Oracle kills Sun Cloud, promises new life for Java

Oracle's plans for Java and the proposed Sun Cloud public computing platform became clearer when Oracle executives gave a Java vendors jumpy over Oracle strategy big thumbs-up to Java but a thumbs-down to Sun Cloud.


Oracle's plans for Java and the proposed Sun Cloud public computing platform became clearer when Oracle executives gave a big thumbs-up to Java but a thumbs-down to Sun Cloud.

Under Oracle's new stewardship, Java will be expanded to more application types while the public process for amending Java will be made more participatory, an Oracle official said. The company previously has stressed its commitment to Java while waiting for the merger to close.

The prognosis was not so positive for Sun Cloud, the public computing platform announced by Sun in March 2009 that was due to be deployed last summer. "We're not going to be offering the Sun Cloud service," said Edward Screven, Oracle's chief corporate architect.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has questioned just how new or important the cloud computing concept actually is. But, even though Oracle will not sell compute cycles through the Sun Cloud similar to the way that Amazon does, the company will offer products to serve as building blocks for public and private clouds, company officials said. <

Meanwhile, Oracle offered details on the standard, enterprise, mobile, and rich media versions of Java, as well as its plans on other software technologies such as the Sun-driven NetBeans IDE and GlassFish application server.

Java versions

Calling Java one of the crown jewels coming over to Oracle, Thomas Kurian, executive vice president for product development, expressed ambitions "to enhance and extend the reach of the Java programming model to support emerging application development paradigms."

"Java is the world's most popular programming language," particularly in enterprises, with close to 10 million developers, Kurian said. The company will invest in and revitalise the Java developer community and make the Java Community Process, the public process for amending Java, more participatory, he said. Sun in the past had been criticised for having too much control over the process.

Specific ambitions were aired for each version of Java.

Java Standard Edition (SE), particularly the Java Virtual Machine, will be fitted with the ability to support multiple languages. This continues with Sun had already been doing, enabling the JVM to support dynamic languages like Ruby.

Also as part of its SE roadmap, Oracle will integrate the Sun HotSpot and Oracle JRockit JVMs. Oracle intends to boost performance for Hotspot, particularly for multi-core processors. Oracle also will focus on real-time monitoring for the JVM.

Garbage collection, involving discarding of no longer used programming objects, will be optimised. Local thread garbage collection will offered for better efficiency on multicore and NUMMA architectures.

For Java Enterprise Edition, the goal is evolve the Java EE 6 reference implementation to address modularity. Java EE would be run in a variety of different profiles. This, too, has been a Sun goal. Oracle also wants to accelerate UI and dynamic language capabilities.

Programming APIs for Java ME and SE Java Micro Edition (ME), for handheld devices, will be unified. "Our strategy there is to offer and bring back the same premise that Java had on the server side," which is write-once, run-anywhere, said Kurian.

Power consumption also will continue to be optimised in ME, as will performance and startup times. Oracle will keep delivering optimised binaries for carriers and device partners.

JavaFX, for building rich Internet and multimedia applications, will get aggressive investments, Kurian said. "[With JavaFX], you get the ability to build a cinematic-type experience but programming [is] in Java," he said.

Initiatives for JavaFX include providing designers the ability to build applications visually and allowing them to assemble an application. Also, Oracle wants JavaFX developers to offer fundamentally different types of cinematic experiences and eliminate the lines between Java, JavaFX and JavaScript. JavaFX will be combined with Oracle ADF (Application Development Framework) technologies

GlassFish, which serves as the Java EE reference implementation, will continue on with more investment from Oracle. It will be geared for departmental use, continuing Sun's focus for the product, Kurian said. "We will share technology across WebLogic and GlassFish," Kurian said, referring to the Oracle WebLogic application server Oracle acquired when it bought BEA. "Weblogic Server remains our strategic product for enterprise applications and enterprise customers," offering clustering, high availability and scalablity, said Kurian.

NetBeans, the Sun-driven open source Java IDE that has competed with Oracle JDeveloper and the Eclipse platform, will remain as a "lightweight development environment for Java developers," Kurian said. But JDeveloper continues as Oracle's enterprise development tool.

Oracle will focus NetBeans on what it does for dynamic languages and scripting as well as for mobile development. It also offers a reference implementation Java EE development, said Kurian. Additionally, Oracle will continue in invest in Sun's Hudson continuous-build solution for developers.

In the virtualisation space, Oracle and Sun technologies will provide "the most comprehensive [technology] set for virtualisation from desktop to server," Screven said. Sun VirtualBox virtualisation software will become part of the Oracle VM family.

Oracle also will maintain the Sun ESB. Sun Master Index, for master data management, will be invested in for its possibilities in health care.

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