Oracle bags Sleepycat (and baby's a beauty)

In today's IT Blogwatch, we look at Sleepycat getting into bed with Oracle. Not to mention she's a beauty but not for real neither is hack a baby ...

The Sleepycat will most likely go to sleep for ever. We've seen it before. From the cat's mouth (so to speak) comes the report from Sleepcat's own Mike Olson: "You have likely heard the rumors; you may even have heard the news. It's true. This morning, we announced that Sleepycat is joining forces with Oracle ... Sleepycat was founded to provide a commercial-grade embeddable database engine for serious enterprise use ... Applications today are spread across a wide range of systems -- web servers, switches and routers, wired and wireless network gateways, laptops, PDAs and more. They rely on special-purpose services like identity management, store-and-forward messaging, authentication, personalization and others ... All of these systems and all of these services operate on data. They generate it, store it, search for it and transmit it. Every one of them is an opportunity for a special brand of database management  ... We're joining Oracle because we believe the opportunity in embedded data management is too big for us to handle on our own. It's impossible to predict the future, but the smart money is on more computers in more places doing more things ... We believe that Sleepycat and its Berkeley DB products complement what Oracle already owns. We think we bring depth and experience to an already remarkable team [I hope for their sake this happens, seen way too many takeovers, take over and the little company and its employees disappear.]  ...  We have no plans to change the open source strategy that Sleepycat pioneered, and that has been so successful for us. The Berkeley DB products will continue to be distributed under both open source and proprietary licenses. The open source community remains a critical factor in our success. Our commitment to that community is as strong today as it has always been ... Our product plans are unchanged. We're staffed up and hard at work on the features you've asked us to build. Ten years is an eternity in technology. None of us could have predicted, when Sleepycat was founded, how successful we would become. The first ten years have been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. It's been a gas. Here's to the next ten!"

» Kanak comments: "As a developer and a great fan of Sleepycat, I have mixed feelings. Congratulations to the Sleepycat Team! But, I do feel a wee bit sad."

» Mike at Techdirt: "It's no secret that Oracle is looking for growth-through-rollup, but the open source part of the strategy is still making some wonder what the company's strategy really will be. It's smart in that the company recognizes that open source technologies really do impact its market -- but it's not clear how Oracle will deal with a very different type of business model, which could directly cannibalize some of its own existing sales. It's easy to talk a good game about how the two can co-exist, but having your salesforce actually live it is a different story. If it goes well, however, it could be a case study for companies facing disruptive upstarts who recognize that 'free' can often represent a realistic business model."

» Martin MC Brown: "They could just be looking to invest in technology that can easily be embedded into other applications. Oracle software is not exactly small and portable, but that seems to be the direction that software is going as more and more small commercial devices (PVRs, handhelds etc) are released. That's a big market that a company like Oracle would probably want to invest in. Rather than adjust their existing technology, just buy the market leading alternative. There aren't many easily embeddable database technologies that aren't already owned or operated elsewhere."

» Red Herring: "In October, the company acquired Finland-based Innobase, the maker of InnoDB—a transactional database technology ... Sleepycat has adopted a hybrid model  ... An embedded database like Berkeley DB resides within business applications, making it unnecessary for customers to separately buy databases. The embedded database maintains itself and does not require a database administrator, resulting in cost savings on maintenance and licenses. The address book and other data stored in a cell phone is a result of an embedded database ... Oracle is tapping into a $2-billion market for embedded databases, which is projected to grow to $3.2 billion in 2009, according to research firm IDC. In this space, Oracle faces competition from IBM, MySQL, Sybase, and Progress Software, and the company is looking for an edge ... Starting with its acquisition of PeopleSoft in early 2005, Oracle has been on a long shopping spree. In the past 18 months, the Redwood Shores, California-based company has spent close to $19 billion acquiring about a dozen companies."

» Alexander Muse:  "Give away your software and you just might get bought. Last year it was IBM who was buying Gluecode Software (open source application server). This year it is Oracle buying JBoss (another open source application server company). How much is JBoss worth? Oracle has offered $200MM but the folks who run JBoss think it is worth $400MM. Why are these blue chip companies buying free software companies? According to Infoworld the answer is simple."

» Kimbro Staken, Artima: "Congratulations are in order for the guys at Sleepycat. For my own projects, I don't know if this is a good thing or not yet. It definitely won't be a good thing if Oracle makes the project closed source. I'm sure we'll find out before too much longer ... Hopefully this just signals a trend that they're planning to support the open source community, rather than a trend that they're going to use their might to pull critical projects off the open source map."

» Joseph Scott: "One can’t help but think that Oracle is giving MySQL every reason to just give up and be purchased by Oracle. As an outsider it sure looks like MySQL is the main target to either be bought or crushed by Oracle. One of the comments on Jeremy’s post about the Sleepycat purchase even suggests that MySQL was able to secure an additional $18.5 million in funding because of the potential return when/if Oracle buys MySQL. We’ll have to wait and see if the rumors about JBoss and Zend turn out to true. "

Buffer overflow:

And finally...  She's a beauty but not for real ... shades of blow up dolls, hack a baby

Richi Jennings (has gone to another timezone, temporarily, so  the Antipodean is doing the blogging this week) is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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