J. Brisbin

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Even more reason why Oracle/Sun isn’t really competetive in the cloud

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I blogged recently about our terrible experience with Oracle/Sun support. I’d like to say it’s just because they’re getting out of the hardware business and their heart isn’t in it any more. I’d like to say it’s not a systemic problem with the company as a whole. I’d like to say that (honestly) only because I recommended we buy Sun hardware so we could run Solaris 10 with the virtualization offered by zones. We continue to be frustrated with Oracle/Sun as a company and we see systemic problems in the organization that make it unreliable as a vendor for our mission-critical applications.

There are too many problems to go into much detail on each one, but suffice it to say that our experience with Oracle/Sun support has been so bad, we have a demo next week to check out HP’s newest virtualization offering because the company we’re working with on that:

a) Answered a question I had about hooking up Solaris 10 to our SAN. The guy who helped me wasn’t a Solaris guy, just a UNIX guy. But we got it done. The support tech at Sun who was supposed to be helping me had a list of about 6 or 8 questions about our environment that he wanted me to answer first. Things it would have taken me more than an hour to answer. This HP guy helped me with a Sun problem on the fly with no questionaires.

b) Will take our Sun servers on trade-in.

If the price is right and we like what we see, we’re going to dump Oracle/Sun entirely and trade in 5 Sun servers for something else–anything else.

To prove I’m not just exaggerating the atriciousness of the situation, our primary warehouse server running Solaris 10 on Sun hardware crashed on Sunday morning. The tech finally showed up Wednesday after lunch and proceeded to replace the main system board. Fired the server back up (at least tried to) and the same result as before: nothing. Completely dead. No BIOS, no boot screen, no nothing. He tried taking the processors out and swapping sockets, updating ILOM firware, everything. It’s just as dead as a doornail. Then he tried to get someone at Oracle/Sun on the phone to discuss the next steps. After wading through automated menus and never getting to talk to a real person (this is the Oracle/Sun tech, remember, not Joe the Customer) he smiled and told me: “I feel your pain.” So the tech left last night with our server riding shotgun with him back to The Big City to operate on it.

If the field tech can’t even contact the engineer who’s supposed to be helping us with our problem, how can that company hope to support the Vast Throng of cloud-computing sychophants who are getting tech envy and want a piece of the action? How can a company that does business like this be serious competition for those (claim jumpers though they may be) already in this space?

But that’s just the hardware side of things, I hear. I use product X and I get great support, I also hear. Consider yourself lucky, then, to have avoided the vast beauracracies within the company that make it an inefficient behemoth. I understand now why the company was failing before Oracle bailed them out and why they off-loaded Java to the community (which I’m glad they did, of course). But I can see what this merger with Oracle has done to the company and I haven’t seen any net gain yet.

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Written by J. Brisbin

April 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm

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