Sun customer exodus could be exaggerated

It was clear Oracle’s main objective for the marathon briefing it held on Wednesday was to reassure Sun customers that it still cares for them.


The company rolled out its vision of a fully integrated system stack, going beyond the application, middleware and database layer. It said it would maintain and invest in Sun technology at the virtualization, servers, storage, and operating system layer. Oracle also pledged to protect and expand on Sun technologies such as Sparc and Solaris systems.

Basically, Oracle wanted Sun customers to know their Sun investments were now in good hands.


But from the perspective of companies like IBM or HP, Oracle was simply trying to stop the bleeding. Both of these IT giants have been touting the amount of customers they’ve coaxed away from Sun.


In fact, the day before the Oracle event, IBM boasted that hundreds of customers had left Sun and HP in favour of IBM’s computing and storage systems in Q4 2009 alone.


But according to a story, despite IBM’s impressive claims, only one of its new customers — Birmingham, Ala.-based energy company Energen — have actually been named by Big Blue. The article also points out that this new customer has actually been in the process of migrating to IBM since 2006.


I think that maybe these claims are a bit inflated.


Sure, there’s no doubt many customers have been getting antsy about sticking with Sun throughout all that uncertainty. And, of course, some customers have been able to jump ship.


But I’d argue these numbers are smaller than what IBM and HP might be claiming. If it wasn’t, we’d be hearing about more specific companies making the switch.


Oracle did a very good job at getting its message across on Wednesday.


As I said, while it’s obvious that Sun customers have been working on a contingency plan, Oracle’s commitment to the Sun brand puts them right in the game. If I was a Sun customer, I’d certainly stick around a bit longer to see how Oracle actually carries out its “complete stack” vision.

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