RealTime IT News

Sun CEO: R&D is Not Overrated

SAN FRANCISCO -- Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy refuted claims that his company was in danger because of its overweight research and development division.

"This is not about getting a 1U box, mail order to solve your problem. It takes more than that," McNealy said in rebuttal to rival Michael Dell's jabs Monday. "We have $5.7 billon in R&D and we are quite satisfied with our position."

The leader of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based network computer maker said the departure of co-founder and chief scientist Bill Joy would not have a major impact on the new technology coming out of Sun.

Bill and I are great friends and he will be missed, but getting some of these younger technologists in here that grew up on network computing is not a bad thing," McNealy said. "I've encouraged Bill to go out and find something passionate to do because whatever he does will be special."

Sun is one of several top-tier vendors making professing its love for Oracle at the OracleWorld 2003 Conference here. But unlike HP, IBM or even Dell, Sun has a 20-year-plus relationship with Oracle and CEO Larry Ellison.

Earlier this summer, the two CEO's sat on stage together and unveiled an "Unbreakable" version of Oracle software running on Sun servers.

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend," McNealy said during his keynote. "More than a third of the install base of Oracle runs on Sun and Oracle 10g is a natural extension of that. This is something Sun has been doing that with our gridware products and technology for High Performance Computing. They run their network on our systems. We run their software. We're not shipping Windows or .NET."

To that end, Sun Monday demonstrated an InfiniBand-based Oracle Database clustering stack. The combination was configured to run the Red Hat Linux operating system and Oracle Database 10g on a Sun Fire V65x server cluster. The configuration also includes Sun Fire V60x servers, Sun StorEdge 3510 Fibre Channel storage arrays, Sun Control Station and Topspin's Switched Computing System.

Sun said it plans to incorporate InfiniBand support within select Sun Fire server products, as well as storage and software products. Last March, 2003, Sun announced it selected Topspin to provide both the Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet I/O modules for Sun's next-generation InfiniBand-based volume server products.

McNealy also said his company will merge Trusted Solaris into regular Solaris going forward starting with the upcoming release.

Also on tap for Sun's software future is a provisioning technique based on LPARS containers that let the mainframe act like a multi-bladed system. McNealy said Sun would begin using the technology starting with the Solaris 10 release due out next year.

"Effectively, you have a system running a blade architecture to run inside big servers using multiple functions using containers.

Sun however is finding its own fish to fry on the desktop. The company Tuesday said it has struck a deal with RealNetworks to redistribute the RealPlayer music player on Sun's Project Mad Hatter desktop, scheduled to formally be launched next week at SunNetwork 2003 in San Francisco.

The companies also announced that Sun will collaborate with RealNetworks and the Helix community on development of the Helix Player, an open source-based, next-generation media player for Linux, Solaris and Unix.