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Forget Cloud Computing, Let's Talk About Ed Zander

The relationship started when we shook hands and signed a deal with Ed Zander

Sorry, got a little distracted by the megadeal last week. I see I wrote four entries about the deal, which was probably at least one too many.

Yet I spent too many years writing, publishing, and producing for Sun to let this deal go uncommented upon. The relationship started when we shook hands and signed a deal with Ed Zander to acquire an in-house magazine on the day the Loma Prieta earthquake hit the Bay Area (I was with IDG at the time).

Zander was rude, scathing, really funny, and quite straightforward and honest in what was a negotiation lasting several months. Ed signed at about 1pm, and four hours later, we just about got rocked right out of our sales office in Palo Alto.

A lot of exciting things happened in the ensuing decade or so, including the broadcast of a satellite TV event from Brazil featuring John Gage and a squadron of carpenters pounding away, building booths at a major trade show that was to start the next day.

Gage was in Japan at an event we produced a few years later, along with McNealy, waiting patiently to deliver a keynote in a big hall with many TV cameras and no people. About 15 minutes before their speech was to start, my colleague Jim Povec went running down to registration, screaming (in English) "McNealy-san and Gage-san in room upstairs! 10 minutes!"

There were thousands of people milling around, each waiting for another to be the first to move toward a hall. They responded to this crazy American's pop-eyed performance, and "Jim's Stampede" succeeded in filling the place faster than you can say "Ohayo-gazaimas."

Getting involved at the beginning of JavaOne was another great time. Told by Sun mid-level management that the company wanted something "way outside the box," I suggested a JavaRave to reflect Java's essential coolness, or Java-Ichi (One) to reflect its truly international nature, and to hold the thing in one of those then-emerging hip warehouses South of Market in San Francisco.

In the end, JavaOne was launched at the most traditional of venues, the Moscone Center in San Francisco (mostly because it had superior electrical outlets). But it was a smash hit, drawing 20,000 the first year and scaling up to twice that before the meltdown.

Oh wait, was this post supposed to be about something other than Sun? Sorry again.

The merger does make Sun very relevant again, as its hardware will no doubt play a major role in the coming Cloud Computing deployment battle.

The future of Java is tied to cloud as well, as that of Solaris and its uneasy relationship with Linux. In fact, the entire enterprise software space is newly up for grabs. Companies must now ponder how much they will trust with SaaS and IaaS, how much glue they need, and really, how much is social networking going to play in their customer-facing futures. This pondering will take at least five years to give us a true read on Cloud and what it all means.

And then there's storage. This may be the most important area of all. Storage may be the least efficiently-used resource in enterprise IT today, its price per X-byte keeps falling, by nature it's a conservatively managed resource, yet the demands for scalability and performance will be unyielding.

Storage is the Golden Fleece for doers of misdeeds, too. To paraphrase that weathered old quote from Willie Sutton, vandals and criminals attack storage because that's where the data is. Whether you have a good grip on storage or not, here's a tip: There's a clan of storage experts who share their opinions across Twitter (start with www.twitter.com/3parfarley and go from there).

Now that I think I have Sun-Oracle out of my system completely, I'll start to break down these areas vis-a-vis Cloud, interview people who know far more about each aspect than I do, and report to you what I find.

Follow the author at www.twitter.com/strukhoff

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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