Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So, Sun is no more - Oracle is one of the big three

At the beginning, I though I wouldn't write about it. After all, all the Internet is talking about it, and I'm just a little developer, with my little biased view of the world through my small experience. But the thing may be so impacting for my daily life, and well Sun was such an uncommon adventure of a company, I wanted to mark the day. The following is just my thoughts on that big thing, take them as no more than that.

So, yesterday Oracle announced to the world that they bought Sun for something like $7,4 Billions.
My first feeling was (is) "better being Oracle than IBM". All in all, it may even be good. But wow, what a concentration ! Now, the "business software solution" industry is shared among 3 bigs (MS/IBM/Oracle), and that's all. And Oracle owns the database market, both opensource and proprietary.

So, more in details, I thing that there is 3 domains of Sun that will be push foward by Oracle:
- MySQL ;
- the Java platform ;
- Hardware, Solaris and related knowledge.

Hardware and Solaris
The hardware and Solaris part are, I think, the domains with the clearer future : they will become the preferred platform for hight performance, highly tuned, very very expensive SGBD server and Business app server.
For me, that's the main point why Oracle is better than IBM : Oracle WANT these missing layers in their integrated stack, and IBM would have killed Sparc and Solaris, their old rivals. So, be prepared for Sparc/Solaris/Oracle SGBD killer servers, with Sun^W Oracle storage solutions, to make run your Sparc/Solaris/Weblogic business application servers.
Moreover, we could see some really cool and great things happen in the filesytem domain: just think that ZSF, btrfs and OCFS(2) fathers are now in the same company...

I don't fear anything for MySQL. Oracle bought InnoDB not so long time ago, they already thought to buy them at the same moment Sun did. MySQL could become their "low level" offer, and all the big customer will be encourage to switch to Oracle DB with wors like "you know, we own both system, but clearly you, you need our most expensive one, the one that works best".

The Java language and the Java platform
Oracle have a lot of business application build on Java, and now they own the platform. They also have two JVMs.
Oh, and they make money with the techno, something Sun never succeeded to do.

So clearly, Java was a BIG motivation for the operation, and Oracle will want to promote at the maximum its platform against opponents. And a better platform whould lead to better softwares, no ? :)

The real question is about policies. What will happen to JCP ? In the current model, the guerilla beside Sun and IBM was famous, things could become even worst now... Will Oracle try to follow MS way in the management of its software platform evolution to avoid it ?

Less clear points
My real interrogation are around Sun existing application, and Oracle behavior toward OpenSource.

Netbeans may be a winner here, even if Oracle seem to have taken interests onto Eclipse. But what will happen to Glassfish ? The v3 is amazing, it's still a reference implementation of JEE, but there's Weblogic... So, Glassfish has the low level / test solution, and Weblo for "real things" ?

Even more frighting, what will happen to Sun's (really good) Identity and Access Management solution (OpenDS, OpenSSO, Identity Manager, etc) ? Oracle was a frontal concurrent here, I don't see them keep both offers...

And what will happen to the Sun clear move toward open source ? Oracle is not reluctant to OSS (I mean, at least not more than IBM), and they contributed some really nice stuff in the last years (btrfs for example). But they are not exactly an open source company, to say the least.

So, what next for us ?
So, my best hope is that Oracle will free a lot of technical/low level stuff, like filesystem, a JVM, etc. That kind of stuff has little added value (in dollars) for them, and they might attracts a lot of geek / small companies to work on and make them better. On the other hand, Oracle keep their higher level, more business oriented, and far more profitable middlewares as incomes sources.

To conclude, there is one thing that I'm sure of: "It's tough making predictions, especially about the future", as would say Yogi Berra. Or Neils Bohr. Or Mark Twain. Or was it Robert Storm Petersen ? Well, at least, what is done is done, and let's see what will happen !

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