Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems at the beginning of 2010 shocked the IT world. Sun’s products are the backbones of many corporate IT operations, and the industry has had to make a choice. Do they stick with Sun’s uncertain future, or start migrating from Sun servers to a technology with a more stable outlook?
Oracle’s Takeover of Sun Microsystems
When Sun Microsystems was bought by Oracle, many IT managers started to worry. Any time a company changes hands there is concern about the future of the product lines. However in this case there was an additional problem. Although Sun is well known for many software solutions, it is also a provider of products such as the heavily-used Solaris server operating system. Oracle, on the other hand, has no experience with developing or supporting this kind of technology.
What would happen to Sun’s server products? Would Oracle abandon them, suddenly leaving some of the world’s largest companies running their networks on obsolete technology? Or would Oracle continue to offer Sun’s servers, but offer escalating maintenance fees for substandard support?
Oracle has remained silent in the months since the acquisition. Many IT managers have stopped waiting on Oracle and have turned to other technologies. Solaris to Linux migration rates are soaring. Others wait, reluctant to abandon reliable technology, but is that better than migrating from Sun servers?
The Problems With Staying With Solaris
Managers have fears about migrating from Sun servers, such as downtime, data loss, and lowered production as employees get used to the new system; they are biding their time until Oracle gives some clear indication of their future direction. Unfortunately, the decision to do nothing may come back to haunt them later.
What if Oracle announces it plans to discontinue support for Solaris? Suddenly Solaris to Linux migration has to be done in a hurry, and migration is never something that should be done without careful planning. However it’s either that or maintain a network on unsupported technology – that is a disaster in the making.
Or perhaps Solaris will still be supported, but future development will be halted. As other technologies advance, Sun technologies fall further and further behind, and so will businesses which use it. Again, migrating from Sun servers would become an inevitable result, so why not start the process now rather than waiting until the decision is forced?
Benefits Of Solaris to Linux Migration
Most IT departments which are migrating from Sun servers appear to have opted for Linux over other server technologies available. The Solaris to Linux migration path is so well-traveled that it holds fewer surprises than other technology changes.
The advantage of migrating from Sun servers now rather than later is that the full migration process is a long one. When done properly, there are few crises or service interruptions during the transition and the entire operation is less disruptive to the company’s operation. However it takes time, with months of planning leading up to a transition which might be done in a few hours. This is followed by months of post-migration monitoring to be sure the new system is meeting the organization’s needs.
The future stability of Linux allows IT departments more flexibility in their software decisions. Current application purchases can be made with confidence, not worrying about operating system changes making software obsolete.
Don’t Take The Trip Alone
Although, as mentioned, the Solaris to Linux migration path is well traveled, so is the path up Mount Everest. And yet a mountaineer would be foolish not to take a local guide on his climb.
Migrating from Sun servers can be done safely and with a minimum of interference with normal company operations, but only if all the problems that might arise have already been handled. Rather than taking on the migration process themselves, IT departments have found it far more cost effective to hire experienced consultants who have overseen the migration process successfully with many clients. By doing so, businesses can take advantage of long-term benefits such as reduced costs, more control over the IT environment as well as an ease in manageability.
Contracting with a third-party migration consultant may seem like a more expensive option but in reality it is far cheaper than the alternative. Self-directed Solaris to Linux migration can lead to disaster which leaves the servers down for hours or days. How much is that going to cost the organization? Data corruption, confusion over new processes or responsibilities, and unforeseen compatibility problems are just a few of the expenses that can be avoided by partnering with a knowledgeable migration expert.