Primary Users

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-10-17 Print this article Print

So when you look at this, who do you envision being the primary users? There are two classes of users. The sort of Google-dot-next, people who are on this curve of very high-end, growing infrastructure requirements to build things like Web services, software as a service, those kinds of things.
Thats characterized by scale thats important, efficiency is incredibly important—what does this cost to buy, operate, etc.—as well as the reaction time. The ability to go provision these things. Googles spending, what, two years to go put in a data center? That just seems archaic for technology that, as [Sun Chairman] Scott [McNealy] says, has the shelf life of a banana.
At that level, this is designed for really high efficiency. The other part or this is that there is a strong responsibility with this, which is, we will take it back. So at the end, when youre done with it and its no longer the latest technology that you want to power that part of the network, well come and pick it up and responsibly recycle it. The other class are people who have really intense mobile requirements that just need to be able to reactively site computing somewhere. That can be governments of various flavors, disaster recovery, certainly Web 2.0 kinds of companies that want to move computing more favorably towards where power is the past, where networking [is important]—lets go plug our sites in Europe and Asia and Africa and the like. Do you envision this as a temporary, stop-gap need for these companies, or is this a more longer-term thing for them? No, I think this is the way that computing gets done. Its engineered infrastructure. Its like, today what we do is we build all this computing stuff and theres fierce competition among the components [makers]. We talk about industry standards and commoditization and high volume, all this stuff, and yet, at the very end of the game, someone does a fully architected custom view of a raised-floor data center, and all of them are different and you say, "Well, whats that all about?" Its like youre driving around, and every place you need to park your car has all these great scale economies [so] you have to build a custom garage. Well, we ought to engineer that, too, and get that into mass manufacturing. This is sort of another angle for you, as the mass manufacturing of the data center. When you look at this, there certainly are advantages to the end user. What are the advantages to Sun operating in this way? Were fundamentally a systems company. Our model today is we sell systems that comprise hardware—serve and storage—and the software, Solaris, that goes on top of it. Thats our ideal sale. Well sell the components independent—well give away the components independent—so thats all the new modern business models here. This is the system, the next era in system design and system engineering for us. Its what we do. Think of it this way: we have been building computers that attach to networks and now were building computers from networks and the other thing thats in the middle of this container is a network. These hundreds of servers [and] storage units that are in one of these things typically are interconnected by a high-speed network thats inside that container. Next Page: Industry trends.


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