Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oracle, Sun’s assets, Gridification of FMW, and Cloud Computing

Oracle’s acquisition of Sun hit a snag in EU earlier this month. According to their statement, the EC is concerned that Oracle (the largest database vendor) + Sun’s MySQL (the largest open-source db) would be an anti-competitive combination in their market.  So, they are going to look at this further and make a ruling by Jan 2010.

This is unfortunate for Sun’s customers and also business partners, since it delays any communication from Oracle on product support, strategy, plans, roadmap, etc.  Customers must wait to get more details on how this acquisition may effect their investments in Sun technologies.   For Sun’s business partners, deals are probably on hold until Oracle is legally able to unveil more information. 

There are a lot of rumors around this acquisition.  This reminds of when Oracle acquired BEA.  Back then, I remember hearing some wild speculations about what Oracle might do with BEA assets.  Fast-forward to Fusion Middleware (FMW)11g, JRocket & WebLogic  (along with Coherence) are now key components of FMW, more specifically, Application Grid, and majority of the BEA assets are incorporated into other layers of FMW (i.e. SOA, BPM).  

So, in terms of Sun acquisition, we are just going to have to wait until EC’s ruling to get more details from Oracle :-[   Now, since my interest is in Cloud Computing, I thought it would be interesting to speculate what Oracle may do with Sun technologies once they close the deal…  Before we being to discuss Sun’s Cloud Computing related assets, let’s take a look where these companies are vis-a-vis Cloud Computing.

Sun has long had a vision for network-based computing dating back to a couple of decades ago.  However, their most recent efforts have involved where they offered a public Grid over the Internet, followed by Caroline which delivers a Platform-as-a-Service based on OpenSolaris, Sun’s virtualization technologies, and HPC solutions.   At this point, some of Sun’s partners (i.e. webappVM, Vertica) have deployed on Caroline.

As for Oracle, there hasn’t been any major announcements around their own Cloud platform.  So far, their efforts have involved offering a set of AMIs on Amazon + Cloud DB backup, and data encryption (which is really a function of Oracle database itself).  

Here is a high-level overview of related assets:




Compute Hardware Sun offers a range of servers powered by its own chip technologies as well as commodity x86/x64 processors.  These solutions have been used at large scale internet service providers such as STRATO None
Compute Storage Sun offers a range of high performance and scalable storage solutions None
Compute Network Sun offers a range of networking solutions from Ethernet-based solutions, to FC SAN adapters & switches, and high performance computing/low latency solutions (Infiniband) None
Operating Systems

Solaris – Sun’s legacy operating system.  The last version of this product is Solaris 10 (2005).

OpenSolaris – This is the open-source version of Solaris and Sun’s strategic OS.   It is a core technology in Sun Open Cloud.

Oracle offers its own distro of Linux based on Red Hat
Server Virtualization

OS-Level virtualization - Sun has integrated Xen into OpenSolaris operating system and offers different levels of resource virtualization (i.e. Zones, Containers, DSC, Crossbow…)

Logical Domains (LDoms) – Sun hardware based virtualization solution

Oracle VM
Storage Virtualization Sun offers a range of storage virtualization solutions None
Desktop Virtualization

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Sun Virtual Box

Virtualization Management xVM Ops Center

OpenSolaris offers built-in resource management facilities for virtual & physical environments
Oracle VM + Virtual Iron
Oracle VM Manager

Oracle Enterprise Manager
High  Performance Computing (HPC) Sun offers a complete stack for HPC workloads (i.e. Sun Constellation System) Oracle Database Real Application Clusters (RAC)

Automatic Storage Management
Application Support GlassFish
Oracle DB
Suites of Eclipse based and non-Eclipse based tools
Systems Management N1 Service Provisioning Service (SPS)

Sun Management Center
Oracle Enterprise Manager

As far as Cloud Computing, here is what I think Oracle will do:

  • Sun hardware – This should be pretty straight forward.  I think Oracle will just continue forward with Sun hardware and existing plans.  From an organizational model, there will probably be a new hardware division including all former Sun server, network, and storage groups.  From a Cloud perspective, Oracle will deliver private Cloud offerings based on Sun hardware and an “Oracle-optimized” software stack.
  • Sun virtualization – Although both Oracle & Sun have implemented their hypervisors based on Xen, Sun has integrated virtualization at the OS level (similar to Red Hat) whereas in Oracle’s case, it is bare-metal hypervisor.  I think the product management team will decide to keep both to offer customers choices, but probably standardize on a single virtual management framework.  In addition, this acquisition will enhance Oracle’s virtualization portfolio with network and storage virtualization solutions as well as desktop virtualization.  I think Oracle will invest in all virtualization technology areas including VDI, as they will be considered growth areas.
  • OpenSolaris – I think Oracle will create an open-source software division to manage OpenSolaris, Sun Cloud, and other software assets & open-source projects.  I also think they will let the developer community to continue to use tools like Netbeans for the foreseeable future.
  • Public Cloud – After this acquisition, Oracle will be able to offer a public Cloud based on OpenSolaris.  Within a short period of time, I expect to see Oracle’s software available on Sun Cloud.  I also expect Oracle to continue to rally the industry around Cloud standardization…
  • Systems Management – At some point, after they figure out how to establish a line between open-source and commercial solutions, Oracle will probably port all of Sun systems management solutions to Oracle Enterprise Manager for unified operation and management.

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