Debian Founder Murdock Now Sun's Cloud Strategist

Jan 28, 2009

Debian Linux founder and former OpenSolaris chief Ian Murdock is taking over the role of chief strategist for cloud computing at Sun Microsystems.

The result of a restructuring at Sun last November has given Ian Murdock the new role of VP of Cloud Computing Strategy, which Murdock recently announced in a video interview with his former Sun colleague Barton George. George, now at Lombardi Software, had met Murdock, his previous boss, at the Cloud Connect event in Mountain View CA and asked him his reason for being there. Murdoch told him that he was there on business to get some clarity on cloud computing in general and Sun's upcoming role in it. As he says in the interview, "Obviously I have a deep background in Linux distributions," and he compared his move to the work he had put into the origins of Linux since 1993. He was looking for a "Linux distribution equivalent in this cloud computing industry" and saw a similarity especially in the development of open standards, "given the role that Sun has played in the industry for the past 25 years around open standards." As he predicts, "I think this is going to be a pretty big part of Sun's contribution to cloud computing."

A day after the video interview Murdock followed up with a blog to explain things a bit more. As he writes, "Over the years, facets of cloud computing have had many names: ASP, grid computing, utility computing, Web services, SOA, mashups, SaaS, Web 2.0." For him these trends combine into one thing: cloud computing.

He recalls the term "Internet operating system" that Tim O'Reilly (founder and head of the publishing company) came up with in his 2002 "Inventing the Future" article. Murdock then formulated some strategic ideas in the form of questions: "Who, then, will come along and similarly stitch the pieces of the cloud together into a cohesive platform?... And what will be the equivalent of package management for the cloud, the technology that weaves all the independent pieces maintained by those thousands of hands together...?"

No coincidence that platform visionary Murdock is now playing a decisive role in Sun's cloud strategy. Only a few weeks ago Sun acquired the Q-Layer cloud computing company. A significant part of Q-Layer's product palette is NephOS, which provides a data center abstraction layer over existing hardware and virtualization solutions. Dave Douglas, senior VP for cloud computing at Sun since the summer of 2008, has his own take on the cloud computing presence in a video presentation.

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Comments

  • Abstract bubble

    This all sounds pretty abstract to me. Both this article and the cloud computing itself. I don't see any utility in my relying on a fuzzily defined cloud and entrust it my data.

    I am not sure if this is not a bubble which bursts in five years or disappears silently.

    May be some visionaries see more.

    Can anyone describe the utility of such a cloud in more obvious terms?
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