Friday, December 14, 2007

Lessons in schitzophrenia from Sun's customers

From Don McAskill (via Robert Scoble) and Jonathon Schwartz comes fascinating insight into the complete dichotomy that is the IT world today. What I find especially interesting is the range of personalities ranging from the paranoid (e.g. "anything Sun does in the Intel/Linux/Windows space is bad for SPARC/Solaris") to the zealot (e.g. "screw what got you here, open everything up and do it low/zero margin").

I'm not surprised that the CTO audience (as represented by McAskill) was more eager to push Sun into new technologies than the CIOs. First, Sun has always been a company by engineers, for engineers, to engineer. Their sales success has come from selling to a technical audience, not a business audience. (Contrast this with IBM, or even Microsoft at the department level.) Second, CIOs are always struggling to keep up with the cost of implementing new technologies, while CTOs are being pushed to discover and implement them--in part to keep their own technical staff's skills relevant in the modern marketplace.

That's not to say that CIOs aren't technology conscious or CTOs don't care about the bottom line--I grossly exaggerated to make a point, after all--but the tendencies indicated by Jonathon aren't surprising in this light.

What I find especially fascinating, however, is that even though both the business and technical cases are made for utility/cloud computing, its the grunts that are blocking implementation in even the most forward thinking data center. Again, utility computing touches everything and everyone, and that is scary as hell, even to a hard core techie.

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