Ever since news got out that Oracle snapped up Sun Microsystems, a big question mark has been hanging over Sun’s SPARC business. Would Oracle kill it off? Sell it? Or would they actually invest in creating a top-to-bottom hardware+software stack, like Apple and Cisco? Oracle’s CEO has given the answer. And yes, that’s a new category icon up there.
In a SEC filing yesterday, as well as during a talk with Reuters, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison explained he wants Oracle to become like Cisco and Apple. “We’re definitely not going to exit the hardware business,” Ellison said, “[Apple and Cisco] enjoy very high-margins because they do a good job of designing their hardware and software to work together.”
He also said that Oracle will stick to the SPARC architecture, which can only be seen as a win for us enthusiasts. “Once we own Sun we’re going to increase the investment in SPARC. We think designing our own chips is very, very important,” Ellison said, “Right now, SPARC chips do some things better than Intel chips and vice-versa. For example, SPARC is much more energy efficient than Intel while delivering the same performance on a per socket basis. SPARC machines are much less expensive to run than
He further explained:
We want to work with Fujitsu to design advanced features into the SPARC microprocessor aimed at improving Oracle database performance. In my opinion, this will enable SPARC Solaris open-system mainframes and servers to challenge IBM’s dominance in the data center. Sun was very successful for a very long time selling computer systems based on the SPARC chip and the Solaris operating system. Now, with the added power of integrated Oracle software, we think they can be again.
Even though these are just words, they should reassure SPARC enthusiasts and customers. Only time will tell, however, how much these words are worth.