There are so many questions about what Oracle is doing with its new Sun franchise, it’s hard to suss out the top few, but here’s a try.
1: What’s really going on with Sparc? While John Fowler promised continued innovation around the Sparc architecture, there is still precious little in the way of details. It’s probably because Oracle and Fujitsu, which is responsible for the production of Sparc64 chips used in Oracle’s M series servers, are still talking things out.
Some speculate that despite Larry Ellison’s “we’ll invest more in Sparc than Sun” shtick, Oracle will give its hardware business a year and if it doesn’t pick up, offload it whole hog to Fujitsu. New Gartner numbers are not encouraging. They show that in terms of revenue, Sun (Oracle) server share is off nearly 11% for the second quarter compared to the year-ago quarter. In terms of units, the Sun server business fell a whopping 26%. Oracle formally took possession of Sun in January, so these are early returns. But, in that same period, HP, IBM, Dell, Fujitsu and even “other” all posted impressive share gains in units sold
A Sun channel exec told VARs recently said Oracle has little interest in investing R&D in future Intel-based machines. What does that mean for next-gen Exadatas? “We’re looking at alternative platforms.” Interesting coming from a Sun guy. You know Sun, the company that invented Sparc.
2: Will Oracle support Solaris on outside hardware or not? Oracle initially said it would not support Solaris on non-Oracle (non-Sun) hardware then announced that it would do so for Dell and Hewlett-Packard hardware. So, where do users running Solaris on IBM hardware stand? No one’s saying. Not Oracle, not IBM. Here’s guessing there’s more negotiating going on.
3: Will Oracle’s software audits alienate customers and partners enough to cause defections? Oracle’s aggressive software licensing audits continue with the company assessing use of its software by SaaS partners. Word is its software police have gone into several mid-tier SaaS providers–not the Salesforce.coms or NetSuites of the world — but mid-tier players. They are not amused.
4: Will Oracle buy…. Insert name here: 3Par? HP? Informatica? Inquiring minds want to know. The Wall Street Journal this morning reported that Oracle was in the hunt for 3Par before dropping out and leaving the field to Dell and HP which are now sparring over the storage prize.