You known Sun Microsystems President and COO Jonathan Schwartz has a strong spine when he follows BEA Systems CTO Mark Carges on stage before a crowd primarily made up of BEA WebLogic shop architects. That's what Schwartz did Wednesday at the BEA World conference in Santa Clara, CA, and just moments after Carges explained why Java plays little role in the BEA vision for SOA infrastructure, how the JRocket JVM will soon zoom on silicon without need for an operating system such as Solaris (project Bare Metal), and why Eclipse is where the future of Java and Web development is.
So while Schwartz made his usual points about accelerating NetBeans downloads ("...competition [from Eclipse] gets people off their duffs..."), BEA announced the acquisition of M7 to provide better BEA support for open source framework developers that rely increasingly on Eclipse tools. No doubt, Schwartz was not aware of the M7 announcement, but it only shows the widening gulf between BEA and Sun on such issues as the JBI, open sourcing of Java, CDDL licensing, open source development frameworks of choice, and the future role of Enterprise Java in SOA reference implementations. And, folks, that is a lot to disagree on.
So the arrival of Sun's number-two across town had to be about something other than software above the operating system level. And it was. Schwartz was able to hold his nose amid the BEA hurling of alternatives at what Sun is doing in software development and middleware only because he could hold his head so high on the benefits of Sun's latest hardware moves, as well as Solaris 10 on x84 and x64 benefits.
Indeed, Schwartz's story improved markedly when he got off of the Sun middleware review and got on to Galaxy, Sun's server system that dramatically cuts space, reduces heat production/electric consumption, and boosts performance by 50% over comparable Dell/Intel offerings. And the Galaxy Sun Fire x2100, running AMD Opteron, starts at $745. It's a helluva story, and Sun needs to make it where ever they can, even if the software thing is, well ... an area to agree to disagree on. Can we then expect Schwartz to speak at IBM's or HP's next big user conference, too?
Well, at least BEA has been an early supporter of Solaris 10 on SPARC, x86, and x64, so we can let bygones be bygones on software. Sun's future, after all, from my perch, is all about Solaris on x64 and Niagara, regardless of what happens with JES and Net Beans, and BEA shop operators are just the high-level enterprise performance-oriented crowd that understands and appreciates the total value of BEA on Solaris on AMD x64.
Ah, the things a salesman has to do.