The Sun on Storage

Sun might be thought of as the first Open Source Enterprise vendor. Sure Microsoft practically gives away its BI software to sell SQL Server and is making small nods towards Open Source usage; but really now. Likewise, IBM has big chunks of its entry level software available for free while Oracle gives away its complete development tools for free and only charges for runtime systems. But really these are loss leaders.

Only Sun gives away a complete development and operating stack. Sun offers a top notch operating system in Open Solaris, a very good and constantly improving database in MySQL, a pretty good Application Server in GlassFish, an excellent Office package with Open Office, and superior data management software with ZFS, NFS, CIFs, and Comstar. To tie it all together, Sun has 3 levels of Java united under one vastly improved development IDE in Netbeans which now supports a broad array of languages including Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, C/C++. All this is free and Open Source with Sun providing various levels of fee-based support and development services.

So an agressive company in a highly competitive field like say investment banking or marketing development could get a serious Google-like competitive IT operational advantage (lowest TCO)by going Suns Open Source. Likewise a smart VAR could take its proprietary hardware and software (most of Suns software is dual sourced), marry it to parts of Suns hardware + big chunks of Open Source software and build up a product marketing thrust in which the smart VAR will have a splendid opportunity to have the lowest cost and best price performance in the field.

Well Sun gets to shine the same light on its own Storage Appliance business. Using its Open Agenda strategy, Sun is offering the opportunity to startups and major peripheral players to leverage OpenSolaris, ZFS and the whole balliwick of Sun Open Software plus chunks of Sun Storage hardware in the development of customized systems. The success of Suns Storage operations will be a good test of Suns CEO Jonathan Schwartz Open Source Enterprise vendor strategy -where Sun helps other Enterprise vendors shine and therefore itself shares in the expanding markets. Stay tuned because I think this is a crucial test for Open Source as a viable money maker in the IT market beyond the current software support+services paradigm.

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