SAN FRANCISCO—No matter what scary thoughts the words "low-cost commodity servers" could create in the minds at big-system behemoth Sun Microsystems Inc., CEO Scott McNealy in his keynote at OracleWorld here on Tuesday said that Sun is solidly entwined with Oracle Corp. in its grid-computing initiative—particularly now that Sun is selling low-cost components anyway.
If enterprises buy a slew of low-cost Blade servers to run an enterprise grid on, Suns going to be banking big bucks, McNealy said. "If you load up five [server racks] with little components and sell that big friggin WebTone switch, [etc.] all for $4 million, is that a low-end or a high-end machine? Were talking semantics here," he said in a question-and-answer session following his keynote. "They may be low-cost components, but in a reasonable system, theyre part of the big frickin [package]." (WebTone is Suns Web-based networking computing technology.)
To emphasize, McNealys slide show consisted of a slide that depicted a side-by-side price comparison of Dell Computers Dell 2650, which sells for $2,691, next to Suns v65, which sells for $2,650. In addition to being $41 cheaper, Suns server "is more sexy," McNealy quipped. "Look at that bevel."
McNealys speech started with a spiel of "headlines you dont want to read"—such as "Larry Ellison pens a bedroom manual on Finding Your 10G Spot"—and characteristically wended into sarcasm for competitors such as IBM and Microsoft Corp.
Sun is working now to knit Oracles Enterprise Manager 10G into its own N1 technology, McNealy said, and the two will be integrated within 12 to 18 months. N1 is a framework to deliver lower IT administrative costs and a self-healing network. It has three phases: virtualization, to create a logical map of systems resources; provisioning, to map pools of resources; and telemetry, for acute system metering.
Sun is working on making a seamless link between N1 and 10G so that when Oracles RAC (Real Application Clusters) decide they need more power, they get it automatically, with no fingers on the keyboard nor pages going out to DBAs to get them to fix it manually, McNealy said. Near to Suns heart is convincing customers to buy the integrated setup prebuilt by Sun and Oracle. "Our industry is way too complex," McNealy said. "Theres an order of magnitude to how expensive it is to deliver the services were delivering in the market today. Its difficult to justify that math. Think of the airline or auto industry. If you went home to your personal hangar and got ready to build a personal handcrafted jalopy airline thats one of a kind, and you invested in parts from 80 airline suppliers, … that sounds ridiculous, doesnt it?
"Well, name two data centers that are alike, two that are even close. Theyre so different, theyre like fingerprints. They dont even interoperate. Every one of you has created your own custom data center, your own jalopy. … "You can buy pieces if you like, but were spending a lot of money at Sun and Oracle putting it together so you dont have to."
Three parts of Suns contribution to Oracles grid architecture that are already in place are Infiniband—Suns interconnect technology for servers and the 10G database, on display here this week; grid technology including Grid Engine Portal portlet technology, which integrates Sun ONE (Open Net Environment) Grid Engine software with Sun ONE Portal Server; and N1, which serves to put all the components together and provision the hubs, switches, applications, etc. into one common pool of resources to be applied as needed.