Sun: Growth Engine Open Source

Feb 04, 2009

In the classic business of high end infrastructure, Sun has been experiencing diminishing sales. The company recently presented its sales figures at the Munich preview to the CeBIT trade show, which opens in March, along with a hint of what they will focus on at the show.

Comparing the second quarters of their fiscal years 2008 and 2009, Sun's enterprise server segment, for example, declined by almost a third. Somewhat less marked but still noticeable are losses for disk arrays (-5%), tape drives (-13%) and other storage systems (-54%), along with the services (-9%) associated with these segments.

If some of us don't quite want to accept these results, it's based on a certain trust that these losses can be offset, and more than compensated for in the future, by a contrary trend. Sun certainly presented some pretty detailed number comparisons. On the hardware side they related particularly to the Chip Multithreaded Servers with SPARC CPUs under Solaris that are in high demand in the Web environment because of their parallel processing capabilities. Another revenue source is, and has always been, the x86 architecture of the small and middle range servers. Also, virtualization, which Sun has pursued with various concurrent technologies. Sun's software sales have actually grown by 21%, highlighted explicitly by their Open Source offerings. For example, MySQL sales grew by 55% and Java by 47%.

Appropriately Sun will be focusing at CeBIT on just this growth market in free software. For example, they will present new storage systems of standard components with free platforms and open protocols, with which Sun expects to save a good three-quarters of their costs. MySQL will likely be a focal point, along with Java, Netbeans, developer tools and the Glassfish application server, all of which are under Open Source licenses. Sun will also likely show off its free Open Office and VirtualBox, which in its desktop virtualization role works hand-in-hand with their thin clients (Sun Ray devices).

Next to its presentations in Hall 6 at CeBIT in Hannover, Sun will also participate in the Green IT theme in Hall 8, most likely with thin clients, power-saving servers and the Sun Eco Services Suite with tools to implement IT energy management programs.


  • Open Source Software Sales

    "Sun's software sales have actually grown by 21%, highlighted explicitly by their Open Source offerings. For example, MySQL sales grew by 55% and Java by 47%."
    What sort of sales are those? Java and MySQL are free as in beer AFAIK, unless we're talking about support contracts in which case I wonder how much money does the reported growth amount to? Is the trend encouraging enough to shed some optimism to us Sun/Solaris funs who are worrying that Linux and RH in particular will become the standard for OSS OSs in the the datacentre?

    thanks for the potentially good news !
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