Oracle To Sun Users: Put Away The Red Pen

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

SPARC servers and Solaris are key to its single-stack approach, says Oracle. But should customers believe it?

Oracle made a plea to Sun Microsystems’ UK customers to “put away their red pen” and trust Oracle will continue to support develop Sun’s products following approval of its $7.4 billion (£4.9bn) acquisition of the company.

The company promised to continue to develop Sun’s SPARC and x86 servers, as well as the Solaris operating system, tuning them to support Oracle better, while still keeping them “open” and competitive as “best of breed” general purpose systems. Other Sun products also got a promise of continued life, although there was little or no mention of the open source MySQL database.

[Update: the week also saw a dent in Oracle’s open source credentials, as Sun’s open source chief, Simon Phipps, left the company.]

Oracle offers a stack with Sun hardware

The acquisition produced a “truly unique” combination of hardware and software, “from application to disk,” the UK country leader at Oracle David Callaghan told 500 Sun customers and partners in London. Britain is the first country in Europe where the much-delayed acquisition has been approved.

“This will change the way you look at your IT infrastructure,” said Dermot O’Kelly, vice president of systems for EMEA at Oracle – a new position which he said makes him Oracle’s “first ever SVP for hardware”.

No questions were allowed at the event – apparently because Oracle is in a quiet period before reporting its results – so the company presented its basic message unchallenged: hardware and software that is developed and engineered together will be more reliable and perform better, but will also compete on the open market. Oracle speakers also stressed the combined company has “the biggest support team in the world”.

The message was essentially the same as that given by US exectives at a briefing in January, after the deal was finally approved (where questions were allowed).

In the coffee break, Sun customers and resellers seemed to be buying the message, although several asked whether it was really possible for Oracle to build hardware that was simultaneously tuned for its database, and also a top-performing general purpose system: “Can they really have their cake and eat it?” asked one.

Products tested and built together

“This is what we think customers want,” said Dermot O’Kelly. “Products that are engineered together, tested together and certified together.” The company now owns a complete stack, including application, middleware operating system, virtualisation, operating system and hardware, and any change an element of that will be tested on all the other elements, he said.

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