April 25, 2006: Scott McNealy exits Sun Microsystems with a whimper. This former industry great and all-time bona fide boor had gone past the point of irrelevancy to a definite drag on the stock of the formerly great company. Not to mention that he didn’t have diddly-squat in the pipeline.
Thankfully, Jonathan Schwartz took over.
At the 2007 Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, known as WinHEC in Los Angeles this year, I saw several impressive Sun servers running on AMD Opterons running Windows Server and was stuck by the incongruity of Windows (the furball - according to that nekulturniy McNealy) running on Sun hardware. They even had a Sun Ray device with Windows Vista loaded!
On Monday, September 10, while I was at the Letterman Digital Arts Center Premier Theater, for the ‘official’ unveiling of AMD’s Opteron 64 Quad Core (formerly known as Barcelona), I heard Schwartz give a very good speech on the relationship Sun had with AMD and said he was looking forward to do much more in the future.
Well, the future is now.
In a move that would go down as one of the most pragmatic ever in B-school lore, Sun Microsystems, under the sensible leadership of Jonathan Schwartz, today became an OEM vendor of Microsoft’s Windows Server!
I’ll hold on while you pick your jaw off the floor. I know, I did the same, and I had to take a Tylenol-8!
One of the things Sun has always been able to do, is create aesthetically desirable and powerful systems, hardware and software-wise. (In fact, the only UNIX (no thanks to SCO!) distribution I use is Solaris)
Now, Sun can leverage their design, packaging, and marketing prowess to bring what may be the most impressively designed and supported Windows Servers to the market.
This changes the competitive landscape of the Microsoft Windows Server market immediately.
In fact, if HP, the only other Tier-1 Windows Server OEM that combines performance, valueadd, and design is not careful, they might run the risk of losing their cachet as the ones to watch in the Windows Server space.
Furthermore, with Microsoft releasing Windows Server as x64 only and deprecating 32-bit Windows in favor of 64-bit, the prowess Sun has in the server and enterprise server space makes them a very dangerous rival to the current crop of Windows Server OEMs.
Would I spec Sun-branded x64 servers to clients? In a Hollywood (Calif.) picosecond! As I fully expect it to be well built and attractively priced.
Holders of JAVA should thank their lucky stars that it was Schartzy, and not the Z-man that was selected to be CEO after the retirement of the Mouth of Silicon Valley, McNealy.
This new pragmatism at Sun Microsystems should remove any dubiety about the reliability and readiness of Windows Server in your enterprise. For Sun did not agree to load any version of Linux, however supposedly free that product is.
*YAWW: Yet Another Windows Win!
Are you as excited as I am about the coming competition for your hardware dollars in the Windows Server x64 space? Lay it on us here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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