Oracle to provide Sun road map next week

CEO Larry Ellison will outline the strategy for the combined company at an event that will be webcast worldwide

Oracle will provide more details about its plans for Sun Microsystems at an event next Wednesday, the same day European regulators are expected to sign off on the deal.

CEO Larry Ellison will host the event at Oracle's headquarters in Redwood Shores, California, where executives will outline Oracle's strategy for absorbing Sun, including details about product road maps, Oracle said in a statement.

The event, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pacific Time, will be webcast live, the company said.

Oracle announced its plans to acquire Sun last April for US$7.4 billion. The news triggered questions about the fate of many of Sun's products, including its Sparc servers and the MySQL open-source database it acquired earlier.

U.S. regulators approved the deal, but the European Commission, Europe's top antitrust regulator, objected that Oracle's ownership of MySQL would harm competition for database customers.

After much back and forth, the two sides appeared last month to be nearing an accord, and the Commission is widely expected to approve the deal next Wednesday, its deadline for reaching a decision.

When Oracle announced the deal, it said it was interested primarily in Sun's Java and Solaris technologies, leading to speculation that Ellison would sell off or shut down Sun's hardware divisions.

With Sun customers nervously reviewing their vendor options, Oracle has since offered assurances that it will also continue to develop Sun's Sparc processors and server hardware. "We are definitely not going to exit the hardware business," Ellison has said.

In one example of the type of products analysts expect from the combined company, Oracle and Sun launched a high-end data warehousing and OLTP (online transaction processing) server last September that they developed together. Called the Exadata Database Machine 2, it combines database and storage software from Oracle with Intel-based servers and flash memory technologies from Sun.

The integration of the companies' technologies is likely to be a theme next week as well. Oracle's invitation says attendees will learn how customers "will benefit from having all components -- hardware, operating system, database, middleware, and applications -- engineered to work together."

Many questions remain, however, such as which of Sun's server lines Oracle will continue to develop, and what will become of Sun products such as its application server and identity management software. When the deal was announced, Sun was also in the midst of rolling out a set of cloud computing services similar to those of Amazon Web Services.

Customers will be hoping for answers to those questions next week.

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James Niccolai

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