Is Sun brain dead?

by Kevin Shockey

In the most blatent misuse of the Web 2.0 meme, Sun wants Web 2.0 entrepreneurs to buy Sun hardware to launch a new web company!


2006-11-09 21:19:53
Not brain dead, just desperate.
2006-11-09 22:36:27
I don't agree. Sun hardware is not that much more expensive that IBM or Dell, or Apple for that matter. And they are offering special discounts for startups too, which makes sense, because once a startup becomes the next Youtube, it is going to need some significant horsepower, and some way to manage it. And the Sun CoolThreads CPU is ideal for web workloads. If you a startup, you should take advantage of discounted high-tech hardware for sure.
2006-11-09 23:55:11
You miss the point of the issue. You shouldn't invest in hardware (into which your application will be locked in) if the platform is proprietary and potientially more expensive then last years x86 goo.

See, if you build your services hardware centric (and believe me, you will if you buy hardware specially for the task of it), you've just invited sun to cash in on the success of what you do. Now, we don't want that, do we?
To limit the amount of lock-in you have to aim for cheap slow hardware (like google did...) so you're not bound to proprietary expensive hardware.
Not that difficult to understand now is it?

2006-11-10 01:02:51
And what's so proprietary about Sun's platform, pray?
2006-11-10 01:05:04
No, I don't think there is a point there either. What kind of web application would you be developing to run on a Unix server of any kind that would lock you into some specific hardware? The answer is "Nothing". If you are doing LAMP, you can go anywhere. Ditto for Jave and RoR. And this is for Web 2.0, so what else is there?

And how exactly is Sun brain dead to target startups? Even if you are right that programmers would magically write PHP code specific to CoolThreads, if they somehow used one for development, that would be more reason for Sun to have such a promotion. After all, they are in the hardware business. So if you are correct about your "lock in" arguement, you are definitely wrong about "is sun brain dead".

And of course, you are assuming that CoolThreads has a worse cost performance ratio than some cheap x86 boxes.

Dick Davies
2006-11-10 01:49:25
What? Sun are offering small companies a leg up with discounted, efficient hardware and they are villians for it? Grow up.
2006-11-10 04:41:46
The discounts sound good to me. Maybe Apple and others will follow the lead and offer something similar.
2006-11-10 09:56:28
They concern to much on marketing and they lose reality: they don't understand that most of the new web startup are small company (especially in Europe 2-10 people), small company have small budget, High Powered Computers are now commodities, IT winning solution are based on idea (espensive hardware came in second phase).
They want survive..very easy put few milions dollar helping the Open Source community especially in testing, Documentation and in TV RADIO promotions.
Carla Schroder
2006-11-10 10:19:15
Isn't it a smarter use of limited funds to build a solid infrastructure? Sparc hardware isn't that expensive anymore, and Solaris and all of Sun's server hardware are now free-beer. You get full Solaris functionality on Sun hardware, and Solaris 10 is very impressive. Customers are going to be more impressed by sites that stay up and perform well.
Simon Phipps
2006-11-10 11:02:57
@Florian: These days Sun makes low-cost, high-performance AMD-based hardware that runs cool and beats the hide off Dell. And we give it away free on 6-day trial so you can find out for yourself at no risk.

@Kevin: So exactly what would you suggest a brilliant Web 2.0 startup run their new application on? Exactly why is offering them the latest, best, most eco-friendly servers at a discount "brain-dead"? Most high-scale hosting services are significantly cheaper if you supply the hardware, and this hardware packs more densely in the racks becuase it runs cool so keeps the hosting cheap. Or are you too someone who thinks Sun hasn't moved on since 2001?

Mike F.
2006-11-10 11:09:26
Did you forget that sun also sells x86 hardware that can run Linux and maybe even windows?

I'm hoping we're all missing your point and that maybe it is to go to some sort of virtualized ASP/MSP where you're not investing any money in hardware and only paying for services, a la Sun's Grid Computing.

Kevin Shockey
2006-11-10 12:04:52
Your comments all lead me to believe that you have never been in a startup where you have to choose between eating or buying ad space, between fixing your failing PC or paying for your cell phone.

The point is not that Sun is offering cheap hardware. That's great for whoever needs to buy hardware. Rather the point is that a Web 2.0 company should be building their system on top of someone else's platform. Geez, haven't you guys heard? You can acquire more bandwidth, computing power, and software today for $99 a month than you would have once spent $2 Million to build back in the late 90's.

Further, as I said if you are an early stage startup and you are building infrastructure you are spending money building a platform too soon. You're jumping the gun. Build something cool first, get a million page hits first, then consider building infrastructure.

Consider further that unless you are an expert at building a server room, managing servers, adminstering them, etc. it is a much wiser choice to focus on your core product which is software. You should be an expert at building cool software, not building infrastructure. Leave that to the experts and worry about the next million page hits, not if the server is up.

And if you don't believe me, try any of these:

Vance Dubberly
2006-11-11 15:03:33
Thank you very much but our AMD based Suns cost less than the equivalent Dell boxes, they run Linux and you simply can't beat the lights out management, redundancy, and Sun support.

So you tell me, what costs less, hiering a couple of full time Sys-Admins to find and put together a bunch of commodity hardware from Fry's and run Linux on it with no hardware support, or buying a couple of Sun boxes which Sun will ship new parts for in less time than Dell takes to route you past Level 1 Tech support.

The only people who dis Sun Hardware are people who have never used it or are so entrenched in their tech religion ( emacs, vi, gpl, lamp, j2ee, win, mac) that they shouldn't be allowed to think.

That said, I would really like to see Sun offer something like Amazon's EC2 and SS3... now that's Web 2.0! Who needs a sys admin at all! Look Ma, No SERVERS!!

2007-02-17 14:59:58
Not much on my mind today.