Sun Open Source Business: Is Sun Finding its Way?

Sun reported results for its second quarter of fiscal 2009, and Dana Blankenhorn, Matt Asay and the Var Guy all agree that when it comes to open source Sun is on the rise. Simon Phipps states that open source is driving the new Sun, and Jonathan Schwartz keeps saying that open source is key. 

The value of the Sun brand maybe the reason behind the growth in MySQL billings, but we don’t know actually what ‘MySQL/infrastracture’ means, and drawing conclusions is a guessing game. 

Simon Phipps sayings that Open Source is driving the new Sun, and talks about the following three open source business models:

Payment at the point of value
The Application Platforms group covers infrastructure software like JavaEE (Glassfish) and MySQL and its primary business model is the one I discussed a while back where Sun drives adoption of the software and then sells the means to sustain value as the customer scales deployment.
Open Source Firmware
The Systems group covers storage, servers and the software chiefly associated with them and sells high-value, low price-point systems where the open source software is the operating system or firmware. You could often make the same systems yourself if you wanted; Sun does it better, at lower cost and with full support. Take a look at Open Storage and its use of OpenSolaris, ZFS and DTrace to get the idea.
Cloud Computing/SaaS
The new Cloud Computing group that Ian has joined (leaving his job running developer marketing – he’s not been at OpenSolaris for quite some time) plans to run its cloud on open source and sell a reliable, supported, scalable service over the network.

Commenting the first approach – payment at the point of value – I recovered my old ideas about open source franchising, and I added that migrations might be turned in a business. Sun should ease medium-large companies migrations, and finally create a foundation to eventually homesteading the nooshpere. In order to do that Sun should stop retaining almost full control of decision making and IP ownership, especially now that the modular architecture is allowing sub-projects creations easy thanks to extensions.

Glassfish long path to the open source road, may validate Schwartz’s open source strategy in the long run, but as rightly argues Sacha free training seats might not help the business, though. GlassFish For Business, a blog opened almost one year ago, doesn’t revail many details about deployment and business needs around GlassFish.

Open Source Firmare (open storage) is growing, but no information is available about where open storage sales are growing. Reading billings disclosure by category, the emerging markets regions is the only one showing a growth (+4.4%). All in all, I am wondering if the typical Sun channel partner is able to sell such product, considering that is slightly different storage billing.

Open Source Cloud Computing sounds challenging, looking forward to see what Ian Murdock will do.