Over the past month, several of us have been able to piece together some of what is transpiring, despite the fact that our workgroup is not based in the US. Some of this remains rumour, but much is already confirmed and underway. Oracle is, as always, slow to address any of this internally or externally, but rest assured Trained Oracle Spin Monkeys are working overtime to hone their razor-sharp messaging, and a glorious onslaught is planned for January.
Confirmed: Solaris 12 is dead. Some (not all) of the newer Solaris work will be pushed into Solaris 11 "dot releases", starting with 11.4 next year. Solaris priorities going forward: support Cloud, ZFS and ZFSSA, and other tactical initiatives. OpenStack support is relegated now to 'client-only', and Docker will likely never come to fruition in Solaris. General-purpose Solaris and general-purpose SPARC-based server systems are now second-level priorities; expect both to trail off over the next two to three years.
Attempting to shove partially-cooked, disparate pieces of an unfinished major OS release into a minor OS release will be, as can be expected, messy. Full of sound and fury, signifying restructuring, and the continuing gnashing of teeth is full-tilt this weekend, even as this is written.
Confirmed: The successor to the SPARC S7 chip (codenamed 'Sonoma Next' or 'S8') has been shelved indefinitely, as have plans for any systems based on that chip. Current S7-based systems will continue to be sold for now.
Confirmed: SPARC M8 and M9 chips are unaffected for now, and systems based on those are still on schedule - just expect fewer models and fewer options. Expect M-series chips to power the tiny Solaris corner of Oracle's Cloud, not S-series.
Confirmed: Linux "two dot oh" (including Linux on SPARC) was given the go-ahead by Mssr Fowler last month; it will provide the basis for all Oracle Public Cloud "control planes" going forward; Solaris "guest VMs" are still planned as of this writing.
Confirmed: Engineered Systems continue on, to eventually be folded into OPC as Cloud Machines and then Cloud Services.
Still Unclear: The future of Oracle's X86-based systems. Lively execu-level debate on this topic continues, apparently.
Confirmed: Systems customers and 'partners' (see below) will soon be told that they need to (read this in Ahnold's voice) Get Their Asses to the Oracle Cloud. Or else.
Confirmed: Systems' priorities going forward: 1) Cloud, 2) Cloud, 3) Cloud, 4) ZFSSA, 5) Solaris 11 "dot releases", 6) Updating everyone's CV
Confirmed: Systems' hardware and software partners will only be seen as important to Oracle in tactical situations. Or if they resell our products. All right, all right, to be honest what we just stated has been true since Oracle bought Sun, but now Oracle won't try to pretend quite so much. We think.
Confirmed: There are four classes of employee in Systems as of this week: 1) Notified they are probably 'safe' for the moment; 2) Pushed to relocate to other parts of Oracle; 3) Already notified of termination (several China-based Solaris groups, for example); 4) Totally in the dark (meaning that they are likely on the lists turned over to HR this week for termination next month). We have also heard of several key Solaris engineers who have already chosen to leave Oracle of their own accord.
Confirmed: Morale in Oracle Systems Division is at an all-time low. Outside the US (where things can develop much more slowly), we're mostly in the dark and apprehensive. "Continue with your assigned duties," we're told. These are not cheerful times around the office. Concern, anger, hopelessness and confusion all smoulder close to the surface. The most likely scenario at this point has targeted employees not being informed of their demise for at least another 3-5 weeks, so Happy Christmas to us all!
Still Unclear: The extent of near-term terminations. The fifty percent figure actually seems a bit high to us at present, although perhaps the sum of layoffs plus attrition plus reassignment could come close to that. Some organisations will be eliminated, while others are likely to be virtually unaffected for now. Check back with us next summer, won't you?
By the by, in case anyone was curious about something Mssr Hurd failed to mention during Thursday night's earnings call, Oracle Q2 hardware revenue was off another 10% (year over year) to US$1B. In case the "Why" component of all this remains in doubt.
We miss you, Scott.