Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sun Abandons Computers?

Strange news out of Santa Clara...

Two of my favorite reads, Nicholas Carr's Rough Type and John E. West's insideHPC, both pointed me to the same blog post by Sun's Data Center Architect, Brian Cinque. When those guys link to the same post, you know it's worth reading.

Cinque gives the broad strokes of Sun's plans for data center consolidation, which include reducing total square footage and electric consumption by 50% over the next 5 years. Admirable enough.

But Cinque continues...within two years of that, Sun plans to own ZERO data centers.

While he neglects to give any other details, it seems clear that this can only mean one thing: Sun is going to spend the next five years consolidating into a small number of data centers...and then they're going to sell them.

Clearly, after a 5 year effort of consolidation and rearchitecture, they're not going to spend the next 2 years scrapping all that work. Rather, they have decided that they'll let someone else take care of running them. Why? Well, ostensibly, it's because they think someone else can do it better/faster/cheaper then they can.

It's a bit surprising to me. Sun has spent the last year and a half convincing people to run their grid applications on Sun Grid--now they're telling the market that someone else is more qualified to run their own data centers. If I were a Sun customer, I'd be running to EC2 immediately.

On the other hand, maybe it's not so surprising at all, given that Sun now seems to be a database company...

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