Oracle finalises Sun buy, kills off Open Cloud

Oracle plans to use its new portfolio to emulate IBM's 1960s approach of packaging hardware, software and services, but as an open systems platform
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Oracle has outlined its plans for Sun's technology, including the closure of the company's public cloud, as it finalised its acquisition of the firm.

The purchase closed on Wednesday after being approved by US and EU authorities.

Oracle president Charles Phillips said at an event that his company wants to use its newly acquired hardware portfolio to recreate the "reliable environment" IBM provided in the 1960s — when it sold hardware, software and services in packages — but as an open systems platform. With the Sun purchase, Oracle has now become a major competitor to IBM in the hardware market.

However, on Wednesday the company also killed off Sun's Open Cloud platform, a rival to Amazon's cloud services that was launched less than a year ago. According to Oracle, Sun's cloud technology will be integrated into the database giant's own cloud services, which will target service providers looking to roll out their own public clouds, and enterprises that want to build private clouds.

Complete, integrated, engineered systems
In his presentation, Phillips said Oracle wants its newly enlarged portfolio to serve customers who are looking for complete, integrated and engineered systems, following years of having to build systems "in a very manual, labour-intensive way".

"You'd select a lot of components from different suppliers, we'd deliver those components to you, then you'd hire a lot of integrators to come in and hopefully get them to work together and find some combination that seems to work," Phillips said, describing that situation as "very unpredictable, very unreliable [and with a] lack of security".

Phillips said "no other company" can offer storage, servers, middleware, database, applications and management tools, as Oracle now can thanks to the Sun merger. He predicted that the merged company will come up with "breakthroughs" in the interactions between these layers of the hardware and software stack, as it will be easier to get engineers to work together under one roof.

The Oracle president also said that controlling the whole stack will make it possible to "engineer in, ahead of time, support", including "tools and systems to predict issues, to resolve them quickly in an automated way".

As it announced the closure of the Sun deal, Oracle set live a number of webcasts covering its plans for various aspects of Sun's business. In the cloud webcast, product development vice president Richard Sarwal said Oracle, which now has a portfolio including software, storage, networking and hardware, is able to offer a "cloud in a box".

"Sun had some public cloud services and those cloud services are going to be discontinued immediately," Sarwal said. He added that "there were some very interesting technologies that Sun built over time", which Oracle will integrate into its own products.

Sarwal highlighted the technology that Sun had acquired when it bought the Belgian cloud specialist Q-Layer in January 2009, and said Oracle will use this resource to "offer a self-service provisioning portal". He said Oracle will be able to provide a set of enterprise-grade "building blocks" to help customers manage private clouds or build public clouds.

Java, MySQL investment
In its set of strategy announcements, Oracle said it will "broaden and accelerate" its Java investment and increase its commitment to the development platform's community. The company said it will spend more than Sun did on the Unix-based Solaris operating system, adding that it remains "fully committed" to the Linux operating system.

Oracle also plans to spend more than Sun did on developing MySQL, which it intends to add to its existing suite of database products.

The Oracle Enterprise Manager and Sun Ops Centre system management products are to be combined, and Oracle will continue to invest in Sun's StorageTek tape portfolio. Investment in the Sparc and x86 architectures will continue.

The company said it plans to continue Sun's "desktop to datacentre virtualisation strategy", and expects to continue Sun's desktop virtualisation products, namely VDI, Secure Global Desktop, Sun Ray and Virtualbox.

Oracle will also continue developing and supporting OpenOffice, and will offer a commercial license option for the productivity suite. In addition, it will continue Sun's industry-specific offerings for the communications, financial services, government, education, energy, healthcare, life sciences, media and entertainment, retail trade and transportation sectors.

The company said it "plans to continue evolving GlassFish Enterprise Server, delivering it as the open-source reference implementation of the Java Enterprise Edition specifications", and promised to continue offering NetBeans as a Java developer tool alongside its existing JDeveloper and Enterprise Pack for Eclipse products.

Sun's Identity Management and SOA products are expected to be integrated into the Oracle Fusion Middleware product family, Oracle said.

Unexpired Sun certification exam vouchers will be honoured, and Oracle University will continue to provide comprehensive training and certification programs for Java, Sparc, Solaris and MySQL.

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