Users, analysts cite potential benefits and pitfalls of IBM buying Sun
Reported acquisition talks between server rivals raise questions about future of Sun technologies
Sun may be a diminished company these days, but it remains an influential one. Through its open-source products and the massive development communities that have been built up around them, Java and MySQL in particular, Sun has a pull that rivals those of companies with far larger and healthier balance sheets.
But with the reported acquisition talks between IBM and Sun, there are questions about what IBM might do with Sun's technologies, especially its open-source ones. For instance, the potential deal is getting mixed reviews from Java users.
In Philadelphia alone, the local Java user group has more than 1,200 members. David Fecak, founder and president of the decade-old user group, said one thing that the Java community likes about Sun's shepherding of the technology is the democratic process that is used to guide the direction of Java.
Fecak's immediate concern is whether IBM would continue to let the Java community operate, and thrive, as it does now. Or, he asked, will IBM move the decision-making process "underground" and take "the community process away from the community"?
Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H., sees an inherent conflict between Sun's open-source culture and what he thinks is IBM's continuing proprietary direction. Although IBM has been a supporter of Linux, its embrace of the open-source operating system "is in the context of what serves IBM," Haff said.
That tack is even more obvious in the database market, according to Haff. Buying Sun would give IBM the MySQL open-source database, which Sun acquired last year. But, Haff said, "IBM doesn't push open-source databases, they push DB2."
There are a range of possible motives for why IBM might want to acquire Sun. Such a deal could be a defensive maneuver against Cisco Systems Inc.'s decision to enter the server business and try to play a more prominent role in data centers, long the domain of companies like IBM, Sun and Hewlett-Packard Co. IBM also could be looking to bolster its ability to compete against Microsoft Corp. via technologies such as Linux and Java, and some observers think that MySQL would be an attraction for IBM.
And of course, Sun is still a major hardware vendor with a considerable installed base, even though the struggling company has bet its future on the success of its open-source strategy and its emerging cloud computing services. Sun's overall revenue dropped 11% in the quarter that ended in December, but the company still reported server sales of about $1.2 billion during that period.
Sun's line of servers based on its own Sparc processors and Solaris operating system could face an uncertain path under IBM, which sells systems built around its Power processors and AIX software that compete directly with the Sun machines.
IBM buying Sun?
- Ballmer: IBM-Sun deal could help Microsoft
- Mark Everett Hall: A Blue Sun is a black day for IT
- Patrick Thibodeau: A pocket guide to IBM's takeover of Sun
- Users, analysts cite potential benefits and pitfalls of IBM buying Sun
- SJVN: The rise of the Blue Sun - IBM and Sun
- An IBM-Sun tie-up offers few advantages in storage arena
- Java crowd has mixed views on potential Sun-IBM deal
- Instant opinion: IBM and Sun - What took them so long?
- Eric Lundquist: IBM in talks to buy Sun (WSJ) turning Sun's cloud Big Blue
- It's Time to Refresh Your Data Center In this Whitepaper, we'll take a close look at how Cisco® Unified Computing System (UCS®) with intelligent Intel® Xeon® processors is revolutionizing the...
- The Strong Business Case for Blades Servers This paper will discuss how several organizations reduced annual IT costs by migrating from a traditional environment to blade server computing.
- Optimize your Virtualization Efforts with a Blade Infrastructure This Brief summarizes the benefits of using a converged and intelligent blade-based infrastructure to support today's highly virtualized environments.
- Maximizing Your Infrastructure through Virtualization With the HP BladeSystem, you can create a virtualized solution that can be tailored to meet your needs today and tomorrow allowing for...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Servers White Papers | Webcasts