Tuesday Apr 10, 2007

Heading Home

Well, I'm now on my way back to the Bay Area after a whirlwind trip to Colorado.  It was great to see the team here.  It had been to long.  The demo of the new Asset Manager functionality in Sun Connection was killer.  Administrators trying to get a handle on of our their hardware and software inventory are going to love it.  The UI on the discovery wizard and the L&F of the management tools are still rough, but the key functionality is there.  I think in the next couple of weeks we'll be ready to start talking about this a little more publicly and I'll start to post some screen shots and more in depth descriptions.

Thanks to everyone in Broomfield for hosting me (even for this short trip), and special thank to Jan and the team for the great demo. 

Monday Apr 09, 2007

Heading for Colorado

I'm headed out this evening for a quick trip to Colorado.  It's been a few months since my last visit to the Broomfield campus, so it will be great to see everyone there.  I'm having several meetings while I'm there, but the most interesting part will surely be my meeting with the team building the next-gen Sun Connection user interface.  In particular, I'm excited to see the progress on the UI for the new Sun Connection Asset Manager.  This app will allow customer to better track their Sun assets (hardware and software).  It's slated to be ready to go end of next month.  Can't wait!

Tuesday Apr 03, 2007

Sun MC on x64

I've been talking to Harish Arora in our Bangalore development office about what the team has planned for Sun MC 4.0.  I'll drop some hints about new features here over the next few months as we get closer to the release.  The first one that seems to be catching people's attention is the Sun MC will (FINALLY!) support x86/x64 systems.  In fact, it'll be able to monitor any system that supports ILOM and IPMI.  Here's a screen shot to give you a taste.


Wednesday Mar 28, 2007

The POD People Strike Back

Last November I wrote a blog entry about POD.  POD is really a little-known internal system at Sun, but it's the critical back-end for Sun Connection, Sun Solve and many other services.  In fact, it's one of our most critical systems in servicing customers.  Thousands of unique patches are downloaded millions of times through POD each year.

As I described in November, while POD is an important system, we found there were some critical single points of failure.  Since then the team has been implementing an overhaul of this system.  The new version of the system is faster, more robust and much simpler.  This week, the executed the cut-over to the new version of POD.  The upgrade was flawless -- despite the complexity of the system and the systems which depend on it.  The upgrade was planned to take 3 days, but completed 1 day ahead of schedule.  The impact to customers was less than one hour while SunSolve switched over to the new version.

My thanks go out to folks most directly involved in the upgrade:

  • Derk Norton
  • Slim Heilpern
  • Darcy O'Connor
  • Jan Birkelund
  • Melvin Dong
  • Janet Bacon
  • Darl Kuhn
  • Laurie Bourgeois
  • Glenn Glazer
  • Simon Ip
  • Philippe Nave
  • Mike Tanaka

Also, special thanks to the teams that handled the upgrade of the dependant systems:

  • Michael Sims
  • Bill Donaher
  • Sivashanthan Sivapalan
  • Mohan Shanmugavelu
  • Rob Peterson
  • Shannon Molloy
  • Mike Rose
  • Ashley Towers
  • John Cantalupo
  • Jeff Giedt
  • David Dixon
  • Kristian Jones

This was an amazing team effort.

Thursday Mar 15, 2007

Wrapping up the Executive Advisory Council

We've finished up the meeting of Sun's customer Executive Advisory Council for the Asia-Pacific region.  It was a great meeting.  We got a lot of good feedback from the customers who attended.  Also, getting to hang out with Scott McNealy is always fun. 

When you drag your biggest customers off to a remote location to pick their brains, you have to show them a little appreciation.  Here's a video clip of our "fun activity."

Sunday Mar 11, 2007

Heading for New Zealand

This evening I'm headed for New Zealand.  Sun's holding an Executive Advisory Council meeting for important customers in the Asia-Pacific area.  I'll be meeting Scott McNealy and several other Sun executives there and we'll be hosting customers from India, Japan, Australia and many other countries.  This is the first time I've been to one of these meetings so I'm looking forward to seeing how it works.  I'm going as the representative for Software at Sun.

We'll see if I get a chance to post any entries this week.  Otherwise, I'll post a report when I get back.

Tuesday Mar 06, 2007

Celebrating at the India Engineering Center

Avinash just sent me some pictures from Harish.  Harish is the engineering Director that leads the SysNet team in India.  The team just had a celebration for the Indian festival of Holi.  Looks like the team had a good time.



Wednesday Feb 28, 2007

Two Sides of Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a hot buzz word, but I find there are people who mean two distinct things when they talk about it.  These are:

  1. Rich Web Experience
  2. User Generated Content

These both have parts to play in the world of next-gen web apps.  As a guy who used to work on rich internet applications I find the technology fascinating.  One of the guys working on on the next-gen UI for our systems management tools showed me some of the components they're using.  They're rather spiffy AJAX components that allow for a lot of dynamic presentation that used to require much fatter clients.  You can check out some of the components here.

On the other hand, a lot of the power of the next gen web is about allowing the applications themselves to be enhanced by their users.  YouTube is just a video streaming service from a technology point of view (and not a very good one really).  However, in truth it's a broadcasting platform that allows anyone to run a TV station or a movie studio.  System administrators are really smart people and have deep knowledge that they like to share.  How do we make Sun Connection a platform for sharing within the System Administrator community?  That's a key question for the next step in our evolution.

Tuesday Feb 27, 2007

Sun Reinventing Itself?

There is an interesting article over at InfoWorld on the occasion of Sun's 25th anniversary.  While you can make your own judgements about some of his theories on the current state of the market, I really like how he connects Virtualization, Greg P's "Redshift" and Chip Multi-threading.  Clearly this guy is carefully watching what we're doing.

Our team is getting involved in some early RedShift projects. One of the largest of these is the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).  This is one of the world's largest super computing projects and it's the kind of scale we think will be common in the future.  With the work we're doing to handle managing systems like this we'll have a big leg up on tackling the next generation of computing projects.

In the first phase of the project we'll be installing the forthcoming N1SM 1.3.3 release.  As we move closer to production we're planning to add forthcoming Sun Connection 2.0 to the mix.  The account team has promised I can come down to Austin and visit.  I'm looking forward to it.

Friday Feb 23, 2007

Sun Server Surge

My favorite writer over at The Register just published an article about Gartner's report on server sales.  Well worth a read (and funny too).  Sun really kicked-butt, gaining marketing share in 2006.  I can't wait to see the 2007 report!

Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.


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