A year later: Has Oracle ruined or saved Sun?

The company irks open source advocates but is steadfast in upgrading Sun-derived technologies

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Among Oracle's Sparc-based hardware rollouts was the Sparc Supercluster, based on Sparc T3 and M5000 servers, that Oracle introduced in December. It has been positioned as a platform for the Oracle database and RAC (Real Application Clusters).

Oracle continues to invest in other Sun hardware
On the client side, Sun introduced the Sun Ray 3 and Sun Ray 3i clients. The 3i device features a high-definition display, while the Sun Ray 3 is billed as the company's lowest-cost thin client.

In the storage space, Oracle unveiled in January the StorageTek T10000C tape drive, with 5TB of native capacity. The company's Sun ZFS Storage Appliance product line, revealed in September, features integration with Oracle's database and applications as well as with Oracle Fusion middleware and Solaris.

IDC analyst Al Hilwa gives Oracle a thumbs-up on the job it has done with Sun hardware. "Given that Sun was struggling financially for years prior to the acquisition, and that it was facing some serious adjustment in the scale of its hardware business, I think Oracle has done well so far from a financial perspective, keeping the business on track, the margins inline and growing its software revenues," he says.

The verdict on Oracle's stewardship of Sun
A year after the Sun acquisition by a database and middleware company with no experience in hardware or Unix OS development, it's clear that Oracle is driving the Sun technology mantle forward, where Sun could not survive on its own. Although Oracle had product redundancies with Sun such as in the application server and IDE spaces, Oracle had no such overlap in the chip set, hardware, and Unix operating system it was acquiring -- unlike IBM, the other candidate interested in Sun. Less of Sun may have survived in that scenario.

Oracle was large enough to take on Sun and experienced enough with mergers to integrate what Sun had to offer, given its experience in added wares from large companies such as PeopleSoft and BEA Systems. That augurs well for the core Sun technologies.

But Oracle is not a company worried about alienating its competitors or partners. The whole organization -- not just Ellison -- has a penchant to publicly bash whomever it disagrees with. Hewlett-Packard discovered that tendency in the dismissal of CEO Mark Hurd (now an Oracle executive), as did SAP -- Oracle PR spammed the press with scathing commentary on its chief applications competitor during the recent trial over software piracy. It should be no surprise that Oracle has continued to upset some people with its New World Order for Sun technologies.

Although this modus operandi is sure to continue angering some technology purists and old-school Sun fans, it should provide reassurance to users that they have a powerhouse behind them with every intention to carry forward those technologies -- and make them profitable.

This story, "A year later: Has Oracle ruined or saved Sun?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in the technology industry at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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