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Licensing love-in

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Server maker Sun Microsystems and clustered file systems maker Veritas Software have something of a love-hate relationship, but the two buried the hatchet this week. While Sun cannot afford to buy Veritas, attempting to license its technologies may be an idea worth looking into.

Veritas and Sun are now working to port the portfolio of Veritas products, which have long since been supported on Sparc-based servers running Solaris, to X86 machines based on Intel Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices Opteron processors.

Sun and Veritas have had an alliance for more than a decade, helping each other to sell their products as both moved aggressively into the data centre. This week, the two announced that they have expanded that relationship to cover the non-Sparc platforms and to further allow Sun's sales force to sell Veritas products directly to Solaris customers, whether they are on Sparc or X86 platforms.

While Sun is not expected to stop enhancing or selling its own products, the simple fact is that Sun needs Veritas to reinvigorate Solaris sales more than it needs to steal away software revenues from Veritas.

With Veritas on track to be a $2bn company (and one that has acquired expertise in utility computing and storage management specifically for the Solaris platform), you might think that Sun's chairman and CEO would have done better to just acquire Veritas.

This would be a great idea, if for only one fact: that Veritas may be a $2bn company, but it has a market capitalisation of $13.3bn, which is going to start rising as the company starts seeing profits. Sun is a $10bn company (in terms of revenue) that has software aspirations, and it used to command a market cap of more than $200bn but is now valued at only $12.9bn (in Thursday's stock market).

To put it bluntly, not only can Sun not afford to buy Veritas, it also cannot afford to alienate Veritas. But Veritas would sure make an excellent set of building blocks for Sun's N1 aspirations. If Sun cannot buy Veritas, licensing all of its technologies might be a very good idea, if it wants to leap ahead of IBM and Hewlett-Packard in the enterprise server space.

Source: ComputerWire/Datamonitor

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