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Is the Sun setting on Oracle's Solaris business?

Is the Sun setting on Oracle's Solaris business?

Reports of redundancies within Oracle's Solaris and SPARC teams raise questions over the future of Oracle offerings

Oracle has reportedly made a new round of staff cuts to its Solaris and SPARC (Scalable Processor Architecture) businesses.

A number of purported employees have vented on anonymous redundancy forum, The Layoff, about the latest round of redundancies, which they report to have found out about through FedEx delivery notes of their termination packages.

Like SPARC, the Solaris Unix-based operating system was originally developed by Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle in early 2010.

On September 3, Simon Phipps, who led the open source program at Sun Microsystems between 2005 and 2010, took to Twitter, stating that “For those unaware, Oracle laid off all Solaris tech staff yesterday in a classic silent EOL [end of life] of the product.”

Unsurprisingly, Oracle has neither confirmed Phipps' claim, nor released any further details on the matter, but some reports have indicated that a number of technical staff have been retained and redeployed in the direction of the vendor's Linux team.

The news follows on from the departure of Oracle executive vice president of systems, John Fowler, in August, who was responsible for the delivery of SPARC, Solaris, x86-based servers, networking, disk and storage tape products.

Now, speculation is mounting that the reported layoffs are signalling the end of any further development to the Solaris operating system.

Earlier in the year, Oracle published a new product roadmap, in which it reportedly removed any references to releasing a new version of Solaris 12, instead referring to the future Solaris updates as "Solaris 11.next".

"As a direct response to customer requests, we're planning to deliver future Oracle Solaris features and functionality through dot releases instead of more disruptive releases that may have undergone significant test, re-certification and qualification," Oracle Solaris product manager, Glynn Foster, said in a blog post at the time.

It remains to be seen what Oracle will say about the Solaris matter at its upcoming OpenWorld event however, which is running from 1-5 October in San Francisco.

It was back in July 2009, when Sun stockholders gave their approval for the $7.4 billion acquisition by Oracle. Since then, Oracle has made it pretty clear which Sun technologies it has been mostly interested in and what's being left behind.

Phipps also alluded to this in his Twitter feed stating that; "The contrast this week between how Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Oracle have disposed of unwanted software is educational. Let's see which creates more wealth."

HPE completed the US$8.8 billion spin-merger of its software business with the UK's Micro Focus this month.

Included in the bundle that has been offloaded are HPE’s businesses focusing on application delivery management, big data, enterprise security, information management and governance, and IT operations management.

“Micro Focus expects to improve the margin on HPE's software assets by approximately 20 percentage points by the end of the third full financial year following the closing of the transaction, while also investing in key growth areas like big data and security,” HPE said when the deal was first announced.

The latest reports of redundancies in Oracle's ranks come roughly eight months after Oracle reportedly laid off around 450 workers in Santa Clara, California, from its hardware systems division.


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