So Sun is officially being sold after all, not to IBM but to Oracle, for $7.4 billion (a little more than IBM was reportedly willing to pay).
What does that mean for Oracle and Sun customers? If you're a Sun customer, does this leave you relieved or anxious?
The future of Java is evidently secure, as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison is talking about stewardship of that software being particularly important to this deal, given its role in the so many enterprise middleware systems including those created by Oracle. How light a touch, or heavy a hand, Oracle will exert on the future development of Java may be a concern for some, however.
The combination of Oracle database software and Sun servers and Solaris operating system has a long history, so this is to some extent the sealing of a venerable partnership. On the other hand, it has the potential to disrupt the marketing of other combinations, such as Oracle on Hewlett-Packard's Unix servers or Oracle on Dell Linux servers.
The future of MySQL, the open source database which Sun bought a year ago for $1 billion, is also an obvious question mark. MySQL is mostly known as a database for powering websites -- cheap to set up for small organizations and reasonably scalable as they grow. It's also used with some mid-market enterprise applications, particularly those that are themselves open source, such as SugarCRM.
Larry Dignan at ZDNet has a throw-away line in his analysis
of the benefits for Oracle saying "Oracle gets to kill MySQL. There’s no way Ellison will let that open source database mess with the margins of his database."
"Kill" is probably an exaggeration. I think Oracle will allow some grudging coexistence with the open source database, much as Sun has learned to allow Solaris and Linux to coexist within different parts of its product line. You just won't see MySQL pushed as aggressively beyond its niche in web publishing into taking on more high-end capabilities that would make it suitable as an Oracle replacement for enterprise applications.