Oracle Outlines SPARC, Solaris 11 Plans

Six months after completing the deal to acquire Sun Microsystems, Oracle officials say Solaris 11 will arrive in 2011, and SPARC performance will at least double every other year through 2015.

Oracle will release the next version of the Solaris operating system in 2011, and will double the performance of its SPARC processors every other year.

Those were some of the highlights of an Aug. 10 Webcast presentation by John Fowler, executive vice president of systems for Oracle, outlining an aggressive road map designed to raise the company's profile as a data center solution player and differentiate it from competitors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

The event in San Francisco was the first of about 80 that Oracle will present around the country.

Oracle officials are emphasizing the advantages the company enjoys after having brought Sun Microsystems into the fold. As the company courted Sun through much of 2009 and early this year, analysts and customers alike questioned the future of Sun's hardware business in the hands of a software giant such as Oracle.

However, CEO Larry Ellison and other executives said they planned to invest in such Sun technologies as SPARC processors and the Solaris operating system, and tightly engineer them to work well with Oracle's existing database and middleware software products.

Fowler was head of Sun's hardware business when the company was sold to Oracle for $7.4 billion, and now has the same role at Oracle. The combined company can now put Oracle's enterprise software offerings on Sun hardware, giving the company a level of performance and scalability unmatched in the industry, Fowler said in an interview with eWEEK before the Aug. 10 event.

Oracle has always offered software and applications that were open and could run in any environment, as well as management tools that helped these software products work better together.

"The Sun acquisition is just a fundamental extension of that strategy," Fowler said.

Oracle is building open systems that can run anyone's software, but that are designed to run Oracle products exceptionally well.

Some analysts have been questioning how well Oracle can do in the hardware space. In an Aug. 2 survey, TheInfoPro found that businesses are continuing to scale back their IT budgets, making for a difficult environment for server vendors. Companies like Dell, which focus on less expensive products, will be able to ride out the storm.

However, the survey found that Oracle is among the most vulnerable hardware makers, as TheInfoPro analysts have been seeing a drop in spending on Sun equipment, and that trend is expected to continue.