The Oracle-buys-Sun thing - 'Snorkel' - what's the deal with that?

"Thanks Larry for finally putting us out of our misery."-Tony BaerThere's been a firehose of commentary to be found about today's announcement that Oracle intends to buy Sun, so I won't add to the noise.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

"Thanks Larry for finally putting us out of our misery."

-Tony Baer

There's been a firehose of commentary to be found about today's announcement that Oracle intends to buy Sun, so I won't add to the noise. But I will point to some insightful remarks from fellow analysts and commentators.

Here at ZDNet, Larry Dignan points out the fact that Oracle now owns Java. Larry also notes that "Oracle gets to annoy IBM—and own Java—over a few pennies a share more than Big Blue was willing to pay." Plus, Larry adds, there's the matter of MySQL, the leading open source database owned by Sun, which Larry refers to as "MyToast." Good news for PostgreSQL and Ingres?

And, I might add, the other side of the Java coup is that Oracle now controls Java Enterprise Edition, the core app server for many, if not most, enterprise SOA deployments. Hmm.

Then there's Glassfish, the Sun-washed open source application server project, which Sun openly positioned as "an open-source alternative to WebLogic" (now one of Oracle's app servers, of course). Will Glassfish be shattered and sunk, or be positioned as an entry-level environment, as IBM has done with WebSphere Community Edition?

I knew my pals Dana Gardner, Tony Baer, Miko Matsumura, and Dave Linthicum would have lots of meaty takes on the announcement, and I wasn't disappointed.

Dana sees the acquisition as a pretty good thing, offering a weighty "global counter weight" to IBM's dominance of the enterprise data center and IT services market. "This is truly healthy for IT and the global IT marketplace," he says. "IBM’s earlier purported bid for Sun always smelled bad to me." Watch competition in the private cloud space heat up as well, Dana says.

Tony parsed the various components of the acquisition in his post on the matter. (And there's plenty to be parsed -- it seems every day, Sun was trying to be in a different business.)  Tony agrees with Dana that Oracle-Sun offers a competitive stack against Big Blue, and sees plenty of value left in the Solaris operating system. Watch what Oracle does with Sun's JavaFX, which it may position more strongly as a lightweight Java-naïve rich client alternative, Tony says.

Miko refers to the new combined company as "Snorkel" and predicts the whole thing will be a "bloody mess." Oracle is not experienced in managing hardware, and MySQL lost some key leaders most of its staff under Sun anyway, he says. Miko, who was Java Evangelist at Sun a few years back, speculates that Oracle may be favoring a systems approach over the software strategy that has gotten the company to where it is. "This is not a terribly optimistic acquisition in my opinion," he says. "On the one hand, it shows Oracle as acquisitive and opportunistic–but we knew that. But I bet there are many forces inside of Oracle who are dead set against this deal. Oracle doesn't have the skills to pull this off, and if there is a rationale for the deal, it’s being driven out of the CFO side of the shop, not from the software product side.... This means that the game continues to be owned by consolidators and life is bitterly hard for the innovators."

Finally, Dave Linthicum chimed in by stating that he will not be chiming in. In today's Real World SOA post, he starts off announcing that "By the way, I’m not talking about the whole Oracle-buys-Sun thing on purpose." (And proceeds to expand upon my recent ebizQ post on measuring SOA value. Thanks for the call-out, Dave!)

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