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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

$1,000,000,000 acquisition

Sun's purchase of MySQL for a cool $1 billion is all the buzz today and rightfully so. I think this news goes to show the power, visibility and growth in adoption of open source. And in this particular case MySQL.

As enterprises continually seek competitive advantages they find their way to open source solutions. Sun has certainly recognized this with Jonathan Schwartz at the helm, but today's news takes another step towards ensuring they are going to be a major player in offering such solutions. It will be interesting to see how this purchase affects Sun as the inherent value proposition of MySQL is that it is an open, potentially low cost alternative to Oracle. The other potential hitch is that companies want best-of-breed solutions for their needs and Sun just might be becoming a monolithic vendor offering one set of solutions.

I am thrilled to see the increased adoption of open source and the excitement of my friends over at MySQL, but also see this news as an opportunity for system integrators (SI's). With IT spending and acquisitions on the rise, it furthers the need for technology agnostic SI's (Unisys, Cap Gemini, Accenture and others) in this space to play significant roles in customer IT implementations. Companies are looking for the best independent solution for their needs, not for one monolithic vendor to lock them into an IT environment of their choosing. The OSA’s common-customer view reference architecture, as one example, demonstrates interoperability across multiple vendor products to achieve best-of-breed functionality.

Another piece of big news today (other than the continued economic impact in the Financial Services sector as a result of the sub-prime lending fallout) is Oracle’s purported acquisition of BEA
. Obviously this would further position Oracle against IBM in the middleware space and further Oracle's goal to dominate that market. But this also creates another “integrated stack” that possibly precludes clients from choosing best of breed product, hence furthering the need for large Systems Integrators to help fulfill that gap.