Acquisition day T + 5: We learn more

Ok, looks like I was dead on right on some aspects, and likely pie in the sky with others. Here is where I was right.

This acquisition was, and is, about Java and MySQL. From The Register yesterday:

Exclusive Oracle’s senior management has expressed its love for Sun Microsystems’ software and hardware but warned tough decisions are coming on what people and products stay.

President Charles Phillips and chief corporate architect Edward Screven have committed to keeping Java open and to not killing MySQL.

Yup. Makes sense.


But also stated …

They also mocked the idea Oracle would simply shut down or close off certain technologies and talked tough on Oracle’s smarts as a hardware vendor.

… which they have to do to prevent Sun’s hardware sales from tanking pre-close. We know this. And they are going to keep making these noises up until the close. If not a little after the close.

Until the pink slips come.

Whats interesting is that some of the rumors we had heard appear to be confirmed, with more information.

The meeting came two days after Oracle announced its plan to purchase Sun. It’s Oracle’s second pass at Sun, following an earlier joint proposal with Hewlett-Packard – blocked by IBM – that would have seen HP get Sun’s hardware and Oracle buy Sun’s software.

So why would Oracle suddenly decide to keep the hardware? Doesn’t make sense.

Here is where I seem to have gotten it wrong. OpenOffice. While the Reg claims it is years behind Microsoft office, I respectfully disagree. It is actually quite good. We use it for most of our work. I suspect the Reg folks haven’t tried using 3.0.

Asked specifically about the future of OpenOffice by one Sun employee, Phillips said he couldn’t comment on any product line or set but noted it’s something Oracle will be examining. Sun is the largest contributor to OpenOffice.org and has made a principle of using the suite as its corporate standard for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

This is basically saying it is dead.

Sad.

But we do have fairly good confirmation on HPC. It is indeed over.

Screven dodged on Oracle’s plans for Sun’s work on high-performance computing. “You can be sure if it’s a fast growing product for Sun, it’s probably going to attract our attention,” he said.

but not just HPC

Also, it’s looking like the end of the line for any work Sun’s done on cloud.

Ellison has dismissed the concept of cloud computing in the past.

Screven backed this line, saying Oracle’s focus on cloud is as an infrastructure provider delivering virtualization and management technology to let customers build their own clouds.

This is good, in that it suggests that Ellison has a good grasp of the limitations of the cloud. There are quite a few. He will help people build them, and provide virtualization (remember VirtualBox? looks like its going to get ramped up).

Its bad in that customers building business cases around HPC and/or cloud technologies from Sun are basically SOL. What does that include on the HPC side?

Lustre.

But of course, since Sun is a hardware company, they need to say something about the hardware. Which they do.

Phillips and Screven also tried to re-assure employees that Oracle is not about to sell of the hardware business, saying Oracle’s not as inexperienced at working with hardware as many think. According to Phillips, Oracle’s experience comes from tuning its software to partners’ hardware. Oracle engineers have also helped develop the Linux kernel.

“We know a little bit more about hardware than people think because we have to port across all these product lines…it seems like we just build software and throw it over the wall, but it’s not the way it works,” Phillips said.

Porting and tuning code for hardware is very, very different than organizing and executing plans, articulating value propositions to customers for the hardware, and supporting the same. Moreover, as Dell, HP, and IBM among all the others reselling Oracle are looking at this, they are wondering what they can do to offset this possible onslaught.

IBM is working with EnterpriseDB. This is a just-announced relationship (sorry can’t find linky right now). I am sure Dell will do similar things with EnterpriseDB and Greenplum. HP will do similar things. Oracle needs to quietly reassure their partners that they are not trying to compete with their partners.

Their discussion on storage suggests they are going to focus at the higher end. Doubtful that x45x0 will continue, as well as other things.

So there we have it. Some clarity, some nebulous information, designed not to scare customers away..

But in the end, we see the writing on the wall for lots of technology.

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