Monday, September 12, 2005

SunWorld Offline

The monthly columns I wrote for SunWorld Online between 1995 and 1999 seem to have gone offline. At one point after SunWorld shut down I got permission from the editors at ITworld to take back the content, remove the adverts, and host it on the Sun site. Since I left Sun in 2004 the link has been closed down. I think there is still some useful content and historical interest in the columns, which seem to have been copied to a few other places already. I'm going to dig them out of my archives, and repost them here, along with comments and perhaps a few corrections and updates.

The original idea for the column came from a featured article on the Sun homepage in 1995 where I talked about the release of my first book, Sun Performance and Tuning - SPARC and Solaris. This generated an offer from the editors at SunWorld Online to do a monthly Performance Q&A column. I thought it worked out very well. I got paid for the column, which forced me to write something every month, and I based the columns on questions from the readers, or parts of the original book that needed to be updated, or parts of the second edition that I was writing during this period.

The monthly column seemed to have the effect of positioning me as the expert to quite a wide public, and I'm sure it helped me get promoted to Distinguished Engineer in 1999. I stopped writing the column due to a combination of being too busy, running out of topics to write about, and the introduction of the BluePrint program.

In effect, several engineers had created books and columns in their spare time, and we worked with management to make it an official program for publishing Sun's best practices on how to configure products and combinations of products. This made it our day job, which was easier in some ways, and we had support staff and more detailed reviews, but we didn't get paid royalties for doing the BluePrint columns or books. After a few years and several books (The very first BluePrint on Resource Management, and one on Capacity Planning) I moved on from the BluePrint group, but the program is still running and there is a large body of work there now.

There are over forty columns. I could post them en-masse unedited but I think they can already be found lurking in Google. It seems like more fun to try and remember what was going on at the time and make it an anecdotal reminiscence.