Software

Oracle tries to stop Sun's bleeding: Is it too late?

Oracle has launched a full-court press to convince Sun customers to stick around. Read about Oracle's new ad series.

This is a guest post from Larry Dignan of TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet. You can follow Larry on his ZDNet blog Between the Lines, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Oracle has officially came out of the corner to stem the defections from Sun Microsystems' customers. The message: Oracle is serious about hardware and is looking forward to swinging back at IBM.

As pointed out by Matt Asay, Oracle has launched a full court press to convince Sun customers to stick around. Sun has been pummeled by IBM on server sales. Meanwhile, the EU is looking to drag out approval of Oracle's purchase of Sun. Toss in question about whether Oracle will even keep Sun's hardware business and you have a recipe for disaster.

Here's that disaster (click to enlarge):

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has seen enough. Now we all know Ellison loves a fight-especially with IBM. Hell, Ellison may stay in hardware just to compete with Big Blue.

In a series of ads, Oracle says that it will spend more dough developing SPARC, develop Solaris and focus on hardware. To IBM, Ellison says Oracle is "in it to win it."

In this ad, Oracle teases Oct. 14 at OpenWorld as a key date.

Oracle says:

Oracle and Sun together are hard to match. Just ask IBM. Its fastest server now runs an impressive 6 million TPC-C transactions, but on October 14 at Oracle OpenWorld, we'll reveal the benchmark numbers that prove that even IBM DB2 running on IBM's fastest hardware can't match the speed and performance of Oracle Database on Sun systems. Check back on October 14 as we demonstrate Oracle's commitment to Sun hardware and Sun SPARC.

Now you could dismiss this as banter designed to stem Sun defections, but Oracle has been true to its word. Oracle has said it wouldn't kill off the products and customers of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel and hasn't. Now that Ellison has thrown down the hardware gauntlet, maybe Oracle will stick with that too.

We'll find out soon enough.

13 comments
Developer Tex
Developer Tex

I see the value of commodity hardware, but I still lean towards the extra $$$ that it cost to run Oracle on Sun. The reliability and performance are difficult to beat, even in this era where VMWare and commodity hardware are changing how we think. We'll be interested to see what really happens since we've got a little life left in our Sun platform before we have to make a decision to stay on Sun or leave for another hardware platform.

jhoward
jhoward

It has become a pricing nightmare. Personally I think Sun hardware has been worth the extra money in the past where a single system was extremely important but it is getting harder to say that for multiple reasons. 1. Scale out works much better for us than increasing capacity on a single monster or even 2 system redundant system. Multiple commodity servers are competitive in cost to a single Sun server. 2. We have a few legacy systems that still run exclusively on Sparc but may be moving away from that. Given the choice in the future I don't see any compelling reason (financial or performance - unfortunately in that order) to stick with Sun hardware. The biggest thing I am interested in seeing is what happens to the MySQL database engine. While I don't think it can ever be stopped completely I believe that having a backer like Sun really moved it's development along. What will Oracle do with it? Interesting to think about...

ralph.fife
ralph.fife

I think this is just Ellison covering all his bases with commodity and RAC and SMP with SUN to compete with IBM.

e.h.taylor
e.h.taylor

SPARC and Solaris high end servers beat anything in the market, more stable, scalable, cheaper and faster... if in fact Oracle maintains that strategy, Sun will succeed... they tried to be a commodity player and failed... need get back to basics.

dwdino
dwdino

Sun's hardware is another type of vendor lock in. Hardware is becoming more and more disposable and systems must be "swappable". We are currently removing our Solaris/Sparc infrastructure and inserting Linux/Intel. It is much cheaper and I could choose whichever vendor provides the best opportunity.

CG IT
CG IT

While Oracle might have deep pockets to subsidize Sun, the whole PC/Server industry is in transition from customer owned equipment to a Virtual environment. All of which spells a decrease in the market for servers to a few very large cloud providers all of which probably buy IBM or HP and run either Windows or Unix/Linux. Unless Oracle practically gives away the server and the service, Sun Microsystems probably will close it's doors for good.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I think you hit the nail on the head. These days, most large shops have redundancy out the wazoo. We have multiple ISP's and a live disaster center off site. The second we lose a server it fails over to another. It isn't rare anymore for a medium to large shop to run bgp and Global Site Selectors with multiple data centers to prevent any sort of data or application loss. With the prices Sun asks, I can have a few Linux\Oracle boxes or what have you running. Even with that impressive sun hardware, I'll need another system just like it off site in case of disaster. That makes it a financial burden that I refuse to take before management for justification. I can run a vmware linux\oracle solution and pay an off site disaster service to host a copy of my vmware server for less money than a Sun setup.

ralph.fife
ralph.fife

Ellison is covering all bases with commodity and RAC and Sun SMP. Gives him a full suite to go against DB2 and IBM. Tough to bet against Ellison.

Pazman
Pazman

Since most of our data center that was running Windows servers has been virtualized on commodity HP blade servers, it's an easy move to dump our Sun/SPARC/Solaris gear and move to Oracle running on Linux on HP. It's simply cheaper for the same performance - more than enough performance to run what we need.

LarryD4
LarryD4

Sun is on its way out. It was and still is a good company but was based on providing tailored systems for specific clients. They saw that their were many partnered clients like Wall Street and the Dow, who also happened to have many partners who needed the same type of systems. I guess the Sun is starting to set.

psmith
psmith

Oracle has significant market segments where neither 'Cloud Computing' nor 'Virtualization' are viable. It's precisely these types of environments most likely to employ very large highly capable hardware. The fact is that this demand isn't going away anytime soon, and includes some of the most lucrative segments in the entire IT world. Oracle's focus on 'the big iron' as a database platform, suggests it's interest is this narrow, but stable and highly profitable, segment.

pmccarthyjr
pmccarthyjr

I do Data Center Architecture for the world's largest outsourcing company. Ever since the notice of Oracles purchase intent of SUN, our client's can't get off their systems fast enough. IBM is the clear winner here with HP picking up the smaller SMB market share. Over the last 10 days we have contacted our current SUN cleints with this information to see if any wish to reconsider. To date NONE wish to stay with SUN, no matter what Larry Ellicon may say. The remark about SUN being #3 or 4 appears to be a bit optimistic.

robo_dev
robo_dev

it's one thing to be number two, it's quite another to be number three or four. It's like those cruel nature films where an elephant is attacked on all sides by lions. One of those 'lions' is VMWare, the other is Linux, and the other lions, are IBM and HP. The one company that could save Sun would be Cisco, but that would be a lot of baggage for them to carry in a down market.