Oracle Outlines Sun Software Plans

Oracle buys Sun

Even though it’s still struggling to close the purchase, Oracle has laid out a five-page plan (here in PDF format) for all to read on what it will do with Sun Microsystems’ hardware and software products once the deal gets the regulatory seal of approval.

No product is overlooked and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) pretty much promises to increase investments in everything Sun has. Oracle announced plans to buy Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) in May of this year but the deal has dragged on with no clear end in sight. The U.S. Department of Justice took its time before signing off, but then the European Commission (EC) decided to investigate the potential impact on MySQL, the popular open source database Sun owns.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said Sun loses $100 million per month as the approvals drag on, and the delay thus far has already cost 3,000 their jobs, although many more are expected to be cut once the deal is finalized.

Meanwhile, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has been merciless in trying to steal customers away from Sun.

All Ellison can do at this point is offer assurances, something he has done repeatedly, including at JavaOne and Oracle OpenWorld. So far, he has focused on the Sun hardware business, which many industry watchers figured he would dispose of as soon as possible, though Ellison has sworn otherwise.

Now, a new memo posted by Oracle reiterates the commitment to Sun hardware but also describes, in great detail, plans for Sun software for the first time.

The PDF file has a publication date of Oct. 26, but does not say what date it was posted to Oracle’s home page. Calls to Oracle were not returned as of press time.

The memo addresses all of Sun’s major software products, from Java to Solaris to GlassFish and NetBeans to OpenOffice and Sun’s virtualization, identity management and systems management products.

Repeating Ellison’s vow at JavaOne in June, Oracle promised to “accelerate investment in the Java platform for the benefit of customers and the Java community.” It pointed out the firm’s own heavy reliance on Java for its Fusion Middleware products and plans for continued support.

“Oracle plans to not only broaden and accelerate its own investment in the Java platform, but also plans to increase the commitment to the community that helps make Java an ubiquitous, innovative platform unified around open standards,” the company said in the document.

The same promise is made for Solaris. “Oracle plans to spend more money developing Solaris than Sun does now. The industry-leading capabilities of the Solaris operating system make it the leader in performance, scalability, reliability, and security — all of which are core requirements for our customers. Oracle plans to enhance our investment in Solaris to push core technologies to the next level as quickly as possible.”

Committed to open source

Oracle also said it plans to “actively” support the community around GlassFish,
the Sun-led Java Enterprise Edition app server project. It also plans to align common infrastructure components and innovations from Oracle WebLogic Server and GlassFish Enterprise Server to benefit both Oracle WebLogic Server and GlassFish Enterprise Server customers.

Sun’s integrated development environment (IDE) NetBeans is a competitor to Oracle’s JDeveloper and Enterprise Pack for Eclipse Java IDEs, but Oracle said it will retain NetBeans as an alternative to its non-open source IDEs.

“NetBeans is expected to provide an additional open source option and complement to the two free tools Oracle already offers for enterprise Java development,” the company said in its memo.

It also again reiterated plans to spend more money on MySQL than Sun does now, a promise Ellison made at OpenWorld.

“Oracle expects to continue to develop and provide the open source MySQL database after the transaction closes,” the company said in the document. “Oracle plans to add MySQL to Oracle’s existing suite of database products, which already includes Berkeley DB, an open source database … Oracle already distributes MySQL as part of our Enterprise Linux offering.”

The company has no competitive overlap between its own products and the OpenOffice productivity suite, but Oracle did say it would continue development of what it calls “a compelling desktop integration bridge for our enterprise customers” and offering consumers “another choice on the desktop.”

Oracle also said it would continue Sun’s desktop virtualization software, including VDI, Sun Ray, Secure Global Desktop and VirtualBox, while Sun’s identity management and service-oriented architecture software will be integrated into Fusion Middleware, according to the document.

Sun’s Ops Center system management product is “highly complementary” to Oracle’s Enterprise Manage,” it said.

When Oracle buys a company, it typically absorbs the products instead of leaving them as standalone offerings. That’s likely to still be case with many Sun virtualization and management technologies, which Oracle has said it wants to offer as part of an integrated set of products.

“Oracle and Sun’s management software are highly complementary. Oracle Enterprise Manager and Sun Ops Center are expected to combine and deliver to customers the most complete top-down application and systems management environment from applications to hardware,” it said in the document.

Analyst Charles King was impressed with the volume of answers. “It looks to me like they tried to do a very complete job of answering just about every question anyone has asked about this deal over the last eight months,” said King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. “I was reading through it thinking, did they leave any stone unturned?”

He said it’s a reflection of some pressure both companies have faced over the last several months.

“It’s one thing for them to put a stake in the ground and comprehensively answer questions,” he told “I think the size of the document and answers are a reflection of the degree of pushback they’ve been getting, not just competitors who have been exploiting uncertainty, but also the number of questions Oracle is getting from customers and partners, that they need to get out and make a definitive statement.”

King also said he figures it will help answer preliminary questions that customers may have. “If someone brings up Glassfish, they can say ‘go to page four in the doc and get back to me with specific questions.’ It gives them a place to start from,” he said.

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