Wednesday, April 22

Updates, NetVision, Oracle, etc

I haven't been blogging much this month. I was probably more active on Twitter when I had small contributions. ...and I blogged at the NetVision blog. Some of it was specific to what we do, but there are also some useful Tech Tips like posts on Active Directory Last Logoff and Last Logon - Attribute Confusion.

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I've also not yet weighed in on Oracle-Sun. In a letter, Oracle's President (Charles Philips) says they're planning to:

Engineer and deliver an integrated system—applications to disk—where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability, and security go up.
That makes sense from a business perspective. The key Sun technologies that were clearly interesting to Oracle are hardware, Java, and Solaris. And a hidden dark desire perhaps to mold MySQL as a non-enterprise solution so that there's no competition with Oracle's flagship product line. ...maybe that's just a bonus.

My personal opinion is that Identity Management had little or nothing to do with the purchase. In fact, it's probably considered a headache to the acquisition team. Clearly, it gives Oracle the number 1 spot in terms of IAM market share. And arguably the best suite of IAM products on the market. But, I don't know what that will mean to Oracle in their quest for world domination.

I was part of a very talented IAM team that got absorbed into a multi-billion dollar organization for which IAM was not a priority. And the team quickly disintegrated. I don't think that will happen at Oracle, but the IAM product teams will need to show management a strong revenue number to get the attention they'll need to integrate the Sun and Oracle suites properly.

Deborah Volk at Identigral wrote a nice post on the two product lines. I haven't used either enough to speak intelligently on which product might win the starting position. And Ash Motiwala captured one of my first thoughts. People always chose Sun because they were the big guy. The product wouldn't 'go away'. Well, there goes that theory. To quote Andre Durand from the NetworkWorld article:
This is yet one more reason companies should consider standards-based, loosely coupled approaches.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this acquisition for the IAM world is the combination of all of those bright engineering minds in one room. The Sun Directory team, the OID team, the OVD team can join together and help shape the future of directory services while the Oracle Access Manager and OpenSSO teams can do the same for their piece of the puzzle. ...assuming of course that big-company bureaucracy doesn't get in the way.

[UPDATE: link to Felix Gaehtgens' Oracle-Sun product line comparison]

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Speaking of innovation, one last thing before I close - NetVision announced a Series B round of funding today. The goal is to enable the innovation that we started with the industry's first managed service for directory and file system audit and monitoring. Be sure to keep your ear to the ground as we make another innovation announcement in the weeks to come.

4 comments:

Robin Wilton said...

Great post, Phil. My only comment is this: Andre Durand says, fairly enough, that acquisitions like Oracle/Sun underscore the rationale for buying open standards-based products... but that folks who bought "because Sun wouldn't go away" have been caught out.

Isn't it fair to counter with the point that Sun's IDM suite has been as open standards-based as any on the market?

(disclaimer, I am not a Sun employee... these days)

Robin Wilton said...

*Matt. Sorry - no idea why I typed "Phil". [blush]

Matt Flynn said...

Yes Robin - very fair point. But, that just presents bad news for customers, no? That seems to say that there's really nothing you can do to avoid the potential disappearance of your product from the market.

The best you can do is buy a loosely-coupled, open solution and know that you'll get the most mileage from it even if it's EOL'ed. ...and that migration should be easier. I guess it's a matter of weighing the risks.

Of course, we're way ahead of ourselves. There's no reason to assume that any of the products will be EOL'ed earlier than they otherwise would've been.

Bob Craig said...

Matt,
Once again, we've seen that it's not always safer to buy from a big vendor. The real issue is the vendor's committment to the technology, in this case IAM. BMC and HP have left the market, and now Sun's committment is questionable. And, given the fact that IAM revenue is miniscule compared with their overall business, customers should closely question the level of committment from other large vendors, like IBM, Oracle, etc.