Monday, April 17, 2006

Oracle Ponders Linux Software Appliances

In an interview this past weekend with the Financial Times, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison pondered the notion of Oracle providing Linux as an integrated component of its software offerings. It makes perfect sense. Not because the world needs another Linux vendor, but instead because customers need a simplified approach for consuming complex software applications such as those provided by Oracle. With a single decision to ship Linux, Larry Ellison could transform all of the Oracle software portfolio into Linux software appliances that eliminate the customer hassles of integration and mismatched maintenance streams, delivering the value of software as a service (SaaS) for on-premise application deployments. Oracle could become the leader in SaaS overnight through the software appliance concept.

Linux and open source offer software application providers the historic opportunity to transform their business from selling licenses to delivering integrated solutions -- software appliances. Before Linux and open source became mainstream, delivering an integrated solution meant complex OEM agreements and being beholden to the technical and economic agenda of multiple third party component providers. Linux and open source, on the other hand, offer the perfect OEM license - freedom of distribution. And the technology is flexible to accomodate the technical agenda of the application provider. And customers get hardware vendor choice because Linux supports industry standard hardware instead of proprietary architectures. Customers get an integrated solution with "one throat to choke" -- the hallmark of SaaS, but for on-premise application deployments.

Larry's comments are less about Linux and more about customers. Linux doesn't matter. The customer experience with software applications does. Simplicity is good.


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