I thought I needed a holiday from all the big storage news events. Fat chance: Sun just bought MySQL and Oracle just got BEA.
The MySQL deal sets Sun back 1,000,000,000 dollars, 800K for shares and $200K for options. Here's Sun serving notice on all DBMS vendors that it's aiming to rip the value out of their products. Sun will provide support to the 100 million MySQL downloads, increasing at rate of 50,000 a day. The MySQL head will become a senior Sun honcho.
Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz blogs: "We'll be announcing some exceptionally attractive platform offerings, leveraging the success Lustre and ZFS, along with new systems platforms (like the new 48TB Thumpers and 64 thread Niagara2 machines) to deliver eye popping price performance."
For Schwartz a mantra is 'volume builds value'. MySQL brings a huge number of new users into the ambit of Sun's messages. What I see happening here is that Sun is building an entire open source operating system/file system/system software/middleware software stack to run on commodity hardware.
As MySQL use expands then that denies database sales to other DBMS vendors, such as IBM and Oracle.
What Sun is doing here is doing to Oracle what Oracle has done to other suppliers. It's energetically aimed to lower the overall price of Oracle products by commoditising everything but the Oracle software itself. Ellison has pushed commodity hardware over proprietary HW, and commodity operating systems - Linux - over proprietary ones. He's pushed his own clustering (RAC) where he thought other clustering products were too expensive.
Well, excuse me Mr Ellison, says the MySQL man, if you can open source the O/S then you can open source the database as well. And 100,000,000 copies later Sun is jumping on board the open source MySQL train. I wonder what Larry will say to Jonathan when they next meet.
But a billion dollars, well, it's a large amount to be sure but Larry just spent $8.5 billion to buy BEA after a somewhat convoluted courtship and histrionics at the $21/share price.
Here's Alfred Chuang, BEA's Chairman and CEO. "This transaction is the culmination of (a) diligent and thoughtful process, and we believe it is in the best interests of our shareholders." Diligent and thoughtful? Back-biting and irascible would be more like it.
Oracle is looking like the Dyson of the middleware business. It's just sucking up everything in one massive uber-consolidation exercise; remember PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems?
This is a cash deal, $19.375 for every BEA share. BEA stuff gets integrated into Oracle's Fusion middleware.
But what open source people, and Sun, will see here, is a massively over-priced set of middleware and application software that open source can do much, much more cheaply. Jonathan may say volume drives value but, from the standpoint of proprietary software vendors like Oracle, and also IBM with DBMS and WebSphere as well as Microsoft, open source volume destroys proprietary software's value.
For some the open source software movement is a tremendously potent software lethal weapon and the target is high-volume and high-priced software. We're seeing a polarisation of the software industry, a removal of colours from the software spectrum leaving only black (large consolidated proprietary SW vendors) and white (open source vendors).
The thing of it is that previously proprietary vendors are using open source as a competitive weapon (IBM) and as a business transformation tool (Sun, Novell). In both cases the targets are the anti-open source software vendors and these are coming increasingly to be identified as the large software suite vendors such as Oracle, Symantec and Microsoft.
The Sun MySQL deal pits Sun against both IBM and Oracle. What is coming is a marketing battle between open source and Oracle in which billionaire goliath Larry will be compared and contrasted with millions of open source Davids. Having seen Larry endorse Linux as the best/cheapest O/S on which to run Oracle's SW, the fight for open source people will be all the sweeter. They don't like Larry's open sauce and kind of want to taste the bitier bit.