Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sunset.... This was my last post at Sun Microsystems

The vote by the stockholders was approved to sell Sun Microsystems in July 2009.

This will be my last blog at Sun Microsystems. I do not know what the future holds at this point. I imagine that I will be told along with everyone else when/if the Oracle acquisition of Sun occurs. I am ending my blogging at Sun because it just feels like the right time to do this and I want greater flexibility in expressing my personal views. I do clearly understand and respect the legal requirements when a company is being acquired.

I chose the photo above because my best memories of Sun were at Sun's Club for High Achievers and that was called Sunrise Club. I was fortunate in that I was selected to go to 7 of them in my career.

Sun Microsystems will be just a memory, but a GREAT memory for those of us who put in a lot of blood, sweat, hard smart work, and fun all while creating lifelong friendships. I came here as a true believer in "Open Systems for Open Minds" and that has been part of my DNA. I will always bleed Sun purple :-)

What was the most fun I had at Sun? That's really easy. Working with Dave Patterson at Berkeley to reinvent the machine tool industry with MTConnect.

What was I the most proud of? My oldest son, John, being selected Sun's Campus Ambassador of the Month out of over 500 Sun Campus Ambassadors.

What team effort at Sun am I most proud of? That is much harder for me. I would say it would be a three way tie:

  • The East Coast Technology Center (ECTC) that was an all SE volunteer group that created a Technology Center that held over 400 benchmarks and POCs in the Dunn Loring and McLean, VA Sun Microsystems offices.
  • Software Genius University (SGU) This was also an SE led effort working with a variety of groups around Sun that put together over 740 hours of content.
    • A little background history...

      Sun SGU grew out of the extremely successful Software Genius Program (SGP). The
      genesis of SGP was a conversation that Scott Radeztsky and I had in the fall of
      2005 when we asked the basic question, "what can we do to help the SEs to
      embrace the developer and Sun's software stack?"
      In January 2006, we kicked
      off the Software Genius Program Council (SGPC) where the SEs in Americas
      Software Practice created ten courses, or twenty hours, of software training.
      This program had one goal - to ensure Sun's Systems Engineers were properly
      equipped with the necessary software knowledge and skills to be successful.

      Sun SGU served a very important need when it was announced globally on July 1st
      2007. SGU now has 740 hours of course work in it and the best of that content
      will be transitioned to Software University.
      There are countless individuals
      who should be thanked for the (literally) 1,000s of hours that went into Sun SGU.
      We will continue to make the necessary student competence mappings transitions
      from the Sun SGU's University certifications levels to Software University's
      much like we did with the global Solaris training that came out
      of Dan Berg's organization last FY. We will make it very clear regarding the
      how, when, where, why and what as we go through this effort.
  • Last but not least, was the High Performance Workstations opportunity that put $2BILLION (Billion with a B) into Sun Microsystems over the years.
    • A little background history...

      When I first spoke with Sun Microsystems, it was the summer of 1984 and Betsy MacLean (later Ferry) and Steve Ferry had recently went over to Sun Microsystems from Systems Development Corporation (SDC) a Division of Burroughs Corporation. I met Betsy and Steve while we were all at SDC. It is interesting to note that SDC based in Santa Monica, California, was arguably the world's first computer software company as noted by Wikipedia. I was not smart enough to go over to Sun in 1984 :-)

      Sun was founded in 1982 with Sun standing for Stanford University Network (SUN).

      In 1986, I was an SE for SDC and technical lead for a HUGE and extremely challenging opportunity for High Performance Workstations opportunity where Sun Microsystems was the digital workstation and Masscomp was the analog workstation of choice. At the end of 1986 and long after the completion of the bid and benchmarks, I started talking to Sun Microsystems about working there. I started on May 4th, 1987.

      Betsy hired me and was a great manager and leader. My mentor was Neil Groundwater who was clearly the smartest person in computers that I had ever met. In the summer of 1987 we found out we won the HPW business that has since been worth at least $2 BILLION to Sun Microsystems over the years - yes that is B as in BILLION. Steve Ferry was THE Sales Rep on this opportunity and to this day is far and away the best Sales Rep I have ever seen/worked with and a great friend to this day.

I already thanked Scott, Bill, Andy, Vinod and John previously, but you can check it again here.

For everyone else, there are way too many people to thank from fellow employees to customers to partners and most importantly - family and friends.

Most importantly, I must thank my beautiful wife - Julie - for all her support through thick and thin.

If you are interested in following Dave Edstrom's blog, my private blog is at:

Dave Edstrom's private blog

I will definitely keep blogging on software, technology, life and of course Corvettes :-)

You can also reach me here via LinkedIn:

My private email is

I would be a liar if I did NOT state that I am bummed that Sun Microsystems had to end this way. As the often quoted old poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. (1807–1892) goes:

"Of all sad songs of tongue and and pen, the saddest are these, what might have been....."

Stay in touch, take care and remember the three things that I, Dave Edstrom Sun employee #3705, always tells people:

  1. Life is short.
  2. Death is certain.
  3. If you do not make your own decisions now, time will make them for you....

MTConnect HUGE Success At IMTS 2008

MTConnect at IMTS 2008 was a HUGE SUCCESS. Above is the sign describing the approach to MTConnect based on open, royalty-free standards.

IMTS is an amazing show to attend. As the good folks at AMT like to say, machine tools are the "things that make the things". What you see above is an engine block that is approximately 16 FEET in length and made with a machine tool. Machine tools are just one example of the manufacturing technology that is shown at ITMS.

Above is Dr. Dave Patterson (second from the left) and three members of the AMT Board of Directors watching the MTConnect video at the MTConnect display at the Emerging Technology Center.

Above Dr. Armando Fox and Dr. Dave Patterson discuss MTConnect during the private executive tour.

Andy Dugenske of Georgia Institute of Technology, sent me this photo when we were watching one of the MTConnect videos when I happened to be on the video stating that "MTConnect will be a revolution and not an evolution in the manufacturing technology sector".

Above was the most popular screen at the MTConnect area at the Emerging Technology Center where you could select one of the 25 companies listed and get real time data on what the machine tool was dolng at the exact second. A great example of how easy MTConnect can be to implement is the lower right LNS selection. LNS asked if they could be part of MTConnect on a Tuesday evening. Will Sobel, Consultant and Adjunct Professor at UCB pointed them at the MTConnect homepage where the MTConnect SDK lives. They spent that evening writing the adapter. The next morning Will Sobel went to their display and had them up and running in less than a 1/2 an hour.

Above John Turner of GE FANUC shows of GE FANUC's MTConnect GE FANUC PC8 (that is a black box that makes it extremely easy to plug multiple types of machine tools on one side and ethernet ports on the other) to Dr. Dave Patterson of UCB. We believe it was the PC8 first MTConnect sale EVER and it happened at IMTS 2008.

Above is the close up of GE FANUC's PC8 MTConnect device.

MTConnect and specifically AMT is sponsoring an MTConnect Student Competition where the winner(s) will receive a trip to Milan, Italy to attend EMO MILANO!

You can see that all of us are extremely happy that MTConnect was such a huge success. From left to right, Dave Edstrom, Dr. Armando Fox of UCB, Dr. Dave Patterson of UCB, Dr. Dave Dornfield of UCB, Will Sobel, Consultant and Adjunct Professor of UCB, Andy Dugenske of Georgia Institute of Technology and Athulan Vijayaraghavan, Ph.D. student at UCB. This is the most fun and most technically satisfying experience I have had in my 30 years in the computer industry....