Oracle addresses Sun challenges in Aussie market

A/NZ systems sales consulting director says it is has responded to concerns expressed by some CIOs

While results from IDC Australia indicate that some CIOs have plans to migrate away from a few Sun product offerings, Oracle's local systems sales consulting director says it has addressed these concerns.

IDC senior analyst, Matt Oostveen, said that Solaris had historically been the most popular version of Unix, but in recent times "this popularity has waned as CIOs evaluate their future plans for developing on the operating system".

"In several recent conversation with CIOs, they have disclosed their desire to migrate away from Solaris to other operating systems, chiefly [IBM's] Z/os, AIX and Linux," Oostveen said.

In response, Oracle A/NZ systems sales consulting director, Angus MacDonald, said he "would be lying" if he claimed all of its Sun customers were happy and that they had some voiced some issues.

“In honesty, any large integration, as has happened with Sun and Oracle, is going to have some bumps along the way," MacDonald said.

"I speak to a number of CIOs and the majority of Oracle/Sun's [local] customer base and I would be lying if I did not say that a few CIOs have voiced concerns about one or two issues."

After discussions with CIOs, Oracle had managed to "distil their concerns and we have not come across any that remained unhappy," MacDonald said.

“One of the things we are working hard on is helping the Sun and Oracle customer base understand our vision going forward. If you look at Sun’s portfolio prior to the acquisition by Oracle and look at it now, I think most people would say that the functionality and the architecture are still there but they have now been refreshed," he said.

For example, MacDonald said that these included engineered solutions and other offerings such as the UltraSPARC T3, an upgrade of the x86 server boxes and new tape drives. In addition, a new version of the Solaris operating system, 11 Express, had been released.

According to Oracle, it is not stepping away from the SPARC server line. MacDonald said that the company would not favour x86 over SPARC. "We will continue to treat x86 and Sparc equally, the same as Solaris and Oracle Enterprise Linux," MacDonald said. "We are a two chip/operating system [company] and we will continue to foster those [offerings]," MacDonald said.

In May, Oracle US posted sales of US$773 million in Sun server hardware sales during the first quarter of 2011, to grow the Sun business for the first time in three-and-a half years according to IDC US.

In the Asia Pacific market, Garter statistics from January 2011 indicate that Sun server revenues grew year-on-year by 18.8 per cent during the third quarter of 2010, amounting to approximately US$130 million in the region.

However, relatively slow growth for the brand meant market share for the servers dropped to 6 per cent during the same period.

In December 2010 during an interview with Computerworld Australia, MacDonald also said that customer fears about Sun were unfounded, but added that it would be fair to say the company had a "fair task" in front of it to go and explain this openly to all of the customers.

"As you can imagine, for the period after the acquisition was originally announced, and with the European Union asking questions, a lot of customers became a little nervous around the product line," he said at the time.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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