OS(S)The current battle among platforms is not at the OS level but at the web services level with JOnAS being the most recent adopter of J2EE 1.4 capabilities. As long as this is the case, and it is until an acquisition of Red Hat, Sun is in the prime position of controlling the SOA model. There is nothing that BEA can do any longer to affect their own fate, they are attempting to run as fast as they can, but setting the pace does not even mean anything, even if they were setting the pace. They are stuck between being behind in J2EE adoption via JBoss, and being behind Sun in SOA leadership. They made their last gasp three years ago with Workshop and have not recovered since. Either sell out to Oracle, or open source everything, they no longer have the clout to dictate their own destiny. Sun's play with Storage Tek is 100% about the app. server. Who would buy a company for their revenue or profits? Jonathan suggests that is what Sun has done:
But logic insists that the Sun board would not allow this to happen with 50% of available cash, their lifeblood. Even considering the long running dance they are doing with McNealy, it is not wise to bet the company, which they are the custodians of, for an unrecognizable boost in revenue. (2.2B is child's play in enterprise computing) Even Jonathan's suggestion that part of the deal is done for "heterogeniety" is false. This is 100% a Solaris move, and he does partially sugest this in the blog with his reference to OpenSolaris. But the reason to buy this set of customers is to move them on to the Solaris platform at zero cost and maintain some relevance for the OS. For as long as there is a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th OS (Windows, Solaris, Linux, Mac), there is the need for Java. And the only thing that Java represents today of business value is J2EE. And the only company capable of capitalizing on the OS battle with Java is Sun. Until IBM buys Red Hat, or Red Hat buys JBoss (won't happen), there is nothing that competes with the Sun application server for SOA - OSS platform of choice (as Yafim would say).
I give Sun a lot of credit for the move. They had no choice but to look outside of software for a strategic move. Critics (i.e. all industry and financial analysts outside of Ashlee) will remark on the opportunity to buy Sybase (already have Clustra), or to buy BEA (already have AS8.1 EE and JAX, although Plumtree would be nice), but the reality is that the only thing that truly stands in the way of Sun software revenue is integration. What is taking so long to integrate everything? Even after two years, the core assets are not integrated together:
As this was a JS initiative, someone in the analysts ranks should be asking this question. I am. Get a Portal, integrate it with AS 8.1 EE, build Clustra instances via N1, and add JBI later. What kind of resources does it take? We are talking about the most adept software integration engineering team in the industry (witness Solaris with Directory Server), and the symantics of an OSS platform is beyond the reach when it would mean direct payoff to the Sun sales force and the bottom line? I am no longer a shareholder, but I would be calling on the Board to answer this question this summer, who would in turn pass along to SM who would have to ask JS where it stands. It stands behind schedule. It is red. Someone needs to be held accountable for it. I don't think it's Bauhaus though he has some to answer for it, I think it comes from the top. Get it done sooner rather than later. Convert all STK customers to Solaris, build in AS 8, PE functionality to Solaris, and integrate the OSS with JAX/JBI. Until then Sun employees have to hear about JBoss, and listen to BEA posturing, and read about WebSphere's ascendance, when the game is Sun's to lose. At present they are losing for simple, correctable reasons. As an independent analyst, I want to know when it will be done. Jonathan, I am waiting for a blog response...