Oracle changes the IT strategy landscape

Blogger Andy Moon thinks Oracle's new strategy may lead to the company being an even more dominant player in the IT space and could turn Sun's fortunes around.

January 27, 2010 will go down in history as the day that the strategic landscape of IT changed dramatically and, despite the hype, it wasn't due to an announcement by Steve Jobs. Oracle announced and detailed its strategy following the approval of Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems by various regulatory agencies. Although Oracle is already one of the 800 pound gorillas in the technology world, it's got some new ammunition and looks to be ready to fire off its newly acquired munitions.

Right up-front for all the users of Sun hardware (despite the doom and gloom predictions of a SPARC-less world), Oracle put forth a commitment to not only support Sun hardware, but to continue to revamp and improve the newly acquired hardware line. In fact, Oracle's new goal is to recreate the "gold standard" of IBM in the 1960s, when Big Blue took care of everything from the data center to the desktop, with a strong focus on open systems.

Aiming to become a one-stop shop for high-performance computing, Oracle claimed that it would integrate its service departments to the point that one phone call would take care of a problem, no matter if the problem was in the application, the server, or the storage. Though Oracle admitted that it is difficult to get engineers to work together, even if they are under the same corporate roof, the company plans to build and certify platforms where storage, servers, OS, virtualization, and applications are integrated and certified for performance and security.

Some of the benefits that Oracle hopes to achieve with this strategy include complete packages that make purchasing, upgrading, and patching seamless. The company also plans to proactively monitor the systems to detect problems before they are visible to end users, assuming that the customer is okay with such monitoring. Furthermore, Oracle expects that it can achieve 10 to 50 times improved performance, partially through hardware integration, but also by embedding the database onto the storage products.

The $4.3 billion of research and development budgeted for fiscal year 2011 will allow Oracle to safeguard and reinvigorate Sun products and to make this hardware the "gold standard" for running Oracle applications. The announcement also included a commitment to continue its open standards efforts, specifically mentioning Java and MySQL; to this end, Oracle has expanded its upcoming Java developer's conference to locations in Brazil, Russia, China, and India. Oracle also claims to be revamping its sales commissions and says it will be hiring 2,000 salespeople and engineers, who will be offered the best compensation package in the business.

I think that this move could very well infuse some competition in the high-end computing landscape. IBM and Sun have long dominated this market, and Oracle's acquisition of Sun will make even more people start looking to the newly integrated company for their high-end data needs. These two companies give as close to the one-stop-shop environment as exists in IT today. Though it remains to be seen how well Oracle will integrate its operations with Sun, if the company actually did as much planning as we were led to believe in the Webcast, this could turn Sun's fortunes around and may lead to Oracle being an even more dominant player than they already are in the IT space.

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