Saturday Feb 13, 2010

New Era

Finally Oracle could close the acquisition of Sun in late January. Here you can watch a series of webcasts recorded at a press conference the day of the CIC (Change in Control): “Oracle + Sun: Transforming the IT Industry”. A new era starts! I strongly believe that Oracle will be extremely successful in exactly doing that: transforming the IT Industry by delivering entire powerful systems that reduce TOC (Total Cost of Ownership). So I am very positive that the Sun brand will thrive at Oracle!

For Sun Microsystems employees this means honoring what we have achieved and then letting go of the past. If you have not yet read the mail from Scott McNealy thanking all Sun employees for 28 great years you can do this here, or go to the Tribute to Sun web page at http://thenetworkisthecomputer.com/! By the way also Oracle has a long history with the Network Computer as Wired described in the article “Oracle's lost Revolution”.

Integration of such a huge acquisition always means all hands on deck for Human Resources. We are currently working towards LEC (Legal Entity Close) for the first countries. It will take a few months to LEC all countries around the globe. The past two weeks were already very busy, an exciting time has started – a new era!

Also for this blog a new era has started. I went through all my entries and did a clean up to give the blog a clear focus on Human Resources topics and opened up two new categories, Enterprise 2.0 and Transformation where I put all change related topics, be it personal change in terms of leadership capabilities or organization change.


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Friday Oct 30, 2009

Oracle and Sun

I want to give an update on what is happening on the Sun/Oracle front since Oracle published the first advertisement in the Wall Street Journal beginning of September. There have been more very clear and strong public commitments to Sun since then expressed through Oracle's direct advertising in the Wall Street Journal and The Economist, joint partner announcements such as the Sun Oracle Database Machine, and most recently through compelling keynotes and announcements at Oracle OpenWorld.

You can also watch Scott McNealy’s keynote with Larry Ellison from Oracle OpenWorld here. This covers the commitment and strengths both companies bring to the table for customers. Scott details his pride in Sun and our employees’ great innovations, and Larry highlights the competitive power of the Sun/Oracle combination and proves that Oracle and Sun are faster than IBM.

But most importantly we got more definitive messaging on product plans. Have a look at this new overview and FAQ on the Oracle and Sun transaction that elaborates on product plans after the transaction closes and highlights the benefits that the combined companies expect to deliver, including each a paragraph on MySQL, OpenSource and OpenOffice! Make sure to regularly visit Sun.com/Oracle for further updates.

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Monday Sep 14, 2009

Bright Future for Sun

Great to see all the positive things happening these days in connection with our transition to Oracle. For example this product announcement which will be live webcasted tomorrow! Or Larry's ad from the front page of the Wall Street Journal last week which you find here below. Truly amazing!

Thursday Mar 19, 2009

Sun Cloud

Sun did some great announcements in the cloud space yesterday. What is a cloud or cloud computing? Watch this 4.51 min video and you know the concept. In case you never heard of virtualization you may want to spend another 5 min watching this prior to the above. Our strategy on Cloud Computing is very well described in this video by our Sr. VP Dave Douglas. You may also want to watch the recorded web cast from yesterday when we presented our Cloud concept at the CommunityOneEast Developer Conference in New York. We will be launching our Sun Cloud Storage Service and Sun Cloud Compute Service this summer!

One notion of the cloud is utility computing or what we called grid before, or call it network, using remote computing power on a needs basis. You do not own the hardware, you use power (CPU power in this context) over a data connection just the same as you use electricity or even the phone. You only take a phone in your hands, get a dial tone and start calling, not an awful lot of hardware in your house, no software to update. Wouldn't the same concept be nice for everything you do on a computer today? Just press a button and instantly have the network available to go look something up in the internet?

For me this is the future of computing not only for companies but also for each of us. I really dream of it mostly in those moments when I set up my computer again (usually takes hours to reconfigure everything), when I need to update software or store and backup my data. I really would love a provider do this for me in the most secure way, provide me with the latest software I need in this very moment, have a choice of applications that I could not all purchase myself for use a few times a year. I would be ready to pay a monthly subscription fee – absolutely yes.

Just think that you would never have to buy a computer again, which generally is a waste of money as 2-3 years afterwards you can throw it away and buy a new one. You have a thin client at home that simply does not need any updating and if so your provider just sends you a new one for free like they already do today for ADSL modems.

Already many years back Scott McNealy talked about what he was calling a “big friggin' Web Tone switch”. Still our motto today is “The Network is the Computer”. I really hope that I do not have to dream much more until this vision will really become true. With launching our grid a few years ago we were maybe a bit early but now the whole concept takes root as we see with Amazon Web Services' success.


Sunday Mar 08, 2009

Sunprise 2.0

Time to give an update. Lot of things happened. Sun announced a major restructuring back in November 2008 and I am very positive that we will come out of this as a much stronger company.

Although times are difficult we keep momentum with our Enterprise 2.0 strategy. It is really worth going to Peter's blog and have a look at what happened mainly with our internal collaboration tool SunSpace. Formerly the main users were our technical presales employees and it was known under the name CE 2.0. 100 days after launch in July 2008 we had a dramatic increase of registered users to 20000 Sun employees. Actually now we are at more than 25000 (which is more than 70% of all Sun employees). Sun Space is a socially-enabled community, part Facebook, part wiki, part forum and part document-sharing destination. It allows users to create their own social networks and profile pages, then join communities on a range of topics. But it is a lot more than these simple words can describe, a lot of interesting widgets and features, Peter described them extensively.

This is exactly the tool we are now using with our global HR Business Partner community. We created a place to share best practices in a structured way. In my opinion one of the most important things in our world of knowledge workers today. We developed an initial best practices taxonomy out of which someone posting a new practice needs to choose where to fit their own. Then a template helps to put some standard and structure around each of the practices posted which makes the process very easy. Finally attachments and/or links can be added.

The benefits really are obvious: enabling reuse of knowledge shortens our „time to client“, learning is fostered as is building our global community of HR Business Partners. We even have it in our job descriptions: „Collaborates across the function to effectively leverage in-house expertise in aid of solving client issues“. On top of all that people will learn to use new technologies! We are actually in the middle of rolling this out officially and starting to drive participation. I am just about to join the community leaders community....We're really taking a big step ahead in direction of HR 2.0!

Read this entry from Peter for a summary on Sun's Enterprise 2.0 activities. It is worth having a brief look at the white paper „The Estuary Effect“ which describes what we are doing from blogs, wikis, forums to socially enabled communities.

I also want to reference my former blog entries on the value of social networking for the enterprise and for HR (including a brief presentation) and Enterprise 2.0/HR 2.0.


Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Sun CEC 2007

Earlier this month we held Sun's annual Customer Engineering Conference (CEC) in Las Vegas. More than 4000 engineers attended, several hundred from our partners. Other than the opportunity for networking they had a choice of 200 technical breakout sessions to learn from others. Really an innovation this year were the parallel event on Second Life and the unconference and the speed geeking sessions. The unconference covered topics voted by the community via a wiki page until the last minute. During speed geeking several “geeks” sat each at a table and gave a 5 minute elevator pitch of an idea they had, after five minutes they gave the pitch to someone else. Nice way to hear interesting things.

The heart of CEC though were the main sessions on each of the three conference days. Contents was built around the theme SHIFT –Our Universe – Our World – Your Move.

Our Universe: CEC host Dan Berg introduced our new enhanced customer engineering web CE 2.0 with features of file sharing, building own communities (add your friends), voting, etc. Peter describes it in his blog. The most interesting thing really is how we measure contribution and participation. Each user gets a personalized overview where he/she stands in these terms via a dynamically updated community equity widget.

Jim Baty talked about “Redshift” referenced from the measure of the ever-increasing rate of the expansion of the universe. We have adopted this term to describe enterprises that are integrating the rapidly expanding, high-velocity change through network scale applications in their own universe. Like high performance computing, network services, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS), social networking and streaming content are paving the way for a new generation of network computing for our customers. Now it is all about us to make the shift to be ahead of them!

Our World: On Day 2 we had our CEO, Jonathan speak to the audience. I personally liked his presentation a lot, structured around our mission: for whom, in what and how! Just a partial insight on the “for whom”: customers who want to use IT as a weapon, who see their datacenters as an extension of their businesses, as a way to gain competitive advantage!

Also Dave Douglas our VP for Eco Responsibility gave an overview about our environmental efforts and I have to say not only our products get more and more energy efficient also the company in general is constantly reducing it's carbon footprint (we even opensourced the tools we used to assess, track and compare our energy performance on OpenEco.org!) And again let's make the shift to map our world of innovative eco-responsible technology to respond to market demand for green across the globe!

Then we had a product launch announcing our new Ultrasparc T2 Systems based on the new T2 processor still with 8 cores but compared to the T1 it is doubling the amount of threads it is able to handle in parallel to 64! We are talking about the first true system on a chip not speeding up through more Gigahertz power but through more multithreading capabilities! One of the main results: less energy consumption! (Product names are: Sun Blade T6320, Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120, Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220.)

Your Move: Our EVP Sales & Services Don Grantham was there on Day 3 to energize the audience to move ahead with continued pace to execute on our goals and targets. The technical sales force with it's creativity and new thinking will fuel our future growth, this was his conviction. He says that they are one of the main reasons we are winning against our competitors. Don honored this by announcing that he has already signed the contract to do CEC again next year, again in Las Vegas!

If you are a Sun Employee go to the CE 2.0 session page where you can watch the videos of the main sessions. Finally have some fun watching this video featuring Dan and Jim.

Tuesday May 22, 2007

The Winning Strategy

Time to write about open source again! Jonathan wrote a blog entry which is commented by a reader being the most concise explanation for the open source strategy of Sun. He picks up on Microsoft claiming that free software like Linux violates more than 200 of its patents.

I already referred to the Microsoft Novell announcement concerning the SUSE Linux distribution that was from that day positioned as the only secure Linux (means safe from litigation in terms of violating Microsoft patents) on the planet by Microsoft due to Novell paying royalties to Microsoft.

As Jonathan puts it: “no amount of fear can stop the rise of free media, or free software” which is proven again by the results of a survey published by Forrester Research some time ago: Open Source Software’s Expanding Role in the Enterprises” subtitled “Companies Adopt Open Source as Standard.”

486 IT Managers participated in the survey, 50% already using open source software and amongst those another 50% for mission critical applications.  Use OpenOffice.org Saving licensing cost is not the major argument for using free software, most IT Managers are appreciating the support of open standards, the use without any restrictions and not being locked in. The possibility of adapting the application to own needs and gaining efficiencies with internal processes is another key argument. In regards of the service expectations software maintenance, lifecycle support and integration with other software components are at the top of the wish list.

Our open source strategy is really paying off! Some time ago everyone really wondered how we could make money giving all the software away for free. Now we are seeing increasing revenue based on subscriptions. And as we see above the services piece should not be underestimated. No company would deploy a critical application without being sure to get the support they need! So basically we are securing our position as one of the big players through open source as this is the model of the future, secondly all people can use our software for free and thirdly we are increasing our business! Isn't that squaring the circle?

Monday Feb 19, 2007

Redshift

For those who want to make up their picture about Sun Microsystems (SUNW) the videos from the presentations that our executives held at the Sun Analyst Conference are worth watching. You get a lot of background on where we are and an impression of our leaders.

From all presentations I recommend Greg's one (as did Jonathan). He explains really comprehensively what our bet on the future is and why: generating innovative computing solutions by continuously investing in R&D.

In my blog “Innovation Matters” I already roughly described Greg's theory of market segmentation in customers who grow as the business grows and others who grow at much higher rates to fill the pipelines' bandwidth.

Greg talks about a major shift in the marketplace and refers to it as Redshift which in cosmology is a leading observation to the expansion of the universe but in our case a leading observation as to the expansion of our marketplace. His presentation subtitle is:“The Explosion of Massive Scale Systems”.

Friday Jan 26, 2007

More Good News for Sun

This was a really good week for Sun! It started with the Sun Intel Announcement which has two components, the hard- and the software side. We will build a server line based on Intel Xeon processors and Intel is embracing Solaris as a mainstream Operating System. It will be the enterprise class mission critical UNIX OS for Intel Xeon processor-based systems. There will also be close collaboration in the R&D space between our companies. Jonathan provides some more details.

This is another milestone in getting more and more traction with the adoption of our Operating System Solaris. We are at more than 7 Mio downloads now. The worldwide distribution of connected Solaris users looks like this. The recent market movements are additionally promoting Solaris as the stable, scalable, indemnified, multi-platform Operating System. The Microsoft Novell announcement in November concerning SUSE and the Oracle fork of Red Hat Linux destabilized the commercial Linux distributions.

And then we announced our Q2 quarterly results, a clear return to profitability!! As I mentioned before, more good news were to come!

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Monday Jan 22, 2007

StarOffice/OpenOffice Team

I am glad to have an occasion to write a blog about our StarOffice engineering group in Hamburg. Sun acquired StarOffice from Marco Boerries in August 1999 and I was hired shortly afterwards as their HR Manager to integrate the company into Sun Microsystems.

Simon Phipps, our Chief Open Source Officer (read his blog about software market 3.0) and Aisling MacRunnels, Senior Director in the software organization, visited Hamburg and held an all hands meeting hosted by Michael Bemmer, Director StarOffice / OpenOffice Software Engineering at Sun.

Probably StarOffice has been one of (if not the) most successful acquisition in Sun's history. Of approximately 120 employees who came to Sun in 1999 today we have still 82 on board! More than 100 employees are working in the team for more than 5 years. This stability can be seen as the main element for extremely high efficiency. Let's just estimate how many employees are working on the development of Microsoft Office... hundreds or even a thousand? This small team here in Hamburg made a product that is fully competitive to Microsoft Office. Automation of processes and close team collaboration having the end to end process at one location are other elements of this success. And one more not less important point: the passion for the product, a high identification with what they do! A really great team! Congratulations to all these years of success! Today this team is the main contributor to the open source community OpenOffice.org with roughly estimated around 100Mio users out there!

Thursday Jan 18, 2007

Economy and Open Source Software

A study has been prepared for the European Commission on the “Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the competitiveness of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) sector in the EU.”

It turns out that shared software (open source or as referred to in the study: FLOSS – Free/Libre/Open Source Software) has a huge positive impact on the whole economy in many different ways. Starting from generating programming and communication skills for the participating developers to an amount of EUR 12 billion in monetary value that comes from the existing code base which is doubling in size every 18-24 months! Using open source software potentially saves the industry over 36% in R&D investment that can result in increased profits or be spent in other areas of innovation.

Coming back to the EU's Lisbon goals of making Europe the most competitive knowledge economy by 2010 open source software can contribute to provide a skills development environment valued by employers and retaining a greater share of value add locally (the study shows that the EU is significantly loosing talent in science and engineering to the US). This environment combined with the comparatively higher share of open source developers in Europe could encourage the creation of new software businesses which is limited here compared to the US due to restricted venture capital and risk tolerance.

Concrete statement: “Increased use of open source software may provide a way for Europe to compensate for a low GDP share of ICT investment relative to the US. A growth and innovation simulation model shows that increasing the open source software share of software investment from 20% to 40% would lead to a 0.1% increase in annual EU GDP growth excluding benefits within the ICT industry itself – i.e. over Euro 10 billion annually.”

And just a modest note on Sun: the study made proof that we are the No. 1 contributor (by far) to the open source community. Not sure how many times open office is mentioned in the study but you'll read it very frequently going through...

Saturday Jan 13, 2007

Phones and Music 2G

Big news out there these days, everybody talking about the iPhone that was announced by a nervous Steve Jobs on Tuesday calming down while starting to present the new phone. A phone combined with an iPod that is operated by a next generation, easy to use touch screen, a really Apple like state of the art user interface! Apart from that it offers the recent most advanced features for mail, internet, etc. Most of that stuff you can download to any phone today from Yahoo! Go.

Let's look at the iPhone from the angle “will the network kill the iPod”? It can be looked at as a strategy to prevent exactly this happening. More and more phones already have the ability to play music. Over time the phone will replace the iPod. The compelling advantage of the phone being it offers a connection to the network! The next step could be that iTunes will offer a streaming service to listen to any music on the phone while you go and in addition you may have your iTunes library on the web, with your playlists and your personal music being streamed to your phone and made available anywhere, anytime. Vodafone together with Sony just announced Radio Dj for 3G phones. A really complete service to get to know new music like with last.fm and also the possibility to download music. That's were we're headed and forgive me but I have to mention Sun's motto again: “the Network is the Computer”!

Wednesday Dec 20, 2006

Innovation Matters

I want to point to some interesting blogs and discussions around innovation at Sun. First there is Greg's blog (Greg Papadopoulos Sun's Chief Technology Officer). In his most recent entry he claims that the world will only need five computers. Greg points out that in the future there will be five hyperscale, pan-global broadband computing services giants and Sun's bet is to be one of their major suppliers. On our way to get ready for that being innovative is of significant importance. The huge computing power those companies will demand cannot easily be generated by filling some more racks. Some complex issues need to be resolved, e.g. in terms of space, power supply, cooling and more. He refers to Project Blackbox Sun's latest innovation: computing power in a shipping container. Greg closes with: Engineering for scale matters. Really matters. Read some of the discussion around this hypothesis in Computerworld IT Blogwatch .

Secondly there is the Innovation Blog. Watch the video posted in Driving Innovation! Host Hal Stern (VP of Global Systems Engineering), our CEO Jonathan Schwartz and Greg discuss why innovation matters. I want to go into one aspect they touch on mentioned by Greg before. It is the theory on market segmentation in customers who are over-served by Moore's law and customers who are under-served by Moore's law. Under-served are those who need to grow as their customers demand more computing capacity while the bandwidth of DSL lines is constantly increasing and those who experience hypergrowth as a result of increasing demand for services (e.g. salesForcecom). Greg's prediction is that this latter market segment will grow significantly over the next coming years. And again there is a need of innovation and engineering for scale.

Evidence on growth through bandwidth: in Germany today it is possible in nearly every bigger city to get DSL lines as fast as 16mbits. Who will fill those pipes and with what? Videostreaming, IP telephony, television are possibilities for existing and new companies to grow. YouTube would probably not have been successful if the bandwidth would not have increased.


Thursday Dec 14, 2006

Sun on YouTube

Yes, we participate in the community, we share our videos! Sun is a registered user at YouTube. Look for SunMicrosystemsInc, registered 4 months ago, age 24. Enjoy some of our commercials, get educated on our products, e.g. Project Blackbox, Computing Power in a shipping container or managed services. Sure I liked the one in German about the Sun Solution Center by Systemhelden.com. I really recommend the series about the IT Guy – a funny advertising campaign about challenges in the datacenter today. Here is the list of what is available.

There is also more serious stuff out there, watch some of our executives discuss the importance of our Operating System Solaris: Does the OS really matter ? (and part 2).


Friday Nov 24, 2006

Good News for Sun

Sun Microsystems good quarterly report from end of October for Q1 of this fiscal year (July to September) is now backed up with some more good news on double digit growth of our market share as reported by IDC. It feels good to know we are actually in the process of managing the turn around to profitability and growth of Sun Microystems! Everyone in this company is incredibly busy and focussed these last weeks of the year and I am sure there are more good news to come!


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