AP IT SUMMIT: Sun altered policy after eBay outage

The system outages at eBay caused a major rejig in Sun Microsystems' internal rewards policy, a senior Sun executive said.

Sun is the US online auction house's hardware provider. Spearheaded by Sun chief technology officer Greg Papadopoulos, the payment for all company developers and vice presidents now depends on the level of uptime given by one thousand Sun machines sampled off the 'Net, Gage said. If any of those systems go down, Sun officials' pay is affected, he added.

EBay has been plagued with a number of system outages of late seriously impacting both the company's business and its share price.

The online auction house uses a Sun E10000 Unix enterprise server to run its business. The outage problems arose because eBay let its advanced development group use the same Sun machine that was running its day-to-day operations, leading to the system crashes, according to John Gage, Sun's chief researcher.

"We could criticise them; but the system broke, and it was Sun's fault," he said. "In some sense, we knew what eBay was doing, and we should've said, 'We're not going to sell you the machine; you're not being a good parent,'" Gage said.

The eBay experience led to Sun altering its employee reward procedure, Gage said.

"It changed our entire perspective and is a big cultural change," Gage said.

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