In the Jonathan Schwartz interview at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco yesterday, I screwed up. After learning we weren’t set up for audience Q&A with microphones, I thought, “well then, I’ll just suggest to the audience that they twitter questions @timoreilly, and I’ll check my phone during the interview.” I kept checking, but no questions. Bummer. Not till I heard complaints afterwards that I hadn’t asked any of the questions did I do a little digging, and discover that I had twitter set to show me only @ replies from people I’m following. Bad idea.
To all of you in the audience, a big apology for the screwup.
However, I did collect all the questions after the fact, and forward them on to Jonathan to answer by email. The questions and Jonathan’s answers are below. I’ve presented it as if it were a twitter interview, snarfing up the questions from tweetscan, and then getting Jonathan’s twitter image from his own feed. [Another big oops: that isn't really Jonathan's twitter feed. Will take out links till I get the correct one. Thanks to Scott Ruthfield for the heads up.] But in reality, he answered the questions by email, after I sent him the whole group in one email message.
triplebsoul : question for Sun ” how is sun planning to balance environmental issues with scaling computing needs (power consumption, etc) ”
JonathanSchwartz: Sun’s going to stretch the limits of engineering and our collective imagination to make the world’s most efficient datacenter infrastructure – from OpenSolaris power management, to Blackbox datacenters. And although that’s obviously important to our business, and to the planet, what matters most in managing environmental risk is the world’s appetite for power – if that continues along the pace it is, we can slow the growth of power demand through datacenter innovation, but I doubt we can stop it. Every 100,000,000 new PC’s in the world creates the need for many, many, many megawatt power plants.
cynthiagentry : ask JIS about the role of academia in the future of Sun, and in the future of Web 2.0
It’s hugely important. The majority of the world’s change agents, media consumers and entrepreneurs graduate from universities every year. There’s a reason Sun stands for “Stanford University Network.” That’s the world from which we spawned, that’s the world we focus on with open source technology (you might remember we just concluded an agreement with the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education to build a national curriculum around OpenSPARC and OpenSolaris – made possible by our IP being free and open…).
Sierralog : Question to Jonathan: Did you ever assess the success of you corporate blogging in terms of “ROI” and if so, how? Thx
No. It just seemed like an IQ test. If I talk, people that are interested listen. If I don’t speak up, they have nothing to hear.
amitc : Q for Jon: Beyond MySQL, Sun boxes and Java, what else does Sun has to offer Web Devs, PMs & Entrepreneurs?
Um – that’s certainly a good start, isn’t it? :) I guess the majority of our focus within the next twelve months will be around our data management and storage offerings – starting with ZFS, and the potential of dual-licensing it under the GPL to see its growth within the Linux environment (alongside MySQL). As you’ll see with our rolling out of network.com services, we plan on offering a ton of developer infrastructure as a service, as well.
buildakicker : How can this web2.0 help out or even work within the government?
Hm – that’s up to the government, no? We serve a lot of government customers, and they’re very, very interested in network computing. Governments exist to serve the people. The people have internet connections. Put two and two together – you get governments interested in the web.
JesseStay : does he anticipate a fallout of original MySQL users or fork in the mysql code and how will they handle that if it does happen?
I’m not anticipating a fork – Marten Mickos (SVP, Database Group at Sun, former CEO, MySQL) made some comments saying he was considering making available certain MySQL add-ons to MySQL Enterprise subscribers only – and as I said on stage, leaders at Sun have the autonomy to do what they think is right to maximize their business value – so long as they remember their responsibility to the corporation and all of its communities (from shareholders to developers). Not just their silo.
I think Marten got some fairly direct and immediate feedback saying the idea was a bad one – and we have no plans whatever of “hiding the ball,” of keeping any technology from the community. Everything Sun delivers will be freely available, via a free and open license (either GPL, LGPL or Mozilla/CDDL), to the community.
coogle : One question I have for him is how the Sun acquisition of MySQL is going to impact the open source space and Sun long-term?
It’s going to open a flurry of doors for MySQL, and it’s going to open a flurry of doors for Sun. It already has – as I said, the MySQL team just closed the single largest deal in the history of MySQL, a $10m deal to a global technology company. I’m pleased as punch with the progress we’re making there, and we’re deluged with inquiries from traditional enterprises (vs. Web 2.0 companies) wanting to know how to get enterprise support for a product they’ve used in development, but have, until now, not felt comfortable putting into commercial deployment. Now they feel comfortable deploying it – and we’re right there with them to help make it happen.
And we’re investing heavily to build a whole spectrum of products optimized for MySQL – stay tuned, you’ll start seeing some amazing stuff.
rghanbari : For Jonathan Schwartz: What does Google app engine mean for Sun? Programming/deployment model makes Sun platforms irrelevant
You know, one wonders how we can generate nearly $14,000,000,000 in revenue when I keep hearing technology x, y or z makes Sun irrelevant. Microsoft tells me MSN Search makes Google irrelevant. Not sure I buy that. OpenOffice doesn’t make Microsoft Office irrelevant, either, it creates competition (that’s why we have about 100,000,000 users!).
Competition’s a good thing, it creates choice. Rumor has it developers like, and value, choice. Throw a sheep at me when that stops being true.
andrewsavikas : EC2 and AppEngine get a lot more attention that sun’s grid (cloud) offerings. why is that? who’s using sun’s grid?
Tons of high performance computing customers use our grid – we never targeted the mass developer. But stay tuned, you’re going to see a lot more about network.com within the next 6 months.
GraemeThickins: Please ask Schwartz how much time he spends/day writing for his blog & how that’s changed over past year; also, does he Twitter?
Yes, I Twitter. No I won’t tell you my user ID.
And the amount of time I spent writing my blog depends upon what I have to say, and what’s going on in our business. It varies dramatically, unlike the amount of pressure I feel from the imaginary editor that sits on my shoulder telling me it’s been two weeks since I’ve posted anything pithy.
mkrigsman: Ask Jonathan Schwatrz why IT departments are so scared of web 2.0 proliferation. Awkward question for him, but he’s a big boy.
JonathanSchwartz: The companies I talk to aren’t scared of innovation, they’re in love with it – it’s a source of business value and competitive advantage. Companies scared of IT are likely to be buried by their competitors that aren’t.
Sun’s customers, bluntly put, are those that see IT as a weapon. Those that see it simply as a cost… good news, they’ll be able to reduce their costs, given clouds and free services and labor arbitrage, to near zero. But we’ll be far more focused on those delivering the network services to them that make that transition possible.
It reminds me of a discussion I had with the CIO of an oil company. He started the meeting by telling me “I don’t understand why Sun’s still around, IT’s a commodity to me, who cares?” Until I reminded him his business just delivered more in quarterly profit than we delivered in annual revenue. And his business was built upon selling a…
Commodity. In his case, oil.
Commodities are where are all the money is, just ask Google, Verizon, Goldman, Sachs or Exxon. But commoidities also require R&D – those that couple the two, R&D and an ability to navigate commodity markets, tend to do rather well.
timoreilly: Thanks a lot for agreeing to take all these extra questions, Jonathan!
Thanks, again, Tim – it’s always a pleasure to hang out.