Musings on Oracle & Sun

So finally the European Union gave the green signal to Oracle’s acquisition of Sun yesterday. In anticipation, there is a planned update on Oracle’s Sun strategy next week.

It’s funny. Another news making rounds are the billboards in New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta where Oracle’s co-president Charles Phillips is shown with a woman, not his wife. Everyone is wondering who put these billboards (must be very expensive) and is it to embarrass the Oracle executive? This is unrelated to the Sun news, but such episodes are part of the Oracle’s executive legacy.

Speaking with someone yesterday who worked at Sun many years ago (during the hay days of fast growth), he reminisced how bad Sun has been in monetizing software over the years. Many new ideas such as virtualization, cloud infrastructure and hosted services were pioneered at Sun, but never saw the light of the day. Java was the most visible contribution from Sun, but others monetized it far better than Sun did.

So the question is – can Oracle harvest Sun’s key technologies now? One special mention is Sun’s Caroline project that deals with various layers of cloud computing (HaaS – Hardware as a Service, Storage as a Service, Networking as a Service, Database as a Service,…). It’s Oracle’s best bet to enter “cloud computing” with competitive solution offerings to those from IBM, Miscrosoft and HP. How will the myriad other products from Oracle/Siebel/Peoplesoft/BEA/… blend into this mosaic?

We seem to be back to the future, to “vertical stacks from one vendor” days. Oracle implies that having Sun hardware, Sun storage, Solaris or Linux, Oracle DBMS, and Oracle Applications, all integrated as one unit will be appealing to the customer. May be so. But how does it manifest as cloud offerings rather than in-house installed, maintained, and upgraded entities (classic Oracle’s delivery model so far)?

It will be interesting to observe next week as Oracle explains its Sun adoption strategy.

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