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Oracle murders Sun's copycat Amazon cloud

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It took a major acquisition to finally deliver a dose of reality, but Sun Microsystems' me-too Amazon-style cloud is finally dead.

On Wednesday, Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect, said unequivocally that the database giant would not be offering Sun's long-planned and highly-vaunted compute resource service.

Sun had clung to the vision of a cloud built on its open source software, with developers inside big companies paying Sun to purchase services on their credit cards. The initial target was startups.

But Screven shot down the idea, which had been a last, desperate throw by a company running out of time and under pressure to turn a profit.

"We have no plans to build something like Amazon's EC2," Screven said in response to questioning by The Reg just after Oracle and Sun executives had laid out their product plans following the closure of Oracle's $5.6bn acquisition of the systems giant.

"We don't plan to be in the rent-by-minute computer business," Screven said. "We plan to provide technology for others that are in the rent-by-minute computer business and lots of other business you might call cloud computing."

Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison has railed against cloud hype, and Screven echoed the words of others inside the company that Oracle would provide component pieces - such as databases - that can be used to build clouds. Screven also said Oracle would continue to offer hosted instances of its applications that could be considered by some as cloud services.

It's a supply-side philosophy Sun could have - and should have - adopted. The company had its own catalogue of system component pieces.

Screven was speaking a year after Sun articulated its vision for an Amazon-style cloud with compute and storage for use by developers and other customers. Sun followed up in Spring 2009 by saying its public cloud would support Linux, Windows, and Solaris on a mix of Sparc and x64 iron, using Sparc blades and both Xeon and Opteron processors on x64 blades as well as open-source products ZFS and Crossbow.

The dead cloud effort followed a corporate reorganization by Sun in July 2008 that had created the cloud computing and developer platforms group under Dave Douglas, and that ended Sun's software group.

Douglas had previously run Sun's grid utility computing work, Network.com. Sun's grid failed to attract customers and was eventually shuttered in anticipation of the cloud. Network.com, also a pay-per-use idea, succeeded in attracting 13 customers and 48 applications during its brief life. ®

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