Sun DTrace Creator Cantrill Decides to Move On

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-07-26 Print this article Print

Bryan Cantrill, who started at Sun Microsystems in 1996, was the key developer of Sun's Solaris DTrace data center analytics software tool and a prime mover behind the Fishworks team that created the S7000 storage appliance, code-named Amber Road. Cantrill is now leaving Oracle.

Bryan Cantrill, one of Oracle's brightest young senior engineers, announced July 25 in his blog that he is leaving the company.

Cantrill is one of a number of high-profile Sun Microsystems employees that have left Oracle since its January acquisition of Sun. Others include CEO Jonathan Schwartz, board chairman Scott McNealy, Java guru James Gosling, XML co-creator Tim Bray, and open-source evangelist Simon Phipps.

Cantrill, who started at Sun Microsystems in 1996, was the key developer of Sun's Solaris DTrace data center analytics software tool and a prime mover behind the Fishworks team-along with fellow engineer Mike Shapiro-that created the highly successful "Amber Road" storage appliance.

Amber Road eventually became Sun's, now Oracle's, NAND flash-optimized S7000 storage system, the company's hottest-selling and most progressive storage product.

Cantrill's creation, DTrace, solves a problem software engineers had struggled with for decades.

DTrace is a dynamic tracing facility built into Solaris that helps developers look at, use and write applications for, and manage, general-purpose operating systems. DTrace is able to deliver sets of real-time telemetry data that support business processes.

DTrace analytics enable IT managers to follow a query from start to finish through the server/storage system in order to identify bottlenecks and solve them. DTrace can probe all of the following protocols: NFS (Network File System), CIFS (Common Internet File System), FTP, SFTP, HTTP, FC, iSCSI and SRP.

Thus, administrators can quickly locate and manage SAN (storage area network) workload hot spots and bottlenecks, understand how configuration and application changes affect the storage system, and provision NAND flash storage capabilities without guesswork.

"The time has come for me to venture again into something new-but this time it is to be beyond the company's walls," Cantrill wrote. "This is obviously with mixed emotion; while I am excited about the future, it is very difficult for me personally to leave a company in which I have had such close relationships with so many."

Cantrill, who didn't say what he'll be doing next, recounted the early days of Fishworks in the blog.

"In 2006, itching to try something new, Mike [Shapiro] and I talked the company into taking the risk of allowing several of us to start Fishworks," Cantrill wrote. "That Sun supported our endeavor so enthusiastically was the company at its finest: empowering engineers to tackle hard problems, and inspiring them to bring innovative solutions to market.

"And with the budding success of the 7000 Series, I would like to believe that we made good on the company's faith in us-and more generally on its belief in innovation as differentiator."

Amber Road was launched on Nov. 10, 2008,  and has been a strong seller ever since.

Oracle last upgraded its S7000 systems only a month ago.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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