Sun+Oracle update: not done yet, but they are in a rush

It was reported earlier this week that Oracle received an OK from US DOJ to acquire Sun. A new article suggests the reason for the speed.

Oracle had originally hoped to complete the acquisition in August. Sun shareholders on July 16 approved the $5.6 billion deal by a wide enough margin for the Justice Department to terminate the waiting period normally required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. Oracle announced the planned acquisition in April.
The Justice Department ruling came earlier than expected, a possible response to Sun’s declining revenues and precarious business position in a steep recession, as the required reviews proceeded.

How bad was it?

In the most recent quarter, hardware sales were down 33%.

This isn’t quite a cratering … unless you consider the last several quarters in a row. And this is because customers aren’t dumb, they know proprietary gear needs support (ignore the marketing … if you can’t buy the same bits on the open market from more than one source, it is proprietary).
The reason for this cratering is in part, fear over the future of Sun’s hardware business

Burton Group analyst Nik Simpson said in a July Webcast that Sun’s hardware business was “between a rock and hard place.” Rock, noting it was the code name for Sun’s next generation of UltraSparc servers. UltraSparc sales “never really recovered from the Dotcom bust,” he said during the Webcast.

Oracle has made some noises about supporting hardware going forward, but not many folks believe them.
On the HPC side, what does this mean for the product offerings going forward?
Their (nominally) HPC stacks include:

  • Lustre: a cluster file system
  • GridEngine: a resource manager
  • Compiler tools: made redundant by cancellation of Sparc projects

I don’t think there is a long or bright future ahead in HPC for Sun or Sun’s brands at Oracle. I could be wrong, maybe Larry Ellison wants to take over that market.
I also don’t think there is a bright future ahead for much of Sun’s hardware portfolio. The option for a large vendor to buy it basically came off the table when IBM and HP began hitting them hard. I can confirm that the vendor we hear about most from our customers in talking about Sun hardware exchange is HP.
HP, IBM, and many others are going after any and all Sun business they can. Why buy them when you can beat them?
Like SCO of not many years ago, the metaphorical fat lady is about to belt out a long sad tune. A dirge I think.
(n.b. any Sun Thumper x4500 or Thor x4540 or cluster/storage customers that want to do a trade in, do contact us . We will help you. )