TECH BRIEF

Oracle to purchase Sun Microsystems

Oracle Corp. announced this morning that it will purchase Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion. Sun Microsystems has agreed to the terms of the deal.

While primarily known for its database software, Oracle has in recent years acquired more enterprise and infrastructure applications through purchases of other companies, such as PeopleSoft (which offered human resource management system software) and BEA Systems (application server and Web services tools).

Sun Microsystems offers a wide range of hardware and software. On the hardware side, Sun offers components such as servers and storage units. Sun oversees the Sparc line of microprocessors, a multithreaded chip tuned for large-scale enterprise usage.

On the software side, Sun oversees the Solaris operating system, the Java programming language and the MySQL database. Much of Sun's software has been placed under open-source licensing over the past few years.

Government agencies, particularly those in the defense and intelligence communities, are heavy users of Solaris, especially Trusted Solaris and Solaris Trusted Extensions, both of which can be used for networks with sensitive classification levels.

"Oracle's interest in Sun is very clear: They aspire to help customers simplify the development, deployment and operation of high value business systems, from applications all the way to data centers," said Sun Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Schwartz in an internal e-mail to Sun employees, which was subsequently leaked onto the Internet.

"To me, this proposed acquisition totally redefines the industry … A combined Oracle/Sun will be capable of cultivating one of the world's most vibrant and far reaching developer communities, accelerating the convergence of storage, networking and computing," Schwartz wrote.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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