As Published In
Oracle Magazine
March/April 2010

From the Publisher

The Whole Stack

By Jeff Spicer

With Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, the siloed approach is a thing of the past.

When you shop, you probably don’t give much thought to the relationship between the products you buy, their packaging, and the logistics involved in bringing those products to a store near you. And you’re not alone; many retailers don’t think much about those relationships either. These “layers” are intricately connected, however, and by making a small change to one layer, you can greatly affect the others.

One retailer at the forefront of packaging and logistics is IKEA. Ten years ago, the company created an internal organization to focus on product packaging efficiency. The packaging group looks at every layer in the supply chain, examining how products are created, packed, shipped, unpacked, and displayed. The packaging group recommends changes in each of those layers, even getting deeply involved in product development, helping redesign or reshape products so that they can be more efficiently packed. The more efficiently a product is packed, the cheaper it is to ship, saving money in every layer of the supply chain.

During the past 40 years, the IT industry has been like an uncoordinated supply chain in which each layer becomes increasingly effective in its own activity, but also more disconnected from the other layers. Middleware has become increasingly sophisticated, databases more feature-rich, vertical applications more specialized, chip sets faster, servers more scalable, and storage more reliable. Yet these layers have become siloed, stymieing systemwide innovations and increasing IT integration costs for businesses of all sizes.

Through a combination of its acquisition of Sun and a focus on research and development, Oracle plans to change this siloed approach to IT. Oracle has begun talking about transforming IT by focusing not just on the “product layers,” but also on the interaction between those layers. Take, for example, a database and a storage system. Typically these systems are created and engineered separately and later integrated by a team of systems-integration specialists. Imagine the efficiencies, cost savings, and improved productivity if these products were engineered to work together from the start.

With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle is now able to offer a complete business-technology stack—from applications to disk—composed of management software, storage, servers, virtual machines, operating systems, databases, middleware components, and horizontal and vertical applications. All these products will now be engineered to work together according to open standards, a guiding principle at Oracle for more than 30 years. The potential benefits to businesses are big: systems that are easier to manage, more reliable, and more secure; faster deployment; reduced risk of change; and one-stop support.

Open Standards and Java

With the acquisition of Sun comes the stewardship of Java. Oracle has a history of supporting open standards including Java, having been a leader in developing more than 50 Java specifications. At its Oracle + Sun event in January, Oracle’s Thomas Kurian laid out specific plans for Oracle’s Java support:

Java runtime. Oracle plans to deliver Java Platform, Standard Edition 7 with new modularity features, multiple-language support, and support for multicore processors.

Java application server. According to Kurian, Oracle will evolve the current Java Platform, Enterprise Edition 6 reference implementation, adding modularity and support for lightweight server profiles, among others. 

Next Steps

 ATTEND an Oracle + Sun event in a city near you

 LEARN more about Oracle and Java

 WATCH the Oracle + Sun strategy update

Java mobile and micro environments. Oracle plans to address power consumption, code portability, and overall performance.

JavaFX. Again, Oracle plans to address portability and enhance Java for rich internet application design and performance.

Oracle also plans to expand the popular JavaOne conference, taking it on the road to Brazil, India, and other countries, and enlarging the flagship conference in San Francisco, California.

Finally, as Oracle evolves, so will Oracle Magazine . Look for big changes in Oracle Magazine in the next few issues as we add new content about Sun products, Java, and open source projects—and unveil a new look and feel.

Jeff Spicer, Publisher

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