Aussie Oracle/Sun partners talk merger


Several key Australian partners have welcomed the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by software giant Oracle, which recently won the approval of the European Union, although much remains unclear about its impact locally.

“Ultimately I think it will be to our benefit as a business,” said Bill Frangeskakis, general manager of Frontline Systems, which describes itself as Sun’s largest partner in Australia, and a key partner to other players like HP, IBM, Cisco and Microsoft.

In an interview, Frangeskakis said most of his company’s clients — generally large organisations — used both Sun and Oracle products. “We hope in time it will make it easier for our business,” he said.

The executive admitted clients would have to be “a little bit nervous” about the merger, but said he hadn’t seen any organisation just decided to get rid of Sun Microsystems’ products due to uncertainty about their future being supported under Oracle. “The worst case is that they have put a project on hold to get some clarity,” he said.

In an interview with Sky News recently broadcasted (see embedded video), Jonathan Rubinsztein, CEO of UXC subsidiary and Oracle systems integrator Red Rock Consulting said the reality was that customers used lots of disparate systems from multiple vendors.

However, he said, the benefit to organisations was that they could focus on a technology stack from one organisation. He said he believed there were five giants emerging out of the ongoing consolidation in the technology sector — Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAP and Google.

“I’m seeing organisations betting their technology architecture on these five key organisations,” he said. “I’m seeing organisations say: ‘My strategy is an Oracle strategy’.”

Teething issues
But Frontline’s Frangeskakis said there would no doubt be “teething issues” associated with the acquisition.

For example, he noted that a substantial amount of Oracle software ran on HP hardware, and Oracle would need to be mature enough to deal with multiple hardware partners while still operating the Sun business.

In addition, the two companies had different cultures due to their history in the separate software and hardware fields (although Sun has developed the Java and Solaris platforms).

Frangeskakis said he believed the market would “no doubt” see aggressive moves from other major players in reaction to Oracle’s acquisition. “There is no doubt that HP is getting closer to Microsoft,” he said, noting also the close relationship between Cisco, EMC and VMWare, with the trio announcing an IT infrastructure coalition in November.

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