My New Job

^ top: Ben Rockwood, Deirdré Straughan, Brendan Gregg

I received email from a concerned reader saying: “when a writer stops writing, one of two things is happening:

— you’re blissfully happy, too happy to attempt to put it into words

— you’re utterly miserable, too miserable to find the energy to put it into words”

As I told him, it’s been both. Between health problems and a job/company that were (increasingly clearly) not a good fit for me, I was not in a happy place for quite a while. I returned to work at Oracle in early November after ~5 weeks’ medical leave, but desperately wanted a change.

That change came on December 1st: I began a new job with Joyent, a company which several Sun luminaries (far more luminous than myself) had joined over the previous months. I’m not an engineer, but when big names in Solaris engineering such as Bryan Cantrill, Jerry Jelinek, and Brendan Gregg all head to the same company, it’s time to take a look at what that company might be up to. There were other companies worth looking at for the same reason (and I did), but Joyent won out.

What Joyent does is cloud computing, a buzzword that I suspect even the non-technies among my readers have heard by now. Wikipedia describes it thus: “Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand, as with the electricity grid. Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, Service-oriented architecture and utility computing“.

Joyent has been offering cloud computing as a service for over five years: some of your favorite Facebook games run on Joyent infrastructure. But recently Joyent has begun partnering with companies such as Dell to sell our cloud software with their hardware to third parties who want to run data centers and/or sell their own cloud services.

Where do I fit into this? As the new Director of Technical Education, it’s my job to help customers at every level – from end users to service providers to systems integrator partners – learn how to use our stuff. Which means getting highly technical information out of my colleagues and putting it into a format that can be shared with other people: a familiar theme in my working life.

I’ll still be using video, but in this job I will also be designing and likely even personally delivering technical courses, in the classroom as well as via video. This is a return to the early days of my high-tech career, when I designed and taught custom courses in desktop publishing, then installed and trained people to use desktop publishing systems for the World Bank in Cameroon and Tanzania.

As a working environment, Joyent is as different from Oracle as you can get. It’s grown from 22 to 100 employees this year (thanks to some investment, in particular from Intel) and there’s still way too much work for everyone to do. The attitude is very much that things need to get done, and “it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask permission” – which, as old Sun hands know, was once Sun head Scott McNealy‘s mantra. Those who have worked with me or observed me working know that I thrive in this kind of environment, though I’m having to unlearn some Oracle conditioning (amazing what a company can do to you in only nine months).

I was sad to leave my Sun colleagues (those who hadn’t already left themselves), though of course I was rejoining some. I spent Thanksgiving weekend editing The Faces of Sun, a video tribute to some (though nowhere near all) of the amazing people I got to work with and film at Sun.

Since I started at Joyent I’ve been extremely busy (startup hours), and expect that to continue and increase, including some travel. I probably won’t have a lot of time for my site/blog; the best way to keep up with my daily doings will be Twitter @deirdres

Warmest wishes for whatever holiday you celebrate and for a wonderful 2011!

see also: Illumos in the Cloud: What is Joyent Up to?

The Faces of Sun

I’ve been meaning for a long time to make a video tribute to the amazing people of Sun Microsystems. It has been my honor and privilege to work with some of the finest minds in this industry (or any industry), many of whom I also got to film at Sun conferences and other events worldwide.

While it’s breaking my heart to witness the diaspora of Sun talent, I take comfort in knowing that, in new companies with new projects, these folks will cause a thousand new technologies to bloom. I look forward to seeing what everyone gets up to – including those who remain at Oracle – and hope you’ll all stay in touch and keep me posted. Though a situation like Sun may be unique and unrepeatable, I expect I’ll work with you again someday.

Most of the footage shown here I shot myself over three years, in varying conditions and with varying equipment. A few of these clips are someone else’s footage that I post-produced or edited. A few of the more engaging clips were created by the teams participating in the Go Game during the OpenSolaris Developers’ Summit held in 2008. Those aren’t my work, but – if you’ve got footage of David Korn dancing, you use it! (No, he was not a Sun employee; there are a few other “friends of” in here as well.)

The photos are mostly mine. I chose the song primarily for its bouncy and variable tempo, so if you find yourself juxtaposed with an unflattering lyric, don’t take it personally – it wasn’t intentional. Apologies to the many who were left out – I have too much material for one three-minute song! If you’re neither in the video nor in the Missing list below, let me know in the comments and I’ll add you.

Dec 28, 2010 – Have started updating the lists below with “where are they now” information – feel free to add comments if you know something I don’t! (And can add people who aren’t on these lists.)


in order of appearance
  • (Bruno Souza) at OSCON 2009 – Brazilian government?
  • Dominic Kay at SNIA SNW 2008 – Oracle
  • Tim Thomas at Sun’s London office, Jan 2009 – ?
  • Valerie Bubb Fenwick at OSCON 2009- Oracle
  • Cindy Swearingen at Sun’s Broomfield campus, Jan 2010- Oracle
  • John Sonnenschein, Go Game at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit, Santa Cruz, 2008 – Joyent
  • John Fowler at SC08, Austin- Oracle
  • Andy Bechtolsheim at SC08, Austin – Arista
  • Rick Ramsey & Darren Moffat at OOW10 – Oracle
  • Rossella Laeng & April Hall at SC08, Austin – n/a
  • Jeff Jackson celebrating Mardi Gras at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2009 – ?
  • Josh Simons at SC08, Austin – ?
  • Sara Dornsife at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit 2008 – PayPal
  • Sunay Tripathi at the Security Summit at LISA09 – ?
  • Roch Bourbonnais at Sun’s San Francisco office, March 2010- Oracle
  • George Wilson in San Francisco, July 2010 – Delphix
  • Constantin Gonzalez at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit 2009- Oracle
  • Niall Power at Sun’s Dublin office, Jan 2009
  • Dan Templeton, Miha Ahronovitz, Gregory Shirin at SC08, Austin- Oracle
  • Mike Shapiro & Steve O’Grady in San Francisco, Sept 2008 – ?, still at RedMonk
  • Rich Breuckner SC09 – InsideHPC (owner)
  • Mark Cruciani & Margaret Hamburger in Sun’s Eagan office – ?, Oracle
  • Drew Wilson & Sherry Menne celebrating Mardi Gras at Sun’s Menlo Park campus 2009 – Oracle
  • Diana Wadding, Tina Hartshorn, Wendy Ames at the Open Storage Summit 2009 – Oracle
  • ? & Jerry Jelinek at CommunityOne 2009 – Jerry’s at Joyent
  • Margaret Hamburger & Matthew Baier in Broomfield – Oracle
  • Brendan Gregg at Fishworks 2010 – Joyent
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Rafael Vanoni, Vitorio Sassi at FISL, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2009 – President of Brazil, ?, ?
  • Jeff Bonwick, Bryan Cantrill playing the marker game at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2010 – mystery startup, Joyent
  • Roma Baron at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2010 – Oracle
  • Bryan Cantrill at LISA09 – Joyent
  • Sumit Gupta at Sun’s Broomfield campus, 2007 – ?
  • Lori Alt at Sun’s Broomfield campus, 2008 – Oracle
  • Jeff Cheeney, Reed, ? at SNW 2008 – ?
  • Adam Leventhal at the Open Storage Summit 2009 – Delphix
  • Dave Miner at the Solaris Summmit at LISA10 – Oracle
  • Peter Bojanic at the HPC Consortium 2008 – ?
  • Dale Layfield at SC09
  • Larry McIntosh at SC09
  • Terri Wischmann at the Open Storage Summit 2008 – Oracle
  • Chris Horne at Sun’s Broomfield campus, 2007
  • Dan Roberts at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2010 – dev tools company
  • Chris Armes at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2010 – Oracle
  • Bill Nesheim at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2010 – Oracle
  • Bill Pijewski, Mike Harsch at Sun’s Broomfield campus, 2010 – Joyent
  • Thorsten Freauf at Sun’s Menlo Park campus, 2008 – Oracle
  • Mayuresh Nirhali at Tech Days, Hyderabad, 2010; Paul Needle at Sun’s London office, 2009 – Oracle
  • Prasad Pai at the HPC Consortium 2008 – Oracle
  • Cristiano Basso & Brian Leonard at FISL 2009 – ?, Oracle
  • Lynn Rohrer, Simon Phipps, fan at FISL 2009 – Oracle, Forgerock
  • FISL attendees 2009
  • Arun Gupta, Eduardo Lima, Mauricio Leal at FISL 2009 – Oracle, ?, ?
  • Alan DuBoff et al Go Game at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit 2008 – ?
  • Dan Maslowski & Scott Tracy at CommunityOne 2009- Oracle
  • Scott Rotondo at OSCON 2009- Oracle
  • Dennis Maher at the Security Summit at LISA09- Oracle
  • Ashu Tripathi at the Open Source Grid & Cluster Conference 2008- Oracle
  • Bruno Souza & Jack Adams at OSCON 2009
  • Juergen Schleich at home 2009
  • Simon Phipps, Charlie Boyle, Angel Camacho in Porto Alegre, Brazil 2009 – Forgerock, Oracle, EMC
  • Java fans with Roger Brinkley at FISL 2009
  • Teresa Giacomini at FISL 2009- Oracle
  • Tim Bray & Bryan Cantrill at OOW09 – Google, Joyent
  • Durjoy Mazumdar at OOW09- Oracle
  • Joost Pronk at OOW10- Oracle
  • Darren Moffat at the Security Summit at LISA09- Oracle
  • Liane Praza, Dave Miner, Bart Smaalders, Dan Price, Dan Roberts at LISA10- Oracle, except for Dan R.
  • Markus Flierl at the Solaris Summmit at LISA10- Oracle
  • Liane Praza at the Solaris Summmit at LISA10- Oracle
  • Glenn Faden at the Solaris Summmit at LISA10- Oracle
  • Nicolas Droux at the Solaris Summmit at LISA10- Oracle
  • Ellard Roush at the Security Summit at LISA09- Oracle
  • Art Licht at the Open Road to Storage, Broomfield, 2009- Oracle
  • Alex Barclay at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Sept 2009
  • Meenakshi Kaul-Basu at Sun’s Menlo Park campus 2008- Oracle
  • Gia-Khanh Nguyen at Sun’s Menlo Park campus 2008- Oracle
  • Graham Scattergood at Sun’s London office 2009
  • Jim Mauro (stunt) & Dan Price at LISA10- Oracle
  • Jack Adams & Nick Solter at OSCON 2009 – ?, Context Optional
  • Diana Wadding at Sun’s Broomfield campus 2009- Oracle
  • OSUG Leaders, Tim Marsland at CommunityOne 2009 – ?
  • Kelly Nishimura & Bill Franklin at CommunityOne 2009 – ?, ?
  • Joy Marshall, Frank Lindquist, Lynn Rohrer at CommunityOne 2009- Oracle, ?, Oracle
  • Bruno Souza & Aaron Newcomb at FISL 2009 – ?, Oracle
  • David Gwynne & Garrett D’Amore at the Kernel Conference Australia 2009 – ?, Nexenta
  • Kris Hake at CommunityOne 2009
  • Lynn Rohrer at FISL 2009- Oracle
  • Christoph Schuba at the Security Summit at LISA09- Oracle
  • Drew Wilson at LISA08- Oracle
  • Fritz Ferstl at the Open Source Grid & Cluster Conference 2008
  • Jeff Bonwick & Bill Moore at SNIA 2008, maybe – mystery startup (both of them)
  • ? & David Korn Go Game at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit 2008
  • Ben Rockwood & Deirdré Straughan at LISA09 – Joyent
  • Kuldip Oberoi & Don Kretsch at Sun’s Menlo Park campus 2010- Oracle
  • Jim Mauro at Sun’s San Francisco office 2010- Oracle
  • Brendan Gregg at Fishworks 2010 – Joyent
  • Jeff Cheeney, Jim Grisanzio, Michelle Luna, Chris Baker Go Game at the Open Solaris Developers’ Summit 2008 – ?, Oracle, Oracle, Oracle
  • Harriet Coverston at the SAM-QFS BoF at SC09 – ?
  • Brendan Gregg at Sun’s Broomfield campus, FROSUG Oct 2009 – “Who turned out the lights?”


People I have actually filmed but could not lay hands on the footage, or there just wasn’t room for it (this list is destined to grow). Some of these videos are were for a time available on, others were lost in the move to Oracle (not by me!). A lot of the video I shot for Sun/Oracle (and more) is on my YouTube channel.

  • Aaron Dailey- Oracle
  • John Forte- Oracle
  • Jim Dunham
  • Spencer Shepler
  • Robert Thurlow- Oracle
  • Mark Carlson- Oracle
  • …and a bunch of others at SNIA SDC 2007. And 2008.
  • Stephen S. Teppler Esq.
  • Glynn Foster- Oracle
  • the NWAM team- Oracle
  • Peter Karlsson- Oracle
  • Philip Torchinsky- Oracle
  • Bill Nesheim- Oracle
  • …and several others at Tech Days Hyderabad
  • Charles Baker- Oracle
  • Clay Baenziger- Oracle
  • Arnaud Lacour – ?
  • …and others at various editions of FROSUG
  • James McPherson- Oracle
  • Max Bruning – Joyent
  • Sherry Moore- Oracle
  • Gavin Maltby
  • …and others at the Kernel Conference Australia 2009

For more nostalgia, see Jim Grisanzio’s beautiful album of OpenSolaris community photos (yes, I’m in there, too).

How to Build Better Applications with DTrace

Brendan Gregg presents at Oracle OpenWorld 2010.

Part 2

Download: part 1, full res (884 MB), part 1 blip SD (325 MB), part 2 full res (858 MB), part 2 blip SD (278 MB)

filmed and edited by Deirdré Straughan