Point your browser to http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/jmw to see pictures of the Honeycomb system at NAB06. What a curious strategy: have it on the showcard; don't have it on the press release; do have it at the show; don't tell anyone publicly about it.
I received corrections from Jeremey Werner, Honeycomb Development Manager and Senior Software Engineer. about the role of Dick Sillman and Steve Waterhouse in Honeycomb's conception.
Here is a corrected story about Honeycomb and the project.
The product number is 5800, not 8500. The complete product name is the Sun StorageTek 5800. (I'm interested to see that it is not branded StorEdge as are most of Sun's storage products.)
Contrary to the received wisdom, Dick Sillman was not the inventor of Honeycomb.
The story goes that Steve Waterhouse was the Director of Engineering for the JXTA group at Sun Microsystems in 2001. Waterhouse is a very bright guy. He received B.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering from Cambridge University, England where he also received the Isaac Newton prize for outstanding Ph.D. research. Prior to Sun Microsystems, he was the VP of Engineering at Infrasearch, Inc. a distributed search technology start-up which Sun acquired in March 2001.
After that acquisition Waterhouse ran JXTA, a distributed search system, allowing clients to query multiple search engines, for a year and then he, Bill Joy and Mike Clary, a Sun VP involved with JXTA, conceived the Honeycomb idea some time in 2000. When the project recieved a 'go' Waterhouse managed the software team with Sillman later looking after the hardware.
Jeremey Werner assigns most of the Honeycomb conception credit to Steve Waterhouse: "The founder of the product, inventor of many of it's core ideas, and head of the combined software/hardware team was ... Steve Waterhouse."
A Tideway Systems bio of Waterhouse reads: "Steve has a long experience of working with and starting high growth companies and most recently was a Director at Sun Microsystems responsible for the Honeycomb product line of clustered highly available storage systems. Steve both invented the Honeycomb technology and built the entire product line from 2001 to 2005."
He hired Dick Sillman in 2002 to look after the hardware side of Honeycomb. This he did. But there was a substantial change in 2004. By then Andy Bechtolsheim had come back to Sun spreading an AMD Opteron message and this affected the project.
The hardware processing was changed to 64-bit AMD Opterons and finalised. Then the project was transferred to the Network Storage group in December, 2004, run by Fidelma Russo. Waterhouse then left Sun Microsystems and now advises for Tideway Systems and is Entrepreneur in Residence at Foundation Capital in Menlo Park, California.
Sillman is now looking after high-definition video stuff for Sun. He has not been associated with the Honeycomb project for over a year.
Sun has a 5800 at NAB and planned all along to be there ... Perhaps there was a mistake in the preparation of the press release of April 18th, but it had been planning to be at NAB all along.