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Sun's Scott McNealy: Mr. Quotable

Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy addressed the FOSE crowd yesterday, sounding many of the themes we've heard recently (like at the RSA Conference just weeks ago) about how data centers resembled Frankenstein's monster (cobbled together parts) and client desktops were like Dolly the cloned sheep (all the same).

Whether or not you jump on Scott's bandwagon and banish Microsoft Windows et. al., his arguments can be compelling--and extremely colorful.

But before we get to our favorite McNealy quotes of the day, let's parse his comments for the news nuggets.

First, what of the concern agencies might have over the fact that Sun is moving away from Trusted Solaris as a separate product and toward Solaris 10 with trusted extensions? Will developers have to recompile code from the former to run on the latter? In a session with journalists after the keynote, McNealy said simply, 'No, Solaris 10 is binary compatible with Trusted Solaris.'

Second, in his remarks, McNealy alluded to a new Sun storage solution coming out--a tape drive that will encrypt data at the drive. Which would be nice because, as McNealy pointed out, you can get a level of data-at-rest security without changing processes or applications. 'And you can set it up so that only that tape drive can read that tape back,' he said. 'So if you lose that tape you've got to lose the data center, too.'

Afterwards, McNealy was evasive about when the tape drive would come out, but said it would be this year.

Third, McNealy talked about a utility computing grid that Sun is preparing to launch this month. Enterprises could pay a dollar per CPU-hour to use the grid, and it gets wiped down when they finish so there's no trace of their activity. He said (half jokingly) that agencies could even use PayPal to pay for their computing time. 'Run your job, get your answer, and we hose down the compartment you were in,' he said.

Finally, and this really isn't government IT-centric, but parents could get excited by it, after his keynote McNealy got on the subject of the new Global Education and Learning Community that Sun is involved with. It's a new non-profit that basically aims to be an online, open-source education portal where kids, parents and educators can get the open-source equivalent of a school curriculum. They can study at their own pace and gauge their progress against other students their age. 'You get the world's best educators contributing, not just the local educator,' he said.

Now, as promised, a sampling of Scott McNealy's best quotes from his FOSE keynote and his conversation with reporters afterwards:

On the problems he's having with the U.S. government in launching Sun's new utility computing grid because of technology export regulations:

'[Evidentally] our grid is a weapon of mass destruction.'

On why no one should expect a completely private, annonymous online experience:

'You'd live a much less civil life if you were invisible.'

On buying open source:

'The government should never use open-source software. They should use commercial products based on open source.'

On the pace of technology development versus the government procurement cycle:

'You all are running the government on antiques, if it's more than 18 months old.'

On the fact that few IT shops consider what it will take to move to a new platform when they buy their current platform:

'You have to have the escape clause; you've got to know where the exit door is'.The barrier to exit, moving off that product, is 10X the cost of [acquisition and operation.]. Any RFP'never includes the barrier to exit.'

On the so-called 'Frankenstein' data centers that agencies run using what he considers cobbled-together components:

'I've never gone into one of your data centers and thought, 'I've seen that before.''

Comparing the lack of diversity among today's desktop systems to the wide diversity of DNA in human beings, and the danger that a lack of diversity may present:

'Everybody's done the same thing on the desktop. [There are] security issues around lack of DNA diversity. I mean, small pox will only kill 40 percent of us because we have different DNA'.We've gotten to the point where we've lost innovation and become vulnerable.'

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Mar 09, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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