Sun Microsystems is all over the news today. They have not been in the news much as there have not been many interesting developments from them for a while. Java is in the hands of the JCP, and their hardware business gets chipped away by low cost Windows server farms and the new cloud services.
Finally, Sun decided not to go down without a fight. GigaOm has a very good article regarding Sun’s cloud services, which will be launched during the summer. By creating cloud services, Sun has shown that they are not dead yet. Given that they know the hardware, and their services have always been reliable it could be a very interesting offering. This also makes them a very good acquisition target.
Shockingly enough, IBM supposedly has interest again in buying Sun. This would be a very good move for IBM as it gets them some server hardware business again, as well as jumping right into the cloud services arena. This does not sound like much, but IBM is a services company. IBM would open up two new areas of expertise immediately, Sun hardware services and cloud services based on the Sun offering. If you wanted someone to legitimize cloud services to the enterprise, IBM services would be the ones to do it.
From the software development perspective, the purchase would also be a very logical fit. IBM has been a big proponent of Java for years, and they would get some of the Sun talent by default. Some of Sun’s tools may be discontinued, but people have said that NetBeans is much better than it used to be. So some of the tools folks could probably move into similar positions, the difference being they would be working on Eclipse. The one thing that does not seem to fit at first is MySql. However, I think it is a good stepping stone for IBM. Again, there is the services group that can now formally offer MySql services. Also, DB2 is not something a lot of smaller companies ever want to play with. By purchasing MySql, IBM can use that as a baby step towards their enterprise offering. Granted, MySql can hold its own in several circumstances, but IBM would definitely use it as a “starter” DB2.
Hopefully, this deal will eventually happen as it gives the Sun technologies a chance to thrive with the backing of IBM. Sun’s influence has been steadily dwindling, but this purchase could make them rise again, just under a different name.
[UPDATE] Tim Bray has an excellent post regarding some more details of the Sun cloud services offering. Tim mentions that he has been on the cloud services team from the beginning of the year, so this is an insider’s point of view.