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Oracle Businesses Databases IBM Sun Microsystems Hardware

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

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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  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:48PM (#31797294)

    They're proving both quotes that 'real men build hardware" and that "real software lovers build hardware" from IBM and Apple.

    Both IBM and Apple design Software and Hardware to complement each other. Compare an iSeries or iPad to the typical Oracle setup where they are at the mercy of Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, etc to get their Database to work. Defining a basic Schema is full of so many tips and tricks compared to any other database. Sure, it's nice to choose the "optimum" setting for every single block of data... but wouldn't it be BETTER to simply format the hard drive the way you want it in the first place and to build the most critical functions directly into firmware? IBM stuff can do really neat things like split database writes in the disk controller and keep track of multiple copies at once on redundant systems. You just can't do that level of stuff with the tools Oracle or Microsoft has now. Microsoft's sole existence is based on separation of hardware and software... so everybody squabbles between Intel/AMD, ATI/Nvidia, Oracle/MySQL, etc... and Microsoft gets rich playing "middleman" being the only party the others can legally talk to.

    There is already a company that makes a Sparc based blade for IBM BladeCenter chassis, drop it in an IBM Blade and share your SAN and have backplane-level network between the other hardware and OSes....this is what Oracle is after. Rather than keep playing games with other vendors, simply sell "Oracle" like IBM sells System i (iSeries). You would by an Oracle blade and simply connect that to your network. There's no point in loading multiple apps on hardware... it's so cheap now versus the time to make it work. Much better will be the "appliance" approach... plug and go. Weather you want a single blade for your own storage solution, or a whole rack as a HA/DR Cluster/Cloud you'll buy "Oracle" for your needs. Remember they also own lots of other enterprise apps, JDEdwards, Peoplesoft, Java, etc. this is million-dollar level installs... bickering about "hardware" if Oracle provides a solution that works (like Apple) out-of-the-box is a non-issue.

  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:09PM (#31797402)

    It's that, or they really don't know how to try and run a competitive hardware business.

    That's okay -- neither did Sun.

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:17PM (#31797442)

    FreeBSD is a more likely replacement for some of the Solaris market. Especially since it's had DTrace for a while and now ZFS is now production ready on FreeBSD 8

  • Re:And scaling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:20PM (#31797452)

    Then what you want is FreeBSD, not Linux. FreeBSD has had DTrace for a few years now and ZFS support for a couple years in experimental mode. As of FreeBSD 8-Release, ZFS is now considered "Production Ready". We've been slowly moving the last of our Solaris stuff over to FreeBSD the past year even before ZFS was officially supported in the FBSD 7.x series.

  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @10:36PM (#31797522)

    You are correct however I love the shit out of java since I am a system admin. It takes a boat load of expensive hardware
    to make it run decent, more hardware, more stuff to maintain, better paycheck and job security.

  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:10PM (#31797670) Journal

    > now ZFS is now production ready on FreeBSD 8

    I do not think that means what you think it means.

  • by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:49PM (#31797802) Homepage Journal

    Isn't Sun's ridiculously overpriced and underpowered hardware the reason they went bankrupt?

    Um, one, they never went bankrupt. They had billions in cash just sitting in the bank, in fact. Next, hardware wasn't why they declined. Hardware sales were keeping them afloat. There are three reasons they were declining:

    1 - Software is one reason they declined... specifically, Linux software, as it did much of what Solaris did at no or lower cost. Windows was also cheaper when you considered the cost of the hardware it ran on.

    2 - Leadership was non-existant, and the sales strategy was all over the place like an ADHD kid bouncing off the walls. "We'll push Java! It'll make us rich! No, we'll push network computers, it's the wave of the future! No, we'll compete at the low end by GPL'ing and giving away our software! No, we'll spend a billion dollars on a free database system, and then give THAT away! Riches will follow!"

    3 - With this lack of focus, IBM attacked them from the top, and Microsoft from the bottom, squeezing them out of former markets

    Larry Ellison has made what I think is a prudent decision; stick to the expensive, profitable high end, and quit giving your software away. Pump money into your hardware, as your latest CPU offerings compete very well on the high end with lots of servers, especially on performance per watt costs.

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:53PM (#31797826)

    If you create a complete solution, you can tune it for best performance, you can make it easier and cheaper to deploy, you can guarantee a certain level of quality, you can include a warranty, you can harden it in ways that software alone can't.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, 2010 @12:10AM (#31797912)

    Sun hardware was always underpowered for the price, and they've always played strange and silly games trying to tie the hardware to the software. Remember how SunOS "wouldn't run on sun4m hardware", until Tatung released a modified SunOS that ran just fine, and Sun played catchup with their own OS? Their own engineers refused to run Solaris and preferred the more BSD like and open source compatible SunOS: I'm aware of at least 3 who ran illicit copies of modified SunOS, at Sun, for their own day to day work.

    They played similar games with Java: what release *IS* Java? Is it 1.4? Is it Java 5, I mean Java 1.5.2 as it says in the actual source code? Is the latest release Java 6 update 19, or if you look at the actualy code, is it really 1.6.19? This is a company that's too stupid to even give their software RPM's the actual name that it is recorded with in RPM, or that it had when compiled as a software bundle: how stupid is that? Or deliberately slapping 30 Meg of unnecessary and separate documentation into the "self-extracting" binary which you have to download with every new update even though it's identical content, because Sun is too stupid to publish the documentation separately?

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @02:00AM (#31798200) Journal

    "The charge what the market will bear. You're just mad that you didn't think of that first."

    The market will not bear this. Witness the rise of Linux. 10 years ago slashdot was a different place. If you dare say anything bad about Sun you would be modded into an oblivon similiar to bashing macs today. Solaris was God and linux was nice but a toy. Today bashing Solaris gives you mod karma.

    This all changed 10 years ago because Sun charged $10,000 for a sparc 1 workstation and $1,000 more for each 128 meg module. At the same time 10 years ago a Redhat Linux 5.2 box from a generic pentium III could run circles around it for only $1,000. Why pay $25,000 for a SGI or sun workstation when a $1,500 could now outperform it! Gcc started to replace sun studio and java ides like netbeans and eclipse started taking over the $$$ borland Jbuilder and Visual C++. Database software is now finally catching up with postgreSQL. You can argue that mysql is getting better too I suppose. With the database software formally reserved to big iron we have no reason to use Solaris/Oracle except on all but the biggest data warehouses.

    Vendors got greedy and monopolies and ogopolies created their own demise with cheap free solutions. Hostage with pricing can only go so far until alternatives become competition and customers will now be happy to jump ship.

  • by wmac ( 1107843 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @04:51AM (#31798650) Homepage
    "Well thankfully you aren't any more."

    And you are a rude person which is not in a position to decide on that. I am in a higher position now.

    I did not say they always choose proprietary. I said that will be their preference. I also said if they ever decide to go open source they'll go with a more popular one.
  • Re:Hogwash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by williamhb ( 758070 ) on Saturday April 10, 2010 @10:09AM (#31799562) Journal

    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

    It's not Sun's revenues that are relevant -- if Sun's revenues were good enough it would have been able to stand on its own two feet. Oracle's revenues are all about software and in it's expansion from databases into other middleware, it had bet the house on Java. The words "Our biggest competitor is talking about buying the company that directs the stuff we are totally reliant on [IBM bidding for Sun]" would rightly have been ringing alarm bells in Larry Ellison's ears whether he was on the yacht or not. Oracle needed to buy Sun for the software, because if IBM had got the software Oracle would have faced massive risks to its business. IBM might well have ripped up the JCP, taken Java inside the eclipse foundation (which Oracle is only a reluctant member of), and skewed the whole development of the platform away from Oracle.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.