MegaRoundup: The Oracle-Sun Deal

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The twists and turns continue in the Battle for the Data Center. Yesterday’s surprise announcement that Oracle Corp. (ORCL) will acquire Sun Microsystems (JAVA)  has generated an enormous amount of commentary, analysis and speculation. Here’s a mega-roundup:

  • Steve O’Donnell at The Hot Aisle says the deal could be disruptive for the storage sector. “If Oracle becomes a horizontal storage systems supplier, this announcement does not bode well for NTAP, PAR, and EMC as 40% or so of corporate data is stored in databases and these companies’ sales reps look for database implementations/upgrades as buying catalysts,” O’Donnell writes. “If Oracle sees all of these transactions first, they will capture a portion of the storage spend easily.”
  • Forrester analyst James Staten writes that Sun’s server and storage businesses “don’t fit (Oracle’s) model and certainly don’t justify the further investment in the SPARC microprocessor that will be needed to keep this business healthy … expect Oracle to shop these units tout suite.” Staten sees Dell and HP as likely bidders.
  • The Burton Group says the deal is good news for customers. “The bad news is the uncertainty this creates around the long term future for Sun’s hardware products, particularly its UltraSPARC high-end servers,” writes Nik simpson. “The question is, ‘What does Oracle plan to do with the hardware business?’, because lets face it, the reason for the acquisition is Java, not hardware.”
  • The 451 Group examined Oracle’s track record on open source technologies. “While Oracle has displayed an ability to participate in and benefit from open source software, I think its expectations and aspirations for open source software are limited,” writes Jay Lyman. “You can’t blame a company making billions for not getting to excited about millions, especially when sometimes the millions are simply numbers of users.”
  • Om Malik also focuses on the fate of MySQL, expressing concern but concluding that “Oracle will keep MySQL going mostly because it can act as a funnel for further business opportunities.”

  • Among end users, there was much interest in the response of Matt Mullenweg of Auttomatic, whose ubiquitous WordPress blogging software runs atop MySQL. “Today our servers are running various versions of MySQL, tomorrow they’ll be running the same thing, and if need be ten years from now they can run the exact some software,” Mullenweg writes. “Because of the GPL every WordPress user in the world is protected — we’re not beholden to any one company, only to what works best for us.”
  • Todd Bishop at TechFlash looks at what the deal might mean to Microsoft, concluding that the Oracle-Sun combination “may be marginally better for Microsoft than the previously proposed IBM-Sun deal would have been, but it still promises to create stronger competition for the Redmond company in key areas of its business.”
  • Bob Warfield looks at Oracle’s numbers, and concludes that they can’t be good news for Sun employees. “There will be wholesale carnage at Sun, he writes. “The company had not been especially healthy before the acquisition, but Oracle is pledging to deliver a 15% margin in the first year. I don’t doubt they can achieve that number, but doing so will require a vigorous shake up.”
  • Vinnie Merchandini warns that a deep shakeup could wind up being part of the problem. “When it comes to their acquisitions, they cannot retain or easily replace the entrepreneurial talent,” he writes of Oracle. “John Chambers is probably chuckling this morning that his move into servers was well timed.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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