanta lab to Grant's team and I've wondered what they are doing. It's always fun to hear these guys. Grant is so wicked smart, and someone always asks a question that sets him to thinking of a whole new set of opportunities, that it's always a good show.
The last talk I saw on Saturday was about the Solaris on x86 boot process. Like many sessions, this was packed. Everyone knows all about how SPARC systems boot, but many of us are just becoming familiar with the ins and outs of BIOS and x86 boot process.
For the last session of the day, it was time for me to give my talk on BART. I had a pretty good crowd, but certainly not SRO. BART is the basic audit & reporting tool in Solaris 10. It's a simple tool that allows you to detect any changed files on a system.
Pretty full day for sure.

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