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The 'Sun' starts to set for Oracle Solaris customers

After a round of layoffs to its Solaris division, it appears Oracle is phasing out its hardware portfolio and continuing to focus on the cloud.

As Oracle stakes its claim further than ever into the cloud, the future of its hardware and server business remains very much in question.

Oracle recently filed a notice under the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act that it will lay off 1,008 employees, most of whom worked for Oracle Solaris. According to the filing, 964 employees were let go in Oracle's Santa Clara, Calif., office and 54 in San Diego.

The Santa Clara office has been occupied by Sun Microsystems since Oracle acquired the company in 2010. For some analysts, phasing out Sun was a long time coming.

"[Oracle's] promises of being committed to the Sun platforms always seemed to ring a bit hollow or uncertain," said Bob Sheldon, a technical consultant and TechTarget contributor. "Even before the layoffs, it was hard to imagine these products really going anywhere."

Oracle declined to comment.

After the layoffs, the company revealed plans to push back the release of the next version of Oracle Solaris, named Solaris, to 2018 instead of later this year, as it was originally scheduled.

As for whether Oracle's dependence on using Solaris rather than Linux in the cloud is something Oracle shops should fret over, the operating system should be entirely transparent, said Rick Greenwald, a research director at Gartner.

If you believe that Oracle will not be supporting Solaris and you are a Solaris user, you might want to start formulating exit plans.
Rick Greenwaldresearch director, Gartner

"The cloud acts as an impermeable curtain between what the cloud vendor does and what the user does," Greenwald said. "Transitioning to the cloud should have nothing to do with what OS Oracle is using in the cloud."

But for those legacy shops still on Solaris, it might be time to look elsewhere.

"If you believe that Oracle will not be supporting Solaris and you are a Solaris user, you might want to start formulating exit plans," Greenwald said. "Whether you move to the cloud or not is a big and valid question, but it does not center on what Oracle is using in their cloud."

Last week Oracle reported total cloud revenue of $1.5 billion for its first quarter, a 51% increase over the same time period a year ago. This marked the first time Oracle received more revenue from cloud than from new software licenses, which had revenue of $996 million in the first quarter.

Oracle also recently made waves when it joined the Hyperledger Fabric Project, an open source collaboration designed to push blockchain technologies alongside competitor IBM. At its annual OpenWorld conference next month, the company plans to introduce its new Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, furthering its journey into cloud.

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