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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sun's Edge: Peformance Pet Watt

Tech blogger Mark at VMUNIX Blues sees a Sun advantage:
It’s good to see Google’s Luiz Andre Barroso bring attention to the performance per watt problem the industry faces. With Apple abandoning PowerPC for next-gen Intel processors supposedly because of Intel’s better perf-per-watt roadmap, and now Google lecturing at the ACM, perhaps the industry really is going to start taking note. Sun’s UltraSparc T1 gets a good plug from Barroso who was apparently working on a similar design at DEC before HP flushed everything good about that company down the crapper. Which is good news if you’re a Sun shareholder since it pretty much solidifies what we already suspected: Google will be a big T1000 customer.
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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Silicon Valley Confronts High Energy Costs

Sun, with it's amazingly efficient servers, is leading the way:
With rising energy costs and server computers that now suck up more electricity than ever, power bills have become such a significant expense that they are forcing chief financial officers to take notice, said Greg Papadopoulos, chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems Inc., which is hosting a two-day conference beginning today that discusses the issue.

The summit will include presentations from such companies as Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. as well as speakers from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Google is a prime example of a fast-growing company that faces huge power demands. The company "has stated that power is (one of their) top operating expenses for the company," Papadopoulos said.

The Sun executive estimates Google already spends $100 million to $200 million on its energy bill each year and that number will likely grow as the search engine giant continues to add more server computers.
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Google and Sun - Worth Watching

Wade Roush says the partnership is worth watching even if there isn't a buyout:
On the other hand, two conflicting ideas can be true at the same time. There may still be reason to believe that something is brewing at Google and Sun.

Sun president and chief operating officer Jonathan Schwartz has dropped hints that Sun is working on extending the technology behind web-hosted services such as Google's Gmail -- a technology called AJAX, for Asynchronous Javascript and XML -- to desktop applications such as "Could these apps [, Flickr, Firefox, Google Earth, and iTunes] be enhanced with better network connectivity, more collaboration, and better integration into your daily life?" Schwartz asked in an October, 2005 blog entry. "Absolutely. So if you want to know what the future portends for, that's a fine place to start (and AJAX will likely play a role)."

At the same time, Google has been scooping up software architects and engineers who are well versed in the technology of Web browsers and server-based applications. One of them is Adam Bosworth, a former Microsoft programmer who developed the HTML engine in Internet Explorer and was one of the guiding forces behind the creation of XML (the Extensible Markup Language).

It would not be surprising if Bosworth and his colleagues at Google -- all of whom, remember, are free to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects that might or might not develop into future products -- were thinking about new platforms for Google's services, whether new browsers, operating systems, or types of computers. Google, with its expertise in AJAX applications, and Sun, with its historical involvement with the open-source community, might do together what only Microsoft could do alone: end the era of desktop-based software in exchange for a faster, more flexible, more powerful generation of web-based applications.

We at Technology Review don't know what form the Google-Sun collaboration will take. And we don't spread gossip or repeat rumors as fact. But this is one potential story that we'll be watching closely.
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Will Google Buy Sun?

Richard Rhodes at MSN makes an interesting comment:
SunMicro Systems: buy 5000 shares at the market. Recently, price action has been rather “good” as rumors of a Google takeover have run rampant. The question is whether the rumors will ultimately be true. We don’t know, but certainly the combination makes sense and we are willing to bet that this "rumor" will indeed underpin the stock and perhaps send it upwards of $5-$6.
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Monday, January 23, 2006

Sun's Q2FY06 Earnings Release Conference Call

It's scheduled for 1:30PM PT Tuesday. Details will be available here.

Motley Fool has a forecast.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sun's Emergency Board Meeting

Jonathan Schwartz was scheduled to speak at the SD Forum but:
Sun's President Jonathan Schwartz was meant to speak at this event but bailed because of an emergency board meeting. Add that to the 150m shares of Sun that traded last Friday, and things seem interesting.
Why? No clue here. It will probably fuel more buyout rumors though.

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Ben Rockwood's Overview of the OpenSolaris Project

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

AMD CEO Cites Sun & Ebay

The earnings outlook is getting brighter:
AMD continued its strong trajectory in the enterprise, said Ruiz. Ebay is using loads of Sun Opteron systems using Solaris OS, he said. China is boosting AMD sales, said Ruiz.
InternetNews has more information:
On the customer front, AMD reported systems based on its 64-bit processors were being used by 90 percent of the top 100 and more than 45 percent of the top 500 in the Forbes list of Global 2000 companies or their subsidiaries. Recent additions included American International Group (AIG), Albertson's Clear Channel Communications and Nisan Motor Co. Ruiz also said that eBay (Quote, Chart)had purchased hundreds of Sun's latest Sunfire servers based on Opteron to bolster its search capabilities.

"We have not peaked," declared Ruiz. "We are poised and ready to gain more market share and grow at twice the rate of the rest of the industry."
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AMD and Sun's CPU Strategy

AMD and Sun are positioned for dominance:
So where does Hester's twofold grand strategy leave AMD? Pretty well positioned actually. The need for single-threaded performance is just not going away any time soon, and AMD knows this. So does Sun, which is why they're pairing the low-power UltraSparc T1 line with the forthcoming Rock—a second, higher-end microarchitecture that will focus on single-threaded performance by using a more traditional out-of-order design. And so does IBM, which is continuing to maintain the POWER5 microarchitecture as a separate microarchitecture for the high-end alongside Cell for power-sensitive applications. Finally, Intel knows this as well, which is why Itanium development still lumbers along.

In sum, despite first appearances this new, two-pronged tack finally brings AMD in line with what the rest of the industry has already announced: a flexible, low-power architecture aimed a spectrum of single- and multi-core applications, and a high-end architecture for very the lucrative and growing high-end server segment.
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AMD Posts Record Quarter

We don't know if increased demand from Sun is partially fueling AMD but I'm betting that it is:
Compared to the third quarter of 2005, CPG's fourth quarter sales growth was driven by an increase in both units and average selling price (ASP), increased demand from AMD's largest global customers, and an acceleration of AMD's commercial server and client businesses. Server, mobile and desktop processor sales each grew significantly compared to the third quarter of 2005. Mobile processor sales growth was driven by increased shipments of AMD Turion 64 processors. Server and desktop sales growth was driven in particular by increased customer adoption of Dual-Core AMD processors. Geographically, processor sales were especially strong in North America, Europe and Greater China.
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Sun Wins 5 Product of the Year Awards

Developers love Sun:
You can be the greatest coder in the world and be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound but your effort and time may be wasted if you are not working with the best tools available. Herein lies the rub, which tools are the best?

...Again this year, Sun turned out to be the company taking home the most wins. Sun repeated their honors by taking home five of this year's awards. Java related products overall turned out to be a big winner.
And the winners:
Framework of the Year:
JavaServer Faces From Sun Microsystems Inc.

Wireless/Mobile Development Tool or Add-in of the Year:
J2ME™ Wireless Toolkit From Sun Microsystems Inc.

Java Tool/Add-in of the Year:
Sun Java™ Studio Creator By Sun Microsystems Inc.

JSR (Java Specification Request) of the Year:
JSR 244: Java EE 5.0

Security Tool or Add-in of the Year:
Sun Java System Identity Manager From Sun Microsystems Inc.
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Scott McNealy Profiled

US News & World Report has an very informative profile of Scott McNealy up:
He acknowledges that he doesn't have the same gold-plated reputation that he did in the '90s. "I've been a chump and a hero and a chump and a hero 40 times over in my career," he says. And while his new strategy of rolling out eco-friendly servers and open-source software to build out the Internet's infrastructure may ultimately be vindicated, for now, he understands that his sights need to be set slightly lower. "We've got to grow and make money. We do that, all is forgiven," he says. The loser stamp of the past few years will be erased. "We'll be cool again--we'll have the right alligator or horsey on our shirt instead of the big L. "After the body blows of the past few years, he seems to relish the thought. So, too, would Sun investors.
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