IBM/Sun: The Technology Fall-Out

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If the merger goes ahead, IBM will have to make choices: Which database, which directory, and which virtualisation technology?

Of course, we can’t know for sure what would happen if IBM were to acquire Sun; all we can do is speculate. In my opinion, then, if such a deal does go down, MySQL would start to receive technology from DB2 and even Informix, and it would continue to grow as a separate product—comfortably positioned in the open-source world with optional licenses, just like it currently is under Sun.

Virtualisation – IBM Would Phase Out Sun’s Work?

There are few technologies in the data centre that are getting the same level of attention from enterprises as virtualisation. Both IBM and Sun Microsystems offer virtualization technology for their systems, but IBM would probably phase out Sun’s if the two companies were to merge.

Virtualisation offers the promise of driving down costs through consolidation while increasing server utilisation. The technology is also rapidly expanding beyond servers and into other aspects of the data center, from storage devices to applications to networks.

It’s also an area in which both IBM and Sun Microsystems have offerings. Those products will have to be sorted out if IBM follows through on buying Sun.
Sun has virtualisation for its SPARC hardware running Solaris and also for commodity x86 systems in its xVM line. IBM has virtualisation for its proprietary hardware and would likely add the xVM developments to its product line while phasing out Sun’s proprietary virtualisation system as the underlying hardware reached the end of its service life.

Sun acquired Innotek—the original maker of VirtualBox—in February 2008, so it isn’t as if IT managers have had years to implement and embed the x86 virtualisation technology. As a competitor to Microsoft’s Hyper-V or, more importantly, VMware’s ESXi, it doesn’t really register on the scale.

IBM has relationships with VMware and embeds the VMware hypervisor in some of its server offerings. Leaving IT managers undisturbed as they proceed to virtualize with VMware would probably have the advantage over an attempt to introduce xVM.