Ellison Sheds Light On Sun’s Future Strategy

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Larry Ellison has said that once Oracle acquires Sun, it focus on the high-end market and leave the low-margin, high-volume server space to the likes of HP and Dell

Oracle boss Larry Ellison has shed some light on the future focus of Sun Microsystems, once it becomes part of his empire.

According to Ellison, Oracle will not compete in the high-volume, low-margin server market, but will cede that space to Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Instead, the software giant will focus Sun’s SPARC/Solaris and Intel-based systems on the high-end server market and as the basis for Oracle’s converged data centre strategy, Ellison said during Oracle’s conference call on 17 December, announcing the company’s second-quarter financial earnings.

“Sun really does not now or ever will have the volumes to compete in the high-volume, low-margin business of just selling an Intel server with Windows on it or Linux on it one at a time,” Ellison said. “The high-volume, low-margin is a good business as long as you have high volumes. This is something that Dell and HP are very good at.”

He said Oracle will instead opt to market Sun’s servers in the “high-value, high-performance” space, with SMP systems like Sun’s SPARC Enterprise Server M9000, a mainframe-class system that can scale up to 64 processors and 256 cores.

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The high-end servers also will a foundation for Oracle’s converged data centre strategy, which also will include storage, networking and Oracle virtualisation technologies, all tied together by Oracle and Sun software, Ellison said.

He said that such solutions essentially are what are called private clouds, and that future enterprise data centres will be more about tightly integrated solutions than building environments piecemeal.

“Our overall strategy going forward … is not to sell individual, industry-standard components, but group them together in products like Exadata.”

Oracle’s Exadata Database Machine, which is a combination of Sun hardware and Oracle database software, which was introduced earlier this year and among the first steps in tying Oracle and Sun technologies together.

During the same conference call, Oracle President Charles Phillips said demand for the Exadata is ramping quickly, and that Oracle is busy trying to keep up with orders, including those from some customers looking for more than one system.

“Exadata is on fire,” Phillips said. “It’s a red-hot product.”

It’s important for Ellison to continue to talk about Oracle’s plans for Sun’s hardware business. Rivals like Hewlett-Packard and IBM are using the uncertainty caused by Oracle’s planned $7.4 billion (£4.5 billion) acquisition of Sun – and the delays around the deal, as Oracle awaits the go-ahead from the European Commission – to lure Sun customers away.