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Ellison to recruit thousands for Sun integration army

Linux needs to grow up

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Larry Ellison has promised jobs for Sun Microsystems' existing employees and an expansion in their ranks, along with instant profits for his shareholders.

Oracle's chief executive on Wednesday claimed that - far from laying off beleaguered Sun employees - his company would be hiring 2,000 additional people during the next few months.

He reprimanded as "irresponsible" the UBS analyst who said last week that Oracle will cut up to half of Sun's 30,000 workforce following the completion of the deal.

"We are not cutting Sun for profitability, we are hiring Sun to profitability," Ellison said.

For shareholders wondering how Oracle can pay for this hiring spree, Ellison promised immediate profitably as sales of Sun's Sparc Unix, its tape storage, Java, and MySQL would grow.

He committed Oracle to $1.5bn in profit thanks to Sun sales by June - five months after the deal to buy Sun will have closed.

Among the moves planned, Oracle will now sell direct to Sun's top 4,000 enterprise customers, cutting out resellers and channel partners who'd occupied that space. Ellison said owning the relationship would also enabled Sun to improve the planned products.

"The Sparc Solaris business is going to grow. The MySQL and Java business is going to grow. That's how we are approaching this merger," Ellison said.

Over next 12 months Ellison also planned systems that integrate Oracle's software and Sun's software and Sun's hardware. "That will the shape of the industry going forward," he said.

During an open-mic Q&A in which one channel partner said Oracle is taking his company's bread and butter, Ellison said bluntly that partners could keep selling if they are truly adding value. Partners would "go away" if they "simply take the Sun box and resell it."

It'll be an interesting challenge. While MySQL and Java were growing for Sun, IBM and Hewlett Packard dominate the tape storage market while Solaris has lost market share as Unix is consistently replaced by customers moving to Linux.

In Sun's full fiscal 2009, year, the company's server, storage, and software sales fell by 22.2 per cent to $6.7bn while services sales fell 9.8 per cent to $4.75bn.

On Java, Ellison said that Oracle would look to make money from its overall Java business and that it's "not essential" to find a way to make money from Sun's individual Java components.

"We will measure the overall Java business to make sure we are improving the technology at a rapid rate to meet customer needs. Exactly where the revenue comes from is less important than us simply growing our Java middleware install base," Ellison said.

Ellison, a self-confessed Linux fan, pitched Solaris as the operating system for a cluster of machines in the high-end datacenter running clouds while Linux is catching up. Where Solaris is running on x64, it'll be on clusters of machines connected by high-speed InfiniBand link.

"Solaris is an older and more capable operating system, I think in the high end Solaris is going to be very competitive for a very long time," Ellison said. "It will be a long time before Linux ever catches up." ®

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