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Oracle Businesses Databases IBM Sun Microsystems Hardware

Explaining Oracle's Sun Takeover — "For the Hardware" 154

Posted by timothy
from the well-and-the-awesome-logo dept.
blackbearnh writes "Brian Aker, former Sun MySQL guy, and current proponent of the Drizzle MySQL fork, gave O'Reilly Radar an update on where MySQL is at the moment. During the interview, he was asked to speculate on Oracle's original motives for acquiring Sun. 'IBM has been moving their pSeries systems into datacenter after datacenter, replacing Sun-based hardware. I believe that Oracle saw this and asked themselves, "What is the next thing that IBM is going to do?" That's easy. IBM is going to start pushing DB2 and the rest of their software stack into those environments. Now whether or not they'll be successful, I don't know. I suspect once Oracle reflected on their own need for hardware to scale up on, they saw a need to dive into the hardware business. I'm betting that they looked at Apple's margins on hardware, and saw potential in doing the same with Sun's hardware business. I'm sure everything else Sun owned looked nice and scrumptious, but Oracle bought Sun for the hardware.'"
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Explaining Oracle's Sun Takeover — "For the Hardware"

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  • Re:Hogwash (Score:3, Informative)

    by Third Position (1725934) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:26PM (#31797192)

    Do you have a source for this? I'm curious.

    Yes. [bloomberg.com]

  • Re:Damn you slashdot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Galactic Dominator (944134) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:43PM (#31797552)

    it's like squid, except better. A reverse proxy cache, and I'd guess the 503 is generated because all the back-ends are down. The link is present because that's Varnish's default configuration and /. admins haven't changed it. The real question is what is borking on the backend. My money is MySQL.

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:24PM (#31797716) Journal

    So I've been working with Unix vendors for wow--decades now--and have worked very closely with some of them, as a big customer and also as a 'strategic partner.' I've never been close enough to see the email in the company, but maybe that gives me a bit of neutrality to my knowledge. Anyways, here's what I see:

    1) IBM? Nobody buys P-series. Oil/Gas doesn't buy them, telecom doesn't buy them, entertainment doesn't buy them, and that leaves financials. Maybe the banks are buying P-series, but to replace Sun gear? I doubt it. More likely, they're replacing VAX and S/390 gear. (Yeah, still.)

    2) Sun's hardware (i.e. SPARC gear) has some very nice features, but is not in the same category for _general_ computing power. Massively multithreaded jobs belong on SPARC, small-thread number crunching belongs on the GHz-of-the-day winner, and that's x86-derived. Sun has also thrown away most of their competitive advantage in the x86 market by embracing Windows. If it weren't for Windows compatability, they could have had Open Boot Prom on every single box they sell, but instead we're stuck with a third-rate BIOS and ILOM (LOM designed by committee of middle managers).

    3) Software ls really the most valuable asset that Sun had at the end, but the problem has always been monetizing software. Sun's model actually worked well (it was the follow-through they eventually fell apart on)! Sell hardware, give away software, include training credits with hardware purchases, and soak you for enterprise support. There aren't a lot of big companies unwilling to pay Sun's prices for great support on rock-solid products, but there are a lot who don't want to pay for CRAP support on flakey products, which is what Sun has been offering for two years now.

    Oracle could make out like a bandit if they rationalised the SPARC lineup, maintained the model, and fixed the support issues. Instead, they're destroying the business model, breaking support EVEN MORE, and ignoring all Sun products. I'm afraid that Larry Ellison thinks he just bought a hardware monopoly to support his software monopoly, and is going to be in for a rude surprise when customers leave him in droves for Linux or Microsoft.

    I don't like it, but I don't see much of an alternative. The egos are too big to keep good products alive and relevant, so they're all going to fall apart.

  • Re:Hogwash (Score:5, Informative)

    by fm6 (162816) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:27PM (#31797724) Homepage Journal

    Where did you hear that? I was working for Sun at the time, and there was nothing official about Oracle until after talks with IBM broke down. And then it was for the whole company. It's true that Sun restructured itself so that all the software businesses (minus Solaris, which was moved into the hardware division) could be sold. But there were no offers. The sad truth is that Sun's software initiatives generated tons of press (even people who don't know what "high level language" or "virtual machine" mean have heard of Java) but not much in the way of revenue.

    This acquisition was never about software. People assumed it was, because software is all they know about Sun. But most of the revenue came from selling hardware. Buying Sun for the software is as silly as buying Oracle for Larry Ellison's yacht.

  • by Kymermosst (33885) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:27PM (#31797726) Journal

    We've deployed a few P-series systems in place of where we would have deployed big Sun boxes.

    My observations are thus:

    1. I like Solaris way better than AIX.
    2. If you consider Linux and Solaris to be cousins from an administrative standpoint, then AIX is a 3rd- or 4th-cousin. Lots of things are different.
    3. smit is my friend and helps deal with #2.
    4. Virtualization on the IBM gear is powerful. And WAY complicated.
    5. I keep hoping we'll change our mind and go back to Sun gear, but it's rather unlikely.

  • Re:Hogwash (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:53PM (#31797828)

    "No offers told to the engineers" does not mean "no offers". Unless you were the engineer asked why the VP's and the lawyers took more than 30 seconds to arrive, and called on the carpet about it, most of us who do real work were unlikely to get reliable information until after the managers with stock options managed to sell them or reinvest them quietly, before any actual offer is put on the table and blocks them from trading.

    If you think I'm kidding, keep a very close eye on the sales leadership and lawyers at your company during a merger or corporate sale.

  • by MistrBlank (1183469) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @11:33AM (#31799920)

    The price to run AIX and get software support where I am is about roughly the support of Linux. We saw that and decided to stick with the OS that's fully supported by the company rather than one that needed to be hacked to run on Power.

    BTW, that's BS about the add/remove on CPUs and memory, especially on the 595s. The only problem is getting a CE that feels comfortable doing it. But really the future is in being able to migrate your partitions off of the hardware that you want to change and then move them back after your work is complete. We're even at a point where hardware failure can be recognized and the system will do this automatically.

    Also not sure about the HMC placement but we have a few managing servers at completely different sites. Again, maybe not what IBM wants you to do, but there's absolutely no reason you can't do it.

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