Sun's McNealy eyes e-government

Eight days into his new role at Sun Microsystems Inc., former CEO Scott McNealy yesterday used a hockey stick to launch spongy balls into a Washington crowd that included many of the people he will be courting to buy products from the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

He spoke at Sun's Network Computing Launch at the Washington Convention Center.

Now chairman of Sun Federal Inc., McNealy's new focus will be expanding Sun's market share in the federal government. Jonathan Schwartz was named the company's chief executive officer last week.

Prior to the event, McNealy told Government Computer News he's as busy as ever.

"The e-mail has been a little harder to keep up with the last week and I'm on a pretty aggressive travel schedule," McNealy said. "The U.S. government is the number one customer for Sun. It's the biggest and most important customer we have."

McNealy told GCN that in his role at Sun Federal he'd be concentrating on, among other things, helping agencies with their citizen-centric e-government initiatives.

"That's an area where it's very fragmented," he said. "Each organization has built their own, I call them, Frankenstein data centers using 'best-of-breed' or obsolete technology often and I think there's a huge opportunity for us to add a lot of value."

Later, wearing a San Jose Sharks hockey jersey, McNealy said the flying sponge balls were a metaphor for the increasing amounts of data people having flying at them these days. Much of that data crush can be attributed to the Internet.

'We're moving into the participation age where everybody is getting on the Internet,' McNealy said. 'Everybody is a publisher, everybody is an editor. We're blogging, we're Pod casting, we're doing mash ups, we're doing electronic commerce. And the biggest opportunity is with government, the e-government opportunity, because those are largest communities and that's the biggest participation effort.'

All governments ought to be looking to get their constituents participating via the Web, he said.

Creating systems to help store, manage and access all that data is at the center of Sun's strategy.

Several new products announced at the event are focused on that effort. The new Sun StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) systems, for example, are virtual tape solution for mainframe environments.

The Sun StorageTek VSM family provides the building blocks for Sun's mission to virtualize everything and simplifies data management by storing data on a virtual disk buffer and migrating it to a tape device based on user-defined policies.

That allows customers to enhance data protection by automating data movement, increasing tape drive cartridge capacity usage to 100 percent, and reducing backup windows by as much as 50 percent, Sun officials said.

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology. GCN chief technology editor Brad Grimes contributed to this story.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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