Game over: Sun snarfed up by Oracle

See the PR.

Oh my.

Imagine one of several scenarios.

Scenario 1: All other hardware vendors drop Oracle certification efforts and cease selling Oracle on their platforms as Oracle hasn’t stopped directly competing with them.

Scenario 2: Sun hardware largely goes by-by, enmasse, so Oracle can focus upon the bits that make sense for its business, and not piss its partners off too badly.

I am guessing it is going to wind up much closer to 2 than to 1. Wouldn’t be surprised if the hardware is spun out and sold off or closed.

This said, I think, while it may be early, it is safe to say that HPC at Sun is likely (completely) done. As is storage … though I suspect Oracle may wish to sell that off to EMC or someone.

Wild guess …. Since Oracle will own Solaris, and it has been developing an open source alternative to zfs named btrfs, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if zfs is finally open sourced (as in GPLed). Yeah, you can argue that CDDL is somehow open. But if you can’t cross polinate between projects, open-ness is not really there … is it? Oracle looks to do GPL when they OSS something.

[update] kudos to Sun’s board for the additional suitor. Unfortunately, it looks like Oracle hung back to wait and see what IBM would do. Its $7B offer toast, they were snarfed for $5.6B.

More to the point, you can see what Sun means to Oracle. From this article:

Oracle Corp. will buy Sun Microsystems Inc. for $5.6 billion excluding cash and debt, calling Sun’s Java “the most important software” it has ever acquired.


There is another quote from

“The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. “Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system — applications to disk — where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up.”

Well, if he sticks to this, then this is scenario 1. And a good thing for EnterpriseDB and Greenplum.

Yeah, suffice it to say that HPC at Sun is likely over.

[update 2] Gets curiouser and curiouser. Sun owns MySQL. No Oracle owns MySQL. Sun has lots of PostgreSQL engineers. Now Oracle does.

Thats worth a great deal more than the hardware me-thinks.

Good job Larry … good job! Masterful stroke.

I don’t think he wanted to wait for Sun to finish imploding and then collect it at the fire sale (ala SGI). He wanted the technology off the auction table.


[update 3] Gets curiouser and curiouser. Sun also owns Lustre. Talking with partners/customers over the last several months suggests the vast majority of them with a Lustre dependency have been looking to … um … mitigate the risk … yeah, thats it … of having a Lustre dependency. There are a few die hards, and they are not going to let it go without prying from cold dead fingers … but … the rest of them are scrambling to find alternatives. The folks we had spoken to all were fearful of the directions they had heard eminating from Sun on its future.

[update 4] according to this article

Oracle President Safra Catz said on a conference call that Oracle intends to make the hardware division profitable. Sun’s top-selling products are high-end servers and storage gear.

Catz said the acquisition, which the companies expect to close this summer, will add at least 15 cents per share to earnings in the first full year after closing.

Hearing a number of rumors and other bits. Most likely road to profitability for this hardware … is selling the hardware division off to a hardware company.

Oracle could go for the vertically integrated stack (ala Cisco) …

Just think … an Oracle appliance box, complete with Oracle storage, Oracle backup, …

Oracle will own MySQL, many PostgreSQL developers, Lustre, Java, Solaris, and other bits.

MySQL … probably turn it into a weapon against Microsoft SQL server. Make it a gateway database. Lustre shouldn’t be used where OCFS2 is. No real advantage there. Java … well … its Java. Solaris … rapidly declining market share … may be fine as an appliance OS ala Nexenta … but for databases. They will still need a switch/network vendor and others for the full on integrated stack.

I dunno … Not really sure if they are going this route. But they sure as heck arent going to try to purposefully tank sales before they decide what to do.

More than likely the sales route (selling off the hardware that can be sold off) will be done. Some will likely be shut down.

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11 thoughts on “Game over: Sun snarfed up by Oracle

  1. Heh … look at the update … wondered the same thing. Also PostgreSQL … Sun has a fair number of the core team on its payroll.

  2. Oracle already owned the InnoDB storage engine from MySQL after their purchase of Innobase OY in 2005, so perhaps they’ll calve off both groups together ?

  3. Yeah … but by purchasing them, they have forestalled competitors going to one or the other, and actively contributing to these projects.

    Wow. Larry lucked out (or it was engineered by him). Absolutely masterful stroke. Fell most of your competition in one acquisition, and limit the possible responses of your (new) competitors.

  4. Don’t forget that Oracle was already developing btrfs for the Linux kernel too, in order to bring some of the capabilities that ZFS had shown were useful to Linux.. Now they own ZFS they might (if they can get rid of the NetApp suit) consider relicensing it to allow them to speed that work up – or maybe even see if they can merge it separately..

    Oh the joys of speculating without responsibility.. 😉

  5. Two bits: Rumour are flying that the hardware parts will be pared off to HP. And the btrfs developer has had to spend a lot of time fixing ext3/4, so there’s little forward momentum for btrfs right now.

  6. @anon

    Would make sense on the hardware side … HP has an embrace and sell view of the world. Will be interesting to see if this happens. HPaqDecSun … eek!

    btrfs just made it into the kernel, and there have been a flurry of fixes up to March. Not sure what Chris is up to, but I suspect that there may be remissioning in the near future.

  7. Given that no one is making a profit on HPC hardware alone, I also think that spinning this off makes sense. SUN’s Rock and T2 chips have nice features in the multi threading department, but at what price (and performance ratio)?

    Hardware has become a commodity for 90% of the appliances and this number is increasing. Integration and software is the differentiating factor, but being a profitable software company is a challenge in itself with the availability of good community-driven products.

    My guess is that they will chase IBM with an unified solution and consulting stack.

  8. I just finished an article on btrfs for Linux Mag. Should be up in a couple of weeks (not a shameless plug per say, but…. 🙂 ). Anyway, I think btrfs will actually be better than ZFS in the long run. It has features and capabilities that ZFS might not. On the other hand it will take a few years for btrfs to be accepted a mainstream file system (always takes time).

    My money is on btrfs in the long run 🙂


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