Oracle has a Sun spot

Oracle is pushing itself into a corner, a fantastic money-making corner, but a corner nonetheless.

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Larry Ellison

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison talks during his keynote address at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, California September 22, 2010.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Oracle’s nothing if tenacious, and they’ve ignored hardware earnings losses to take the recently acquired Sun hardware platform to its next level and renewal with the announcement of the T4 CPU UltraSparc family for its servers. Sun was always a maverick, and its Sparc and UltraSparc processors became the standard bearer for server-based RISC technology. Now it’s dragging Oracle down. Larry Ellison seems to have had a fixation over delivering the Full Meal Deal® to its customers -- hardware, software, services, applications, and integration support. The idea has worked well for others, yet others haven’t publicly bruised so many on the way up.

Oracle’s competitors, HP with its EDS integration force, and IBM’s mainframes, servers, and developer network have provided intense competition that made the Oracle-Sun deal sound initially sensible. But Sun’s hardware has become a burden on earnings. And while Oracle’s recently announced T4-family based Sun hardware is impressive, the move may backfire despite impressive T4 vision and specs.

Here’s why: No rational IT executive doubts Oracle’s database infrastructure, and Oracle’s applications suites hold their own. What Oracle faces is a challenge towards industrial shifts at several levels. One-stop shops for apps have become enormously convenient for CIOs and organizations have become successful with Oracle infrastructure as their business process engines, and Oracle’s developer community is comparatively strong. In fact, the Oracle developer conference next week will likely show the same strength that VMware’s VMWorld recently had -- lots of international smiling faces.

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