Oracle Begins Picking Its Sun A-Team

by Andy Patrizio

With its acquisition of Sun having closed, Oracle is deciding what stays and what goes.

Now that the Sun acquisition is a done deal, Oracle has begun picking and choosing the products that will live on and which will fade out. While CEO Larry Ellison was adamant that there would be no wholesale slaughter of products or staffing cuts, the reality is that not everything can survive or receive full Oracle investment.

Most of these discussions are available online from a collection of videos made during Oracle's (NASDAQ: ORCL) Product Strategy day earlier this week.

Michael Bemmer, the former head of Sun's software business, is now the general manager of the Oracle Office Global Business Unit and is in many of the clips. He said there will be a name change for Star Office and Star Suite, which will become members of the Oracle Office family.

"Oracle had not sold office productivity tools, so we are happy to fill that gap," Bemmer said in one video.

Other survivors include JavaFX, Java ME, HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (to be integrated with the fast JRockit VM from BEA Systems) and Sun's Operations Center management software, which will be merged with Oracle's Enterprise Manger.

WebLogic and Glassfish will be cross-pollinated, with the best ideas from one product finding their way into the other. WebLogic will be sold as the company's enterprise application server, while the free and open source Glassfish server will be Oracle's department-level application server.

Oracle will invest in the NetBeans IDE and NetBeans.org community, but it will be limited to Java Standard Edition, scripting languages, mobile Java, JavaFX and Solaris. Oracle's own Java IDE, JDeveloper IDE, will be Oracle's enterprise application development tool.

The next version of NetBeans, version 6.8, will be released under Oracle's Applications Unlimited strategy and license.

JavaFX, Sun's attempt to compete with Adobe Flash and Microsoft's Silverlight, will continue to be supported. A beta of the next version of JavaFX is due by June. JDK 7 is also due out sometime in 2010.

Oracle has promised to continue running Sun's JavaOne conference, which had been the subject of some speculation during the last conference. However, it will run alongside Oracle OpenWorld in late September, rather than June, when the show had traditionally been held. There are plans for additional JavaOne shows in Brazil, Russia, India and China.

On the Outside

The losers in the new strategy are Sun's resellers, Sun's ambitious open source and Web 2.0 projects and some Sun hardware. The Sun Open Cloud Platform, announced in March 2009 as a competitor to Amazon's EC2, was declared dead during Wednesday's event. Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect, made it clear in a press conference that Oracle has "no plans to build something like Amazon's EC2."

He added, "We don't plan to be in the rent-by-minute computer business. We plan to provide technology for others that are in the rent-by-minute computer business and lots of other businesses you might call cloud computing."

Also seemingly doomed is Kenai, an open source hosting program designed to compete with the popular SourceForge service. OpenSolaris, the open source version of the Solaris operating system, was not discussed once at the day's events.

Sun's hardware line will eventually be streamlined. Ellison pointed out that in addition to the inefficient supply chain, there are numerous point versions of products. The same server could have Sparc, AMD and Intel chips, with multiple versions at multiple clock speeds. The number of Sun servers can be expected to diminish, if only for the sake of eliminating redundancy.

Sun's reseller partners, who have long supported the company even during the worst of times, may be in for a bumpy ride. It was clear when Oracle co-President Charles Phillips said the company would hire 2,000 sales professionals to more directly engage enterprise customers that the reseller channel would be left out.

This resulted in some complaining by integrators to SearchITChannel, with one complaining, "Existing Sun partners and value chain including distribution is screwed."

All in all, though, that's not much. For months, while this merger has dragged on, the standard thinking was that Sun would be gored, that thousands would be fired and many of Sun's "science projects" would be killed off. By and large, it looks like most of the company is surviving. At least for now.

That came as a surprise to Michael Cote, an analyst with Redmonk. "I think that in and of itself is the biggest surprise, that there weren't any surprises or anything complicated or newfangled going on," he told InternetNews.com. He posted a lengthy writeup on his thoughts on the Product Strategy day's events.

"To be fair, even though they said they didn't cut anything, if you look at the software stuff, most of it is being integrated into Oracle or being relegated toward its current success without much effort to expand beyond it," he added.

As for the resellers, Cote said "there does seem to be some partners who had it easy [who] are looking at not having it easy in the future."

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on Monday Feb 1st 2010
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