Bridge Over Troubled Waters
COAS relies on Sun’s stalwart support organization to keep the relationship sailing smoothly. “If our support base were to have eroded anywhere down the road, in all these years, I think the overall relationship [we have with] Sun to build our solutions would have been gone a long time ago,” Sears revealed.
“The service and support is just top-notch,” he added, “and when Sun service personnel come in to service my equipment, it’s [actually] Sun service,” he noted, describing Sun’s service looking sparkly in, “an industry when somebody comes in to service a unit; they get a pager call, and they’ve got to run off to the local supermarket to do their point of sale.”
On the Horizon
Sears sees Sun’s software toolbase as the “crown jewel” unifying its eclectic treasure pile of offerings down the road. “They have incredible bases of talent, and we’re hoping to see a continued improvement in the tool base so we can use a unified set of tools to compile out and build business applications [across these disparate] architectures.”
“What really brings it together is the software abstraction, which allows you to extract all of the great feature advances that are being made in the microprocessors, and that’s really key with the Ultra IV moving forward,” Sears said. Early tests of Solaris 10 seem to fit this bill, particularly its advanced partitioning features, and COAS is planning to upgrade the E4900 to Solaris 10 later this month.
Sears would also like to see Sun’s integrated solutions expanded. “The harsh reality is, I have a business workflow to accomplish, and I need a sequence of building blocks that come together highly integrated to produce a solution,” he said. He believes, however, “Sun is now in a beautiful position” to accomplish this.
Integrated tools, Sears says, power a far better alternative than going to a discount superstore (like Wal-Mart, where Sun products can now be purchased) to purchase inexpensive commodity hardware that will then cost an arm and a leg to integrate. “The U.S. has been lulled into this false sense of economy in HPC and throughput computing. It’s good to see that we’re getting back to understanding the fundamental problem associated with hardware design,” he said.
With loyal customers like COAS, Sun’s the short-term forecast looks potentially bright — providing no one gets overextended and falls asleep at the helm.