After the acquisition of Sun goes through, Oracle plans to step up investments in the Sparc processor. Unlike Intel's Xeon family of microprocessors or Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron chips, Sparc doesn't work with software written for the x86 instruction set. But Ellison sees value in having control over features at the silicon level of its hardware systems.
"Once we own Sun we're going to increase the investment in Sparc. We think designing our own chips is very, very important. Even Apple is designing its own chips these days," Ellison said. "Right now, Sparc chips do some things better than Intel chips and vice-versa. For example, Sparc is much more energy efficient than Intel while delivering the same performance on a per-socket basis.
"Sparc machines are much less expensive to run than Intel machines," he said.
Ellison also announced a desire to continue working with Fujitsu on future development of Sparc. Fujitsu sells its own line of Sparc servers and has long worked with Sun on development of servers based on the chips.
"We want to work with Fujitsu to design advanced features into the Sparc microprocessor aimed at improving Oracle database performance. In my opinion, this will enable Sparc Solaris open-system mainframes and servers to challenge IBM’s dominance in the datacenter," he said.
(James Niccolai, in San Francisco, contributed to this report.)