Farewell Sun, Nice Month For Larry Ellison

Now that the dust has settled on the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems, I have to say a bittersweet farewell to the first global tech firm I crossed paths with as a young intern. I have to say that as an analyst over the past three and a half years, I had a tough time working with Sun Storage: the patchwork portfolio, the revolving door leadership style, the $4Billion dollar oil and water acquisition of StorageTek and deeply questionable corporate marketing efforts. Over the last 2 years I had pretty much given this venerable American innovation firm up for dead, and the prospect of IBM picking them up on the cheap seemed likely to be the final nail in the coffin. Then Oracle swoops in and snaps them up in a deal that I think makes more sense than any other imaginable outcome for Sun. From an enterprise storage perspective, the idea of vast tracts of SSD enabled Sun Thumpers, running ZFS, interconnected with Infiniband, virtualized by Oracle ASM and sold by one vendor in a single SKU package, pre-installed with low variability of configuration and better performance and scalability than pure storage vendors can offer.

So, hats off to Larry Ellison for winning the America’s cup less than 30 days after digesting a global technology nameplate and former partner/competitor (actually, everybody is a competitor to Larry). This acquisition will secure Larry’s place in the robber baron hall of fame, and will eventually put Oracle into the conversation of enterprise IT mega-vendors along with HP, IBM, and, increasingly, Cisco. Oracle now has a (mostly) comprehensive infrastructure toolset to build around the stickiest part of IT, the application. If Larry can deliver, it will change the way businesses deploy infrastructure, organize their teams, deliver high performance and just maybe, enable lower total cost to the customer. Seems like a good horse to bet on right about now ...