Oracle – from software to systems, courtesy of Sun

Much was made of the alarm that some Sun customers felt over the Oracle takeover, especially by rival vendors. Cooler heads may reflect that Oracle’s intervention probably saved Sun from a more savage remodelling at the hands of IBM, and instead created a company capable of competing toe-to-toe with Big Blue at almost every level.

This wasn’t true of Oracle 12 months ago. Back then, the company was arguably the industry’s most complete supplier of data and information management software – the premier database supplier, with a strong middleware and integrated business applications portfolio, and recognised expertise in business intelligence, business process management and SOA. This made it a ‘key supplier’ to many organisations, according to Freeform Dynamics’ Vile.

Post-acquisition, Oracle’s stack extends all the way down to the underlying chip technology, encompassing a highly regarded server platform and the very popular and virtualisation-ready Solaris operating system. Oracle is now also the chief repository for the Java programming environment and controller of the StarOffice desktop application suite.
With these new capabilities on board, Enterprise Software Group Bowker believes that “Oracle may now have the most complete stack in the industry”.

Whether this will be enough to raise its status in customers’ eyes from ‘key supplier’ to ‘trusted strategic partner’ remains to be seen. Oracle’s previous acquisitions – such as those of JD Edwards and PeopleSoft – have not enhanced the company’s reputation for customer partnership, something the company must address if the future of computing is genuinely going to be about IT delivery as a service.

How the vendors stack up

IBM – the stack veteran

The computing giant is one of the pioneers of the pre-integrated systems model that is now returning to vogue

VCE Alliance – an ambitious bid from the outsiders

The confederacy of VMware, Cisco and EMC has technological credentials but its stack vision is still a work in progress

Microsoft & Hewlett-Packard – a pragmatic partnership

The two IT giants’ commitment to co-operation and mutual interoperability is a practical reaction to industry moves

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