What happens when a large software company like Oracle acquires a struggling hardware company that has passed its prime like SUN? SUN customers who were already very concerned about the viability of their supplier get even more nervous. They put hardware acquisitions on hold and start talking to competitors. The sales of the struggling hardware maker take a plunge as in 30.6% drop of revenue in the latest quarter. What does Oracle do? Tries to reassure SUN hardware customers with advertisements like this:
Looks like a great tactic; Oracle marketing has always been a well oiled machine. So, why are the customers not buying the message? Yesterday Oracle had a chance to demonstrate their commitment to SPARC and Solaris. Instead, it went and did the exact opposite by announcing that the first combination of Oracle database and SUN hardware will not use either SPARC or Solaris. Instead, Oracle Exadata Version 2 that Larry Ellison announced yesterday is based on Intel Nehalem processors and Oracle Linux. This move does not exactly inspire confidence in the future of SPARC and Solaris. One also has to question this new found love for x64 architecture as SUN’s key technologist behind that line, SUN co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim left to do really cool Cloud Computing stuff.
The most bizarre thing is the way the webcast itself was run. Advertised as the new OLTP database appliance, most of the content was around data warehousing and most of the comparisons (none substantiated) were drawn against HP-based Exadata Version 1 warehouse appliance. Speaking of Exadata Version 1 … this thing has only been on the market for a few months and has already met its premature demise as has Oracle’s relationship with arguably their best partner i.e. HP.The way the webcast ended left a few people scratching their heads. As soon as the charts with outrageous unsubstantiated claims ran out the phone lines went dead. No beta customers, no questions not even a good bye.
I think, (and this and everything else on this blog are my opinion only) Oracle did the right thing with the ad professing their commitment to SPARC and Solaris. They should have done the same for MySQL, the future of which is completely unknown, and stopped right there. This hastily put together Exadata Version 2 announcement will do nothing but make SUN customers even more nervous and make them run to IBM and HP even faster than they have been so far.