Middle East channel gives thumbs-up to Oracle-Sun deal

Partners of Oracle and Sun in the Middle East have welcomed news of the duo’s proposed $7.4 billion merger with open arms

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  April 22, 2009

Partners of Oracle and Sun in the Middle East have welcomed news of the duo’s proposed $7.4 billion merger with open arms, believing the move will enhance their ability to provide enterprise customers with comprehensive end-to-end solutions.

The channel is still digesting the full implications of the surprise deal, particularly as it comes just a few weeks after talks between Sun and IBM collapsed.

But initial reaction to the tie-up from partners is one of excitement, with VARs enthused by the prospect of combining Oracle and Sun technologies to create a formidable proposition in the enterprise and data centre space.

Rakesh Ranjan, VP at ETA InfoTech, an Oracle ISV with a strong infrastructure practice that includes Sun, said the move would potentially allow partners to offer a complete solutions stack consisting of high-end hardware and software.

“What will happen after this acquisition is that Oracle partners will be able to sell Sun and Sun partners will be able to sell Oracle so the reach of the channel will increase,” said Ranjan. “This co-operation between Oracle and Sun has been there for quite some time in the Linux and Solaris environments. Java is the proprietary product of Sun and there are a lot of initiatives from the Oracle side on that platform as well. It is definitely very good news because both companies are very strong industry players.”

Sandhya Prakash, business director at Oracle partner Evosys Arabia, said the deal could also help both companies profit in the SMB and midmarket, where organisations that want easily-deployable software solutions invariably require a hardware and operating system element.

“I think this creates a one-stop-shop where there is scale to play with. The impact of such a merger in the Middle East should be good for the customers of Oracle because they will be able to get Sun at a very good price,” she said. “The other thing is that existing customers may now have a partner that can take responsibility for the OS-related aspect. It remains to be seen how the VARs and hardware implementers react, but it will be very interesting to watch that play out.”

Sun and Oracle operate highly channel-centric strategies in the Middle East, although the actual structure of their partner communities is distinctly different.

Low-end volume products aside, Sun relies on a carefully-cultivated network of 50 or so systems integrators, while Oracle’s partner network largely consists of ISVs that develop applications around its database offering. That said, there is understood to be a healthy overlap of partners as many large Sun VARs have their own software development wings or carry Oracle products.

IT solutions provider Accel Frontline has already been working on bundling Oracle applications with Sun servers. UAE general manager Haresh Ahuja welcomed news of the acquisition and said he expected it to have huge ramifications for the channel locally.

“A lot of realignment will take place in the channel because if you look at the market you’ll see that a typical Oracle partner was never a hardware partner, and a Sun partner was never an application partner,” he said.

“The channel will have to realign itself, which will mean a lot of education. You could really get caught on the wrong foot if you go to a customer and say, ‘I am from Sun’, because they will expect you to know more about Oracle as well.”

Ahuja also thinks the deal will shake up the dynamics of the enterprise infrastructure and solutions market.

“It is quite evident that the pure hardware business will be left to companies like Acer and Dell because if you are talking about large enterprise deals you have to be aligned with both the hardware and the software. You cannot just shut your eyes to one of them,” he said.

ETA InfoTech’s Ranjan said the Sun-Oracle agreement was more attractive than the prospect of the storage vendor being taken over by IBM, which seemed to be the more likely scenario last month.

“We were more worried about what was going to happen with that one — whether IBM would kill the brand over time and what would happen to our customers. As a Sun and Oracle partner we are happy because this is better than the IBM takeover would have been,” he said.

News of the deal has also been welcomed by the regional distribution channel. Ali Baghdadi, president and CEO at Aptec Holdings — which distributes products from both vendors — believes that the eventual channel strategy of the combined company could dictate how successful the merger proves to be.

“I think this could be good news for both companies and Sun in particular. VARs selling Oracle solutions should find complementary opportunities when combining with SPARC hardware and other Sun solutions. It is early days, but I believe that the emerging channel strategy for the combined entities will be the make or break of this merger,” said Baghdadi.

The merger, which is subject to stockholder and regulatory approvals, would create an industry powerhouse with revenues of US$37 billion and more than 360,000 global customers.

3077 days ago
BWFC

As a one time sunshiner with no axe to grind. I would however like to balance this article. Obviously, key stakeholders in this merger from the ME want to focus on the potential positives but some of the statements above are purely conjecture of what their view is and is positioned as fact. I am sure (and hope) there will be many successes spawned from this tie up but as of today and for the short term there is no clear roadmap of what Oracle intends to do with Sun (i.e. facts). What will happen to its hardware platforms for instance is a key concern for many. As a key influencer in a large UAE business I percieve Sun to still be a risky proposition untill this unfolds in full which I think will take some time.

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