Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld

The latest tidbits on Sun deals and product news

June  1997
[Next story]
[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!

Mail this
article to
a friend

SunSpots index

The world according to McNealy: $500 NC a bad idea

San Jose, CA (June 13, 1997) When Larry Ellison first floated the trial balloon that became the Network Computer (NC) back in 1995, the idea seemed simple enough. Put storage and processing power on the server and you get a no-frills computer -- cheap enough and simple enough to attract that two-thirds of American consumers who aren't buying PCs. How cheap was cheap enough? About $500, said Ellison.

Speaking at the Netscape Developer Conference here in San Jose today, Sun Microsystems CEO, Scott McNealy was unequivocal on the subject of the $500 NC: it ain't for Sun. McNealy blamed Ellison for confusing the market and getting "everybody all geeked up about a $500 computer" that nobody really wants. Apparently Sun has realized that $35 processor chips don't exactly cut the mustard in terms of performance. Said McNealy, "it's insulting for my employees at Sun to have a $500 computer at their desks." He explained that Sun's strategy is to build "a stronger family" (read more expensive) of NC devices using UltraSPARC.

To explain why anybody would buy a JavaStation costing the same price, if not more than today's low-end PCs, McNealy fell back on the easier administration and lower total cost of ownership argument -- the same logic that Microsoft has glommed onto of late with its NetPC. "Why are we trying to get to a $35 chip," McNealy asked, "when the total cost of ownership for a PC is eight to ten thousand dollars per year?"

McNealy also seems to think that old Sun foes like HP, IBM, and DEC are no longer worth worrying about. Today, he said, "the choices on the server side are Solaris and NT," choices which, he continued, are "getting more and more identical every day" since both operating systems support Internet-based technologies, like TCP/IP and Java. Drawing an analogy from his past in the automobile industry, McNealy said, "we're trying to put the brake pedal in the same place as they are."

Java will be Sun's insurance that the "brake pedal" does indeed remain in the same place. McNealy says his company is developing "a 100% pure [Java] software blob that would sit on the OS" -- NT or Solaris -- to act as the application server for NCs.

The only dark cloud on this rosy horizon is, apparently, the possibility that Microsoft may not want to sit around and let NT and Solaris become identical. McNealy said it would be a "bummer... if Microsoft decided to withdraw from the Java world." It would be a bummer for Microsoft because at this point, market demand for Java simply would not allow it. He drew on another analogy to depict Microsoft's dependence on Java: "they're beyond pregnant," he said.

--Robert McMillan, SunWorld


Back to index

DiskSuite-Volume Manager migration service now available as Sun expands its sales of Veritas product line

San Francisco (June 10, 1997) Sun has confirmed a report, first published in the April 1997 issue of SunWorld (see Resources below), that it has put together a migration service to "assist customers migrating their mission-critical data from Solstice DiskSuite control" to the Sun Enterprise Volume Manager, which begins shipping today.

Sun Enterprise Volume Manager is a more full-featured version of the Veritas product than Sun had previously been shipping with its storage arrays. It can be used, for example with EMC or Clarion hardware -- something the light version couldn't do.

Sun maintains that the fact that it is offering a migration program from DiskSuite to Volume Manager does not mean that DiskSuite is dead.

Volume Manager is one of a number of Veritas Software storage management products that Sun has recently begun to resell -- generally under the Sun brand. As of next week, Sun will ship the Veritas File System, as well as the "Sun Enterprise"-branded NetBackup, HSM (for hierarchical storage management), and Library Monitor products.

Gartner Group research analyst Mark Nicolette says the Veritas product line will give Sun customers some "interesting" options when it comes to integrating functions between the various Veritas products. He says, for example, that eventually customers might be able "to tightly integrate snapshot functions from the file system with backup processes that might be occurring through NetBackup."

Sun senior manager Scott Hansbury says that true integration of the product sets will enable users "to have a tape library real-time talking to your backup software, real-time talking to your volume management software, real-time talking to your server code." Innovations like this are not expected to ship until the end of 1997.

Though the migration program seems somewhat less than formal right now. SunService marketing manager Victor Nemechek says that it essentially boils down to the fact that his people can get the job done. "We have expertise in Enterprise Volume Manager and a lot of other volume management products," he says, as well as access to utility "programs that Veritas and SMCC development teams use to check the data and provide information that is helpful when you are doing the migration."

Pricing on these products and services will "vary depending upon customer configuration," according to Sun. Sources close to Sun say that the migration program will be expanded to include promotional pricing for Sun Enterprise Volume Manager sometime around July 1997.

--Robert McMillan, SunWorld

Click on our Sponsors to help Support SunWorld


What did you think of this article?
-Very worth reading
-Worth reading
-Not worth reading
-Too long
-Just right
-Too short
-Too technical
-Just right
-Not technical enough

[Table of Contents]
Subscribe to SunWorld, it's free!
[Next story]
Sun's Site

[(c) Copyright  Web Publishing Inc., and IDG Communication company]

If you have technical problems with this magazine, contact

Last modified: