Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

Summary: Most interesting will be the way that Oracle matches the Sun assets against HP's burgeoning partnership with Oracle. Will HP perhaps buy Sun's hardware and IC IP outright after the Oracle acquisition is final? I'd bet on it.


The reported acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle today makes a ton more sense than IBM's earlier failed bid. This new compact, if it succeeds, will bring as good an end to an independent Sun as the pioneering (yet long flagging) IT vendor could have hoped for at this sorry stage in its history.

But there are much larger implications in Oracle's latest super-grab than Sun's demise and assimilation. Among them is the fact that IBM now -- for the first time, really -- has a true, full and global counter weight to its role and influence. Oracle plus Sun aligned with Hewlett-Packard (which I fully expect) meets and begins to beat IBM at all the important full-service IT games.

This is truly healthy for IT and the global IT marketplace. IBM's earlier purported bid for Sun always smelled bad to me. I was, it turned out, mostly a red herring. Perhaps Oracle needed the IBM roller coaster ride to focus its intentions. Nonetheless, the outcome is optimal. It bodes well for cloud computing too, as Oracle just about overnight becomes a cloud force to reckon with. I always thought Larry Ellison was just biding time on this one. The recession has hastened the timetable.

Other than IBM's unassailed hegemony, the other losers in this are Microsoft (actually possibly creeping to irrelevancy faster than anyone could have imagined three years ago), SAP, and Cisco Systems. Amazon may also get getting more competition soon on the platform as a service front. Using Sun's cloud investments, implementations and plans, Ellison can also quickly forge together his own counter-weight to Salesforce.com. No need to buy it now (for a while).

Open source in general, too, may take a hit, as I don't expect Unbreakable Linux to remain Oracle's point on the operating system arrow. Solaris will be the prime Oracle OS for performance, meaning Oracle's channel pipeline to Red Hat will shrink. And MySQL will be a means and not an ends for Oracle, which would, of course, prefer an Oracle 11g cloud instead.

Suffice to say that whatever momentum Sun had behind open source everywhere will be muted to open source some times as a ramp to other Oracle stuff, or to grow the community and keep developers happy. If nothing else, Oracle has been pragmatic on open source, not religious.

Like IBM, Oracle will have little interest or need for open source middleware or service oriented architecture (SOA) components. Further, given Oracle's early and deep interest in Eclipse and OSGi, the Java tools will stay free and open (with a lot of Oracle wizards embedded across the database and other middleware). The tussle for influence between Oracle and IBM in Eclipse and the Java Community Process (JCP) will be great fun to watch in coming years. Again, this is healthy. (Good thing Sun opened this up, eh?)

No other company has shown an ability to merge and integrate at the massive scale and complexity that Oracle has. It's acquisition spree that began five years ago is unprecedented in its scope and level of success. We have no reason to suspect that the way it handles Sun will be any different.

[Update: Not everyone is as sanguine on the deal as I am. TIBCO Software's CEO Vivek Ranadive, in an interview on BriefingsDirect with Rich Seeley, states his concerns.]

Winners on the deal include Java itself in the fullest and broadest sense. Oracle and IBM are the premier Java vendors, and the might of IBM (and its customers and developers) in the market will force Oracle to keep Java open and vibrant, while Oracle's penchant for control and commercial success will keep Java safe and singular. I expect the old BEA WebLogic implementations now at Oracle to gather some minor bundles from Sun's software portfolio, but Sun's enterprise software stack (for all intents and purposes) is history. I can't see Glass Fish or Net Beans going anywhere but bye-bye. Same with the Sun SOA stuff.

Most interesting will be the way that Oracle matches the Sun assets against HP's burgeoning partnership with Oracle. Will HP perhaps buy Sun's hardware, storage and integrated cicuits intellectual property outright after the Oracle acquisition is final? I'd bet on it. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDIrect podcasts.]

The Exadata announcement last fall is a good example of what to expect. Business intelligence is the killer enterprise application of the day (era), and Oracle and HP aim to win. Coupling Oracle BI and business applications is something special ... better potentially than what IBM and SAP can do. Should we expect from this Oracle-Sun merger some more love or more between IBM and SAP. Oh, ya!

We should expect to see a major go-to-market push by HP and Oracle, with all kinds of appliances and solutions portfolios. Both Oracle's and HP's love of virtualization allows all kinds of neat packaging. Expect some of the industry's premier on-premises cloud solutions ASAP.

Indeed, we now have a land grab race for the modernized data center/private cloud between Oracle/Sun/HP and IBM. What's more, HP with all the old DEC stuff, plus Sun's Unix, may keep Unix alive and well while keeping IBM at bay with its everything mainframe lust.

On the blue sky front, consider if Apple and Google get closer to the Oracle-Sun-HP trifecta? Wow. Cloud city.

Larry Ellison correctly predicted a few years ago that only a few IT companies would remain. Maybe we should just remove the "IT" and keep it at only a few companies will remain -- and Oracle will be one of them.

Talk about pure irony ... It was when Oracle turned its back on Sun four years ago with the unbreakable Linux and Java process business (Eclipse over NetBeans, OSGi support, etc.) that Sun's nosedive deepened. In a sense, you could say that Oracle pushed Sun off a cliff in slow motion, only to catch the pieces at fire sale prices.

Topics: Browser, Banking, Software, Oracle, Open Source, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Enterprise Software, CXO, Software Development

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  • You said ...

    "Open source, too, may take a hit, as I don?t expect Unbreakable Linux to remain Oracle?s point on the OS arrow. Solaris will be the prime OS, meaning Oracle?s channel pipeline to Red Hat will shrink."

    As one WHO has a TON of SUN Certs on the wall, I can say, baloney.

    As LONG as SUN keeps insisting on using Sys 5 tools (you know the shell, tar, cpio, grep ..et.all) it will remain inferior to FOSS, and Linux will continue to gain ground.

    I have said all along, what SUN needs to do is make the SOLARIS kernel a drop in replacement for the LINUX kernel (Not the there is anything wrong with the Linux kernel) for migratory considerations. NOW that would be the next "Killer" tech ....
    • What point is there in that?

      A drop in replacement would for all intents and purposes kill solaris's differentiation from linux. I dont see the value for SUN or Oracle to do that.

      And those tools were retained for a good reason. The newer and shinier versions that you are probably used to using arent particularly better.
  • RE: Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

    Can you elaborate on why you don't think SOA and middleware is very important to Oracle or IBM. Certainly they both have extensive offerings in these areas and I don't see any indication from Oracle that it's not now, and won't continue to be, an important part of their offerings.
    • Open source only

      I said OPEN SOURCE middleware and SOA, all else is pedal to the metal.
      And they may need to go OSS on these others, but only as they have to.
      • Great stuff, Dana

        I loved the original post. I wish you had touched more on the dev aspect
        of things (JDev, Eclipse, Netbeans). The dev environment has a lot of
        implications on an end to end solution. Today, using JDev, you can design
        your database, generate it, generate Java app stubs for it, and then
        design the web side of it (using Oracle's ADF or App Dev. Framework, aka
        JSF on steroid). Also, the OSGi thing will be interesting to track.
        Good stuff!
      • RE: Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

        Maybe we should just remove the IT and keep it at only a few companies will remain and Oracle will be one of them.<a href="http://ipadbagblog.com/"><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
  • RE: Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

    bye mysql!, bye java!.
    • Bye perhaps MySQL

      but i doubt that Oracle will stop developing Java anytime soon. To the contrary i think that they will increase the integration of Java with products such their database engine.
    • Wrong....

      MySql and Java are both open and if Oracle decides to try and kill them, they will just be forked to a new project and continue on.
      linux for me
  • RE: Hooray! Oracle acquisition of Sun makes perfect sense

    So is Mysql dead? Does the licence allow someone else to pick up the ball?
    • Not dead ...

      ... But Oracle will use this to gut MSFT's SQL business on low end, and
      use it to ramp to Oracle at middle and top. And MySQL is excellent way
      to bring cloud apps to Oracle's expected cloud offerings.

      So PaaS ... MySQL data ... more apps ... scale ... then advanced Oracle
      offerings ... more apps ... more cloud use and dependence. Won't happen
      overnight but makes sense.
      • How do you know?

        They might just close MySQL and pave the way for OpenOracle instead. If Oracle plays the We can do what we want like Microsoft does, than it'll be the end of many Open Source Software.
        Maarek Stele
        • MySQL will stay open

          They can't close MySQL:

          a) it's GPL
          b) practically the entire original MySQL developer team, including its founder, have left Sun last summer and fall, and there is little doubt that they would take up any development and support slack that appeared in the market.

          Besides, Oracle bought InnoDB, the main MySQL engine, in 2005, and made no move to discourage MySQL from using it. More likely Oracle plans to use MySQL as a low-end weapon against Microsoft's SQL Server. Oracle has been a pretty good, though not particularly enthusiastic, Open Source citizen.
          • Oracle already has a formidable weapon against MS SQL

            It's called Oracle. On the low end, it would make sense for Oracle just to lower the cost of their flagship offering with some features removed (like they've done in an extreme sense with Oracle XP) rather than pay billions of dollars for an open-source product that is actually quite a technical step down from both Oracle and MS SQL.
  • Sun certifications

    Anybody want to buy my SCJP certification? It's gotta be worth SOMETHING!
  • Microsoft: what is their next step?

    Okay, since you mentioned 'MS,' that'll be my springboard. IBM failed to get Sun, as MS failed with Yahoo. Don't laugh: what about a cooperative business model between IBM and MS? I don't know, but I'm wondering what are the complimentary software/service assets between these two? IBM covers opens source, MS proprietary. IBM has the data center, MS thd desktop. They both are targeting the cloud. Call me crazy, but in this chess game we are witnessing, there are not a lot of other moves left ...
    • Closer Partnership

      A closer partnership btwn IBM and MS makes sense. I'd agree that these
      two are going to get much closer in the near future, it's in both interest.
    • IBM Microsoft

      Look where that got us last time... ;)
  • Really? I'm mean seriously?

    Java is almost considered legacy now and most of the innovation has come from open source 3rd parties.

    I agree Oracle/Sun is a much better match than IBM/Sun, but it is definitely an interesting take to claim, "Microsoft (actually possibly creeping to irrelevancy faster than anyone could have imagined three years ago)".

    Cloud computing is the next iteration of technology trends, but it really hasn't bore itself out as a feasible solution yet for most.
    • If i got one dollar each time i heard some thing like that:

      but it is definitely an interesting take to claim, "Microsoft (actually possibly creeping to irrelevancy faster than anyone could have imagined three years ago)".

      I would be very rich by now.
      Seriously it would take quite a long time and quite some efforts from competitors before Microsoft become irrelevant.