The recent fourth quarter reports from server manufacturers was dim, and Sun Microsystems was by far the worst (with a 35% loss compared to the same period last year). On top of this, Sun just announced in October (within their 8K filing for the SEC) intentions to lay off 3000 employees in the next 12 months. Infoworld also had a nice piece on this; according to Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, the company is losing $100 million each month the European Union regulators put off accepting the merger.
With the Oracle acquisition in progress, there are a lot of questions about the future viability of Sun Microsystems, and of some of its products.
I don’t think people realize just how important the Sun group of products are, and what an impact it would have if most – or even some – of the products were cancelled. Consider this list of Sun products:
- Solaris – and OpenSolaris.
- SPARC – and OpenSPARC.
- MySQL. There was a recent report from the 451 Group that suggests that usage of MySQL may fall off based on the current uncertainty around Sun.
- StarOffice – and OpenOffice.
- VirtualBox (and associated virtual products). Virtualbox also has an open source version, and was just updated to version 3.1 with new features. InformationWeek and eWeek both had excellent articles on the new Virtualbox.
- Sun Modular Data Centers (originally with the codename Project Blackbox).
- The Lustre Filesystem.
Most of the most popular products were mentioned by Oracle in their Sun Acquisition FAQ (PDF), stating that they will increase money spent on each over what Sun spent. These products include: Java, Solaris, SPARC, StarOffice, NetBeans, virtualization products, Glassfish, and MySQL. Other products were not mentioned – such as Lustre, the Modular Data Center, and others.
The list above also does not list the technologies that were spearheaded by Sun – and some still are: ZFS, NFS, NIS (and NIS+), dtrace, containers, and smc.
It would be unfortunate – and materially significant – if Sun were to go under or if any of the majority of their products were to be cancelled. One can only hope this does not happen…