Oracle and Sun have renewed their on-again, off-again alliance.

Oracle will support Java by licensing it for another 10 years. "We can’t emphasise how important Java is to Oracle," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at the company's campus. "Our entire middeware strategy, J2EE, is based on Java, so much so that we are rewriting all of our business applications in Java."

In return, Sun plans to bundle Oracle’s enterprise database on mid-range or high-end servers running its UltraSparc IV processors and UltraSparc IV+ processors for free to customers that sign up for a year’s service contract from Oracle.

Sun has long claimed that more Oracle databases run on Solaris than any other operating system, including Linux. Sun CEO Scott McNealy said customers will benefit by getting a product bundle that is 25 percent less expensive and ready to go out of the box. "There’s no need for you to call IBM Global Services," he said.

The long-term commitment by Oracle to Java could boost the flagging develoment platform. Analyst at Pund-IT Charles King, said Java’s struggles are partly because Sun still declines to release Java’s source code open-source.

"When Sun said it would open-source Solaris, people on the sidelines were saying, 'Forget Solaris. Open-source Java for God’s sake!'," King explained. "When a vendor ignores the needs or demands of the developers it’s working with, they’ll go elsewhere. But as long as Sun can get sign-on from partners like Oracle, Java remains a viable business."