Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Gerardo A Dada, Sematext Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Recurring Revenue, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud

Recurring Revenue: Article

Oracle Linux – Novell or Red Hat? (Hopefully Neither!)

"Spending good money to get into other rapidly commoditizing businesses... seems a waste"

Yesterday morning saw reports in the Financial Times that "Oracle considers venturing into Linux". This was picked up by CNet (via Reuters) which set up the discussion about Oracle's desire to deliver a entire stack of technology to customers, and then drew attention to the quote that Oracle has even "considered buying Novell." And thus are rumor mills fed. Let's actually look at the discussion in a business context:

In an interview with the Financial Times, Larry Ellison said that Oracle wanted to sell a full “stack” of software that, ... included both operating system and applications. “I’d like to have a complete stack,” he said. “We’re missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux.”

Not an unreasonable opinion. Go all the way back to Geoff Moore and Crossing the Chasm (1991). You want to present a "whole product" solution to your customer, i.e. your core revenue driver and all the complements you can reasonably provide that your customer perceives as the complete solution to their problem. If to sell an Oracle "solution" today means Oracle licenses and Oracle vertical specific applications, AND an expensive operating system on expensive hardware, AND an expensive application server, then reducing the overall cost to the customer while driving the core revenue generators would seem to be A Good Idea.

As part of a recent study of the open source software market, Mr Ellison said that Oracle had considered buying Novell, which after Red Hat is the biggest distributor of Linux. “We look at everything, play this thing out,” he added.

This statement should not surprise anyone that has worked in a large enterprise with a view of the executive offices. Companies explore ideas on paper constantly in their corporate/business development offices. Lot's of "what if" scenarios are played out, and numbers crunched without anyone ever committing to doing something. Companies even pay good money to the McKinsey's of the world for this sort of analysis even if they have their own inhouse "business consulting team". I'm sure Oracle has also run the numbers on Red Hat and SuSE (before the Novell acquisition) and developing their own distribution at various times in the past, and will do so again.

“Now that Red Hat ... competes with us in middleware, we have to re-look at the relationship – so does IBM,” he said.

This last quote is the troublesome one (or maybe it's a misquote without context). Oracle is the enterprise relational database company. It's been expanding its brand with vertical specific Oracle applications. It needs middleware (i.e. an app server), like it needs an operating system on which to run, but it isn't a middleware company.

Go back to the original business goal expressed in the article, that Ellison wants to provide a complete stack or solution to his customer. Good idea, but he has better ways to spend shareholder dollars to solve customer problems than acquiring the stack outright, and then living with the cultural consequences and long term engineering expenses of becoming an "operating system company" and an "app server company" as well as their primary focus as the enterprise database company. Spending good money to get into other rapidly commoditizing businesses, rather than serving your customers needs by supporting companies like Red Hat with its JBoss acquisition that already know how to make money in a different margin business seems a waste.

As I suggested Friday, Oracle should be hammering down Red Hat's door to expand the relationship with all the money they saved by not acquiring JBoss, or in this case (hopefully) Novell.

More Stories By Stephen Walli

Stephen Walli is Vice President of Open Source Development Strategy, Optaros, where he's responsible for developing and managing Optaros' relationships with the open source community. Previously Stephen was an advocate for open source at Microsoft, where he was focused on the technical implementation of open source-related community projects, creating a business model at Microsoft to engage in the open source community. Stephen was the Vice-president, R&D and a founder at Softway Systems, Inc, the developer of the Interix environment to re-host UNIX applications on NT. Stephen was also an independent consultant for X/Open, Sun, UNISYS, and the Canadian government. He was once a development manager at Mortice Kern Systems, and a systems analyst at EDS. A long time participant and officer at the IEEE and ISO POSIX standards groups, representing both USENIX and EUUG, he blogs on open source, standards, and the business of software at http://stephesblog.blogs.com/

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Karsten Silz 04/20/06 08:59:05 PM EDT

I don't think that Oracle is a pure database company anymore. If you look at their financial results then you see that revenue from databases and middleware together grew five percent last quarter - kinda saturated, and threatened at the lower end from open source (MySQL, Tomcat, JBoss). So for a couple of years, Oracle grew their enterprise application business aggressively (see the take-overs of Siebel and PeopleSoft) and uses their database and the app / portal server their as the infrastructure technology. Pretty smart, if you ask me - that business grew 77% last quarter, although that number is caused by the acquisitions. Anyway, if you look at Oracle as an enterprise application company, then it makes sense to also offer an operating system, especially Linux, because each Linux license is one less Windows license sold. However, SAP became the biggest enterprise application vendor with an operating system, so it is not required per se.

Redge 04/18/06 09:25:08 AM EDT

Oracle is a public company like Red Hat so their primary goal is to make money. They will buy Novell. They wont spend extra dollars making their own stack from scratch. These so called Open Source companies will just canabelize themsleves as the GNU contracted media remains to pick up the pieces.

@ThingsExpo Stories
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? You need to discover patterns that are repeatable in vast quantities of data, understand their meaning, and implement scalable monitoring across multiple data streams in order to monetize the discoveries and insights. Motif discovery and deep learning platforms are emerging to visualize sensor data, to search for patterns and to build application that can monitor real time streams efficiently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, ...
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) and Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Verizon will acquire Yahoo's operating business for approximately $4.83 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments. Yahoo informs, connects and entertains a global audience of more than 1 billion monthly active users** -- including 600 million monthly active mobile users*** through its search, communications and digital content products. Yahoo also co...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The best-practices for building IoT applications with Go Code that attendees can use to build their own IoT applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Indraneel Mitra, Senior Solutions Architect & Technology Evangelist at Cognizant, provided valuable information and resources for both novice and experienced developers on how to get started with IoT and Golang in a day. He also provided information on how to use Intel Arduino Kit, Go Robotics API and AWS IoT stack to build an application tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...