Heck, everybody else is writing about it, I guess I might as well too. Oracle is buying Sun. Why? And what are the implications? Here are some quick thoughts. Short term, everybody is likely to focus on the anti-trust “buy your competitor” aspect. Longer term, I think this gives Oracle an opportunity to do have a complete stack from hardware on up that they control. They’ve been sucking operating-system functionality into their own codebase for ages, and taken several stabs at the whole “bare iron” thing with what could most charitably be described as mixed results. Now they could put Oracle on Solaris on Niagara/Rock and turn the whole thing into an integrated system such as nobody else except IBM has. They can then start positioning that not as a database engine but – with the addition of the ability to run arbitrary Java (or other JVM-based language) code – as an application engine. As I was saying to a colleague this morning, with cloud computing people are already demonstrating a certain willingness to run high-scale applications on top of relatively opaque infrastructures. Would an Oracle Cloud be any less appealing than Google App Engine or Cisco UCS? It bears thinking about.
Another topic near and dear to my heart is what happens to Lustre now that the people involved will be working for their third company in two years. Or maybe they won’t. Oracle has never shown much interest in the scientific-computing space where Lustre plays. What with Exadata Server and other technologies already under their belts, the Oracle folks might not have any use for Lustre or the engineers behind it. It doesn’t seem that unlikely that they’d cut it loose, to be picked up as an open-source project led by some of the other big Lustre players outside of Sun. The same thing could happen if they try to close it up and turn it into something that fits their own needs better, which would almost certainly lead to an immediate fork by those same players. Either way, some of the relentless push toward integration with every other Sun technology might stop, and you know what? That’s all good as far as I can tell. A more community-led Lustre, being pushed less by its owners in directions that the community really doesn’t want to go, might be a very good thing.
I’m sure I’ll have more later, but that’s all I can think of now.