The key to Sun Microsystems future success is increased adoption of its Solaris 10 operating system, company CEO Jonathan Schwartz said on 6 March. He also enthusiastically promoted the future of modular datacentres.
Sun had 7 million free downloads of Solaris in recent months and 70 percent of those downloading it have non-Sun hardware in their IT infrastructure, Schwartz said at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference that the investment firm is holding this week in San Francisco.
If IT people are running Solaris on hardware from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, they can be sold Sun hardware to replace those other brands. "If your OS is in front of a customer you're now given permission to sell everything we've got in our portfolio,"
Sun's servers and storage appliances are optimized to run on Solaris, though they can also run on the Linux OS.
Sun has an opportunity to grow as data centres continue to evolve, Schwartz said. Already, the number of rack-mounted servers has surpassed the number of tower servers sold and blade servers are on track to outsell rack servers as data centres continue to consolidate.
"Why do we even bother with racks?" Schwartz asked during an interview before a roomful of analysts. "Racks are optimized for people to interact with infrastructure. But if you talk to any IT administrator the last thing they want in their data centre is a person, because they try to be helpful but they bend pins and kick plugs and do all kinds of bad things.
"The long term evolution of this marketplace will see data centres emerge in a standardised form factor at large scale," he said.
Sun is planning to serve that market with its Project Blackbox, a data centre that is installed in a 20-foot shipping container, delivered to a customer and operated from the container. It is scheduled to begin shipping later this year.
In its first profitable quarter in more than a year, Sun posted net income of US$126m (£63m), on a 7 percent gain in revenue to $3.56bn (£1.78bn), in its fiscal 2007 second quarter, which ended 31 December 2006.