How Will Customers View the Deal?
Martins said he wasn't sure about how customers will view the deal.
"I'm simply not sure at this point," he said. "We may see a mass exodus [of Sun customers] over the next couple of years, unless Oracle presents a clear and compelling vision for its customers."
Martins also wondered about the value of StorageTek's tape business.
"Sun's tape [business] is now up in the air. I mean, really, what the heck is Oracle going to do with STK [SotrageTek] remnants in a market that's not dead, but slowly dying?" Martins said. "I'd like to see those assets sold off to a company that is willing and able to actually support it over the next several years, but who?"
Enterprise Strategy Group storage analyst Brian Babineau believes Oracle has two options to choose from regarding its new storage products/services cache.
"They can go vertically integrated; i.e.: only sell storage with a database and server, and specialize [the solutions] with an application," Babineau said. "Or they can maintain a horizontal business [i.e.: sell storage systems against EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP, and others] while building vertically integrated solutions.
"I'm betting that they do the latter, which would make this a very interesting market from a competitive standpoint. That being said, storage hardware doesn't have the same margin profile as software -- or integrated systems with software."
An 'Interesting' New Market About to Emerge
What makes this a more interesting market from a competitive standpoint, when Oracle enters the storage sales competition?
"Most of the storage vendors' sales people chase Oracle sales people around, because when a database is implemented, there is a high likelihood that new or incremental storage capacity will be needed," Babineau said.
"If Oracle is now selling storage, this cat-and-mouse game could get flipped upside down, with the traditional storage vendors having to fight against a once easy-to-work-with 'partner.' "
If you chase a mouse long enough, you may not catch it, but are likely to find cheese, Babineau said. Thus, you get to eat your fair share.
"But, if you cannot catch the mouse, and it eats all the cheese, then you spend all your time running around -- and you starve," Babineau said.
Will Oracle become that uncatchable mouse? Lots of storage companies are wondering this right about now.