The key to Sun Microsystem's success going forward is increased adoption of its Solaris 10 operating system, company CEO Jonathan Schwartz said on Tuesday.
Sun had seven million free downloads of Solaris in recent months and 70 percent of those downloading it have non-Sun hardware in their IT infrastructure, Schwartz said at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference this week in San Francisco.
If IT people are running Solaris on hardware from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, they can be sold Sun hardware to replace those other brands. "If your OS is in front of a customer you're now given permission to sell everything we've got in our portfolio," Schwartz said.
Sun's servers and storage appliances are optimised to run on Solaris, though they can also run on the Linux OS.
In the last year Sun has eliminated 4000 jobs at the company to reduce costs and there may be more workforce reductions ahead, but only through attrition, Schwartz said. The company currently has about 38,000 employees worldwide.
Sun has an opportunity to grow as data centres continue to evolve, Schwartz said. Already, the number of rack-mounted servers has surpassed the number of tower servers sold and blade servers are on track to outsell rack servers as data centres continue to consolidate.
"Why do we even bother with racks?" Schwartz asked during an interview. "Racks are optimised for people to interact with infrastructure. But if you talk to any IT administrator the last thing they want in their data centre is a person, because they try to be helpful but they bend pins and kick plugs and do all kinds of bad things.
"The long-term evolution of this marketplace will see data centres emerge in a standardised form factor at large scale," he said.
Sun is planning to serve that market with its Project Blackbox, a data centre that is installed in a six metre shipping container, delivered to a customer and operated from the container. It is scheduled to begin shipping later this year.