COMMENT: Analyst’s Corner
Technology Convergence for Enterprise Workloads
By David Baum
Oracle’s acquisition of Sun will yield new integrated solutions.
Oracle Magazine spoke with Jean S. Bozman, research vice president of IDC’s Worldwide Server Group, about what’s ahead for enterprise customers as Oracle and Sun combine their engineering teams and develop new types of integrated solutions.
Oracle Magazine: What is the primary value of the Sun acquisition in terms of Oracle’s customers?
Bozman: Oracle now has a complete technology stack, from disk to application. The acquisition bolstered Oracle’s extensive product lineup to include many types of servers, storage devices, microprocessors, operating systems, and networking equipment. And of course Oracle now owns Java , which is fundamental to many Oracle products, including Oracle Fusion Middleware .
Having this technology in-house will allow Oracle to further develop Java and keep its products in sync. Ideally, this will be realized through something like the Java Community Process to encourage industrywide collaboration with other vendors. Oracle also obtained important software tools from Sun. There are some interesting possibilities for how Oracle will utilize them.
Oracle Magazine: How does having this complete stack influence the solutions that Oracle can provide?
Bozman: Oracle is now extremely well aligned to help customers create complete business solutions more quickly than in the past. Oracle and Sun can do a lot of system integration work for certain target workloads. This is very attractive to customers. Clearly 2009 was a tough year for many IT departments. Important projects were delayed or deferred, and spending on servers was down across the board. But IDC believes that the server market is at an inflection point. We foresee modest growth in 2010, and we expect that customers will be thinking about how they can deploy new technology as efficiently as possible going forward.
Oracle Magazine: What are the main deterrents to completing these projects?
Bozman: Typically IT projects take months or even years to get to the deployment stage. However, now that the engineers from Oracle and Sun can collaborate on system integration work, Oracle will be able to deliver highly integrated solutions that can be leveraged from the beginning of the planning process for a new customer-site deployment. The [Oracle] Exadata servers are an example of preintegrated hardware/software appliances for horizontal applications such as data warehousing and OLTP [online transaction processing] transactional workloads.
Equally interesting are the possibilities involving industry-specific software stacks running on servers. Oracle now has everything it needs to pull together integrated solutions for specific vertical markets as well, such as transportation, retail, and telecommunications. For example, Oracle could create turnkey appliances using small servers that are optimized to run its transportation applications. It could bundle its Oracle Database 11g software, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and the vertical applications, and then help a customer to distribute these appliances to multiple locations within the customer’s organization to manage transportation activities.
For customers, these industry-specific solutions will not only simplify development and deployment tasks, but they also will reduce complexities associated with support, maintenance, and vendor relations—and that will happen because there will be a single point of contact for an entire business solution. Oracle also plans to simplify Sun’s supply chain, distribution system, licensing policies, and how it engages with channel partners, and that will be of great interest to customers, regarding the impact that may have on server pricing.
Bozman: Many people have asked whether Oracle will choose SPARC and Oracle Solaris or the x86 platforms with Linux. In our view, Oracle has a great opportunity to pick the pieces that will work best for each solution and for each market, and then to optimize them accordingly.
There are so many possibilities for creating integrated-stack solutions. Some of them will play more to the strengths of Linux. Others will play more to the strengths of Oracle Solaris. I think we will see a variety of unique solutions within the Oracle portfolio as it emphasizes the strengths of various hardware/software combinations.
David Baum (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a freelance business writer based in Santa Barbara, California.
IDC (www.idc.com) is a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.