Sun customers in particular also face substantial risk. Solaris and Open Solaris are heavily threatened by this move, and likely to wither on the vine as Oracle puts its wood instead behind Linux. MySQL, a direct competitor to Oracle’s bread and butter database products, is also at risk. Oracle may keep MySQL to help penetrate the coveted SMB space, but more likely will let it wither too as it is unable to monetize open source; and instead finds it cannibalizes core database sales.
Similarly, Sun xVM (including OpsCenter) presumably is dead already (as is Virtual Iron), just waiting to be buried by Oracle VM and Oracle EM. They will be missed by a small core, but Oracle is not the sort of organization to go to market with multiple competing products (and it will always favor home-grown alternatives). For customers that valued the innovative, risk-taking (i.e., pony-tailed) attitudes at Sun, these too will be dead before too long; subsumed into the rigid corporate structures of Larry Ellison’s Oracle.
Ultimately, this will all be good news for Oracle, and even for Oracle customers, as they get more functionality, integration, and support, albeit at a price. However, for Sun’s employees, technology, customers, and culture, this is probably the final bell. Soon enough Sun will be no more than a fond memory as Oracle dismantles all that is left of the once formidable innovator. And that, in itself, will be a loss for all of IT.
Andi Mann is VP of Research, Systems & Storage Management at Enterprise Management Associates,an IT analyst firm focused on enterprise management systems and services. Andi has over 20 years experience across four continents working with large-scale Enterprise systems, including mainframes, midrange, servers, and desktops. He has worked in IT operations and management for many large corporations, and in a range of technical and product management positions with several enterprise software vendors.