McNealys Network Vision: Simplify

In his Comdex keynote, Sun CEO Scott McNealy shares his vision of simplifying a company's network and announces a partnership with AMD, a new pricing model and a technology agreement with China.

LAS VEGAS—Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO Scott McNealy has a vision of simplifying and scaling out a companys network, and it includes a partnership with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and its 64-bit Opteron processor.

A combined platform of Java cards, Sun Ray thin clients, Java software and back-end Solaris software will make multibillion-dollar tasks like e-mail simpler, McNealy said in his Comdex keynote here on Monday. His speech was in part a response to analysts like Merrill Lynchs Steve Milunovich, who has suggested that Sun sell off its Java program.

McNealy took the stage to announce the AMD partnership, a new pricing model and an agreement to provide the companys desktop software to Chinas internal IT department, a deployment of up to a million users.

/zimages/2/28571.gifRead "Sun Notches Linux Win With China."

To date, IT has been a complicated, scary proposition, McNealy said. "Hoover Dams a pretty complex piece of technology, but people shower all the time. But IT scares them," he said.

In response, McNealy laid out three strategies to simplify IT practices: reduce cost and complexity for IT managers, accelerate Web services, and make the computing experience simpler for users.

In the enterprise, McNealy said Sun will employ a new pricing system, charging $100 per employee per year, with unlimited internal use, for all of Suns applications, with guaranteed quarterly updates. For an additional $50 per employee per year, customers get access to Suns Java desktop, with access for home. For $5 more, customers will gain access to Suns Developer Studio.

"Think about how simple this is," McNealy said. "Just look at the 10Q, find out many employees you have, add two zeros and send us a check."

Sun is moving to a quarterly software release schedule, McNealy said. The company released a single network computing update in the third quarter and will be releasing its Q4 release this month in Berlin.

"And Im forcing the entire company on a quarterly release train, and if your ad campaign pricing industry isnt ready, youve got to wait 90 days for the next train. … Thats the way it was done in the auto industry in Detroit when I was growing up," McNealy said.

Sun will also help customers design "reference" architectures that they can build themselves or have Sun build for them.

On Nov. 24, Sun will release Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Version 1.4, McNealy said. The company will also release a merged Version 8 of its application server on its Web site, which users can download for free.

IT managers who use the Sun Ray client will pay about $700 per employee, according to Jon Loicono, vice president of operating systems at Sun. Sun plans to enhance the Sun Ray client through a wireless thin client that is in testing and a broadband version that a user can use at home and access through a broadband connection. For now, users can only access the Sun remote desktop in North America. Sun employees and other customers will be able to roam worldwide "soon," Loicono said.

Sun will partner with AMD to build at least two boxes using the Opteron processor: a low-end server using more than one processor and a multiway box using "significantly more than one processor," McNealy said. Both servers will ship in volume in the first half of next year.

"It will be a screaming hot box," McNealy said.