Will Sun continue to shine?

If you're a Sun customer, you've probably never been so nervous. Your datacentre is racked up with those nice blue-grey boxes, chewing electricity but cracking through the work at the same time.

If you're a Sun customer, you've probably never been so nervous. Your datacentre is racked up with those nice blue-grey boxes, chewing electricity but cracking through the work at the same time. You've been a Sun fan for years, not just for Sun's servers' performance but also for their attitude. Is that all about to disappear?

Along comes Oracle and buys the company. With both the US authorities and the EU commission now agreeing to the take-over, it's a done deal. And Oracle has just announced that, next week, it'll be laying out its road map for the now-absorbed company.

So what do we know? From its initial statement that it it was primarily interested in Java and Solaris, Oracle has since clarified that it plans to continue development of SPARC processors and server hardware.

What that means is that you can expect to see more joint hardware/software products, such as the Exadata Database Machine 2. Sun and Oracle launched this product jointly last September, describing it as 'the world’s first OLTP database machine': a database server in a box - albeit a big one, complete with storage. Interestingly perhaps, as a side issue, it didn't house Sun SPARCs but Intel Xeons at its core.

This bundling approach is one that chimes with the times, now that we've seen the launches of integrated datacentre products from HP and an EMC/Cisco/VMware bundle over the last six months. You can expect more of this once Sun and Oracle are fully united.

What we've not heard a peep about is the open source side of Sun. OpenSolaris, the excellent VirtualBox -- sure to die a death, as Oracle already has Xen-based virtualisation technology -- and OpenSPARC among them. As we've previously noted, Oracle is not known for its friendliness towards open source; quite the opposite, as its dominant position gives it huge leverage to squeeze max dollars from its customer base.

And then there are the cloud services that the Sun was making waves about just before the acquisition, its identity management software, its application servers - the list goes on.

Answers to those questions are due next week. Watch this -- and that -- space.