Sun – Rise or Set?

Writes “Sun Microsystems, backed into a corner by competitors and by economics, is launching new projects in an effort to revitalize its diminished computer-industry leadership. On Wednesday, Sun will detail its strategy to use Linux to attack Microsoft’s desktop-computer stronghold, and on Thursday, it will describe its N1 plan to gather servers and storage systems into a single pool of computing power.”

Sun needs to realise that the battles of tomorrow are now on the software front. The world has enough computing power being made available. Software is where the lag is. While there are many small software companies innovating, what is needed is for some of the bigger ones to define new ideas (because they have the clout). Sun is an excellent position to do this – it is very well respected in the industry and has a customer base which can be leveraged.

An inkling of what to expect:

Sun is more prepared to talk about its Linux desktop effort. At least initially, the campaign will be directed not at the millions of average computer users but at corporations that dictate what software employees will use–for example, call centers with hundreds of telephone operators, Schwartz said. Sun employees themselves will use Linux desktops.

But Sun has tried before, with little success, to penetrate this market. It failed to encourage much adoption of “thin clients” such as its Sun Ray products that rely on a central server to do most processing tasks.

The N1 plan to link servers and storage devices is closer to Sun’s areas of expertise and its traditional customer base that uses expensive, crash-resistant hardware. HP’s Utility Data Center and IBM’s “eLiza” autonomic computing initiatives have similarities to N1, but Sun hopes to make its effort stand out through its existing relationships with other computing companies.

Sun will probably not do it, but it (and the others) should also be thinking of the world’s developing countries when they come out with their plans. They should ask themselves: “what can we do differently if we had to drop the cost of computing to a tenth of what it is today.” Then, let the Ideas flow.


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.