By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
Scott McNealy: There is some pretty exciting stuff going on here, and I do not quite know how to set this one up. But in a place far, far away in a time a long time ago, I was 27 and I was on campus and I got a chance to meet this guy who had invented the Stanford University Network, hence Sun workstation. Little did I know that he would turn into what I consider to be absolutely the most prolific and exciting and talented workstation and single-board computer designer on the planet.
I do not think anybody has come close to being able to pack as much stuff into a 1U box -- or a pizza box, as we used to call them -- or design a desktop with the kind of power and elegance and performance that employee No. 1 at Sun Microsystems did for us. He left a few years back to do a little startup called Granite, and that got bought by Cisco and he ran a pretty good chunk of Cisco's business.
Then he left and started a little company called Kealia, and Kealia started off doing some media server technologies and other technologies and Andy started doing what he did normally and naturally; it is in his DNA. He started building the world's coolest computers -- 1U, 2U, 4U and bigger, all based on single board designs that Andy does better than anybody else. He and I, in fact we had a little founder's reunion of Bill Joy and Vinod Khosla and Andy -- or Andreas von Bechtelsheim, depending on how you want to say it; I prefer Andy. The four of us were sitting in a little restaurant out in Portola Valley and Andy [and] I started talking, and I was asking him what he was up to and what he was doing. One thing led to another, and all of a sudden Sun bought Kealia and I would like to reintroduce the founder of Sun Microsystems Employee No. 1 -- Andy Bechtolsheim. Where are you Andy? Now, the badge has changed a little bit since…
Andy Bechtolsheim: Wait a minute; I still have my old badge.
McNealy: Can you get a close-up on those? We now have a smart card. The badges have changed a little bit. Mine is a little more modern. The hair is a little lighter now. As Employee No. 1, we saved your employee number and you will have to get a little bigger badge holder for that particular badge. But we are very excited about having Andy back on stage as Employee No. 1. Congratulations, welcome home. Tell us a little about what Kealia has been doing and how this is going to fit so naturally with what is going on at Sun.
Bechtolsheim:We have been working on a bunch of next-generation Opteron servers that seem like a really good fit for Sun.
McNealy: You have a whole bunch of interesting products we have not announced yet, right?
Bechtolsheim: Nothing we are announcing here today, but we are working on higher-performance CPU's, I/O, memory, packaging density. All of these systems, I should mention, will run Solaris, Linux and even Windows.
McNealy: We will have to decide whether or not we want to ship Windows. That will be a very easy decision, I think. But for investment protection they will be certified to run Windows and we will ship Linux on them as well as Solaris. The Java Enterprise System will run naturally. This will all connect to the Sun Net Connect architecture, N1-compatible environments.
Bechtolsheim: All based on industry standards just like the good old days.
McNealy: It is pretty interesting. You are a group of how many employees and how many engineers?
Bechtolsheim: Fifty-eight engineers.
McNealy: All of that will be able to leverage Sun's worldwide brand, all of our software investments, all of our services and distribution capabilities. Instead of Kealia, we are going to have Sun Microsystems.
Bechtolsheim: We had a little trouble with the name. Nobody knows how to pronounce it so we had a little trouble.
McNealy: I had to keep looking at it; not a problem. So, are you working hard these days?
Bechtolsheim: I actually got up at 3 o'clock this morning and felt a little tired because I was just thinking of all this work we have to do to get this stuff out the door.
McNealy: I asked Andy if he would stick around for the analyst conference and he gave me exactly the right answer, as a new employee, he said, "No. I have too much work to do." So he will be here for Q&A for those of you who want to ask Andy this afternoon any specific questions.
Andy and I have had a chance to kind of work and compare ideas and all the rest of it. This guy is prolific beyond anything you have ever seen, and we are very, very excited. It is kind of nice to have him running up the steps and lighting the torch again here for what we are going to do, and as chief architect I could not be more excited. I just do not know if you can tell how excited I am to have Andy back on board because I will follow this guy anywhere and do everything I can to help him be successful. You had a chance to look, and I know a lot of folks have always trusted and understood kind of the inability for you to say anything other than absolutely what you are thinking and what you believe. You had a chance to go look at Niagara, our chip multi-threading strategy with the mini cores and mini threads. Is that going to be an interesting chip for you to design product around?
Bechtolsheim: So I had a chance to meet with the SPARC design team last week and they were really great working with. As you know, including the 90-nanometer you heard about today as well the multi-threaded throughput computing chips. They are modeling performance levels that are really unmatched in the industry. So there is nothing out there, whether it is AMD or Intel or anyone else, that has that level of throughput for the throughput computing type of applications.
McNealy: So you are going to be designing for Ultra SPARC, you are going to be designing for this chip multi-threading and for Opteron.
Bechtolsheim: Well I hope to work with the rest of Neil's volume server system team to get this all done. But this is all part of the volume story, which I should point out. Obviously, we will do all of SPARC volume throughput computing and Opteron.
McNealy: And including x86 so your packaging architecture can be used for all of this. Traditionally, you got your teeth cut in doing workstations and we have got a pretty interesting desktop business with JDS, with the Sun Ray, with our Sun Blade workstations. May I ask you on stage, in front of everybody, to go look at that product line and see if you cannot update that and put a little of your magic on that stuff, too?
Bechtolsheim: I guess I should summarize by just saying I am really excited about the opportunity here before us. If you look back in history there have been few times where you can see that much of a cost performance, performance bandwidth improvement in any single point. It is an integer factor that is definitely going here. All of these things need to get out to market, of course, and I look forward to working with that as hard as I can.
McNealy: Andy, one other thing: You look great, not necessary. Thank you very much buddy. I can see the email servers at Sun buzzing right now as everybody is sending mail around; it is pretty exciting. I think Neil and Andy are going to make one of the great design and execution teams in the history of the computer industry.