Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Thoughts on the Sun and Oracle

Every industry analyst has expressed an uninformed opinion on Sun and Oracle and figured that I should be equally irresponsible...

Talking about products all day doesn't get me excited. What does is the possibility that Sun may be afforded the opportunity to fix deficiencies in their culture. I have met many Sun employees whom I thought were bright but otherwise constrained in their ability to do meaningful things like interact with customers in a proper way.

Many Sun employees are on mailing lists and are passionate about blogging but yet never find enough ways to interact with customers on a face-to-face basis. For example, in the Hartford CT area, you can find user groups for developers being run by Microsoft, Oracle and other large vendors. What you won't find is a single event that is ever sponsored by Sun targeted at this demographic.

So, we all know that support via mailing lists is a great characteristic but this usually matters only until after you become a customer. Sun simply doesn't do enough before you are one. Likewise, folks understand that I am passionate about building security in and believe that software companies need to have static analysis tools in their portfolio to provide secure code review capabilities. If you were to take a look at the top ten enterprise software vendors, Sun is the only vendor to not have any deep capabilities to review their own code. At some level, they rely on smart people but this isn't a sustainable model.

Oracle's culture doesn't suffer from any of the above deficiencies and if they get the acquisition right, it could be 1 + 1 = 11. Now for a few predictions:

1. Oracle will dump OpenSSO in three years and stick with OIF.

2. Oracle will keep both OIM and Sun IDM as it is too difficult, costly to migrate customers between them.

3. Oracle had a strategy around providing specialized storage capability for Oracle databases. This strategy can now be flushed as they were working with HP on it.

4. Sun employees would do themselves a big favor by being proactive and pursuing their own startups. Think about writing those business plans you dreamed about and getting funding for them. The bloodbath is imminent.

5. The employees within Sun who will survive will not only be the better engineers, but the ones who understand the mindset of those within large enterprises. I suggest Sun employees start reading enterprise architecture books in their spare time.

6. The biggest bloodbath will occur with Sun employees in India...

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